Sexual addiction can be defined as an obsessive sex drive that has gone out of control of the individual. It is termed as a process addiction & quite different from substance addiction such as alcohol or drug addiction.
In case of a process addiction, the individual experiences a high from chemicals released in to the brain & not from any external source.
At a stage, the mind gets accustomed to the release of these chemicals & it searches out for extended sources of high. Now this can be in any form such as eating, putting oneself in dangerous situation or even from sexual stimuli.
Addiction to sex can take several forms such as the use of pornography, masturbation, repeated sexual affairs, voyeurism, extra martial affairs & patronizing prostitutes.
Under extreme cases, addiction to sex can even result in rape, murder or molestation. In most forms of sexual addiction, the behavior is done in secret & the addict becomes an expert in hiding his secret life from others around him.
Sexual addiction can be caused due to exposure to porn at a young age. Under these circumstances, the addict keeps up to his habits even after marriage.
A sexual addict tends to affect his personal relationships. The individual experiences a higher sex drive as compared to his partner & when his desires are not met, he rebels in different ways. When denied for favors, a sexual addict stops providing emotional support to his spouse & ultimately damages the relationship. In most cases, the problem results in divorce or bitter feelings among the partners. The sex addict becomes extremely obsessed with meeting his own needs at the expense of those around him. This damages his relationships.
The problem keeps on increasing for a sex addict. He craves for more stimulation & ends up acting out the fantasies that are formed in the mind. The wife becomes an object of sexual gratification in this relationship. The addict does not mind seeking thrills of an increasingly illicit nature.
Sex addicts often deny having a problem & try to blame others for problems or make excuses for their actions.
Some of the behaviors related to sexual addiction include compulsive masturbation, extra marital affairs, having more than one sexual partners, one-night stands, molestation, sexual harassment, rape, voyeurism, obsessive dating through personal ads, use of prostitutes, phone sex, computer or cyber sex, exhibitionism & consistent use of pornography.
Usually, a sex addict gains less satisfaction from the sexual activity & forms no emotional bond with his or her sex partners. Most sex addicts deny their problem. The treatment is provided only when one accepts that he has a problem. In most cases, the addict faces problems such as breakup of relationship, loss of job, health crisis or an arrest. The circumstances often force the addict to admit to his problem.
While undergoing a treatment the individuals is encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle. The treatment includes education on healthy sexuality, individual counseling, family therapy &/or marital therapy. There are several programs arranged for people with sexual addictions.
In some cases, health care practitioners suggest using medications to treat the disease. Some of the common medications used to treat sexual addiction include Prozac & Anafranil.