16 May 2012

Are you addicted to sex?

Sexual addiction involves harbouring an unusual, almost obsessive, fixation for sexwhere sexual thoughts and actions tend to dominate your thoughts every day.
It hampers any healthy relationships that you might foster and is associated with risk-taking behavior which is falsely linked to self-image. "In my psychological work, there has been a sudden rise in cases seeking treatment for being addicted to sex," says Dr. Pulkit Sharma, Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalytical Therapist at VIMHANS, New Delhi. He explains this psychological disorder in detail.

Symptoms: A sex addict experiences the following symptoms:
(1) Obsessive Thoughts: Sexual thoughts, dreams and fantasies persist in mind most of the time during both day and night. The person feels a loss of control over sexual thoughts and behaviors; they cannot stop these thoughts despite wanting to.

(2) Desired Partners: There is a tendency to have multiple or casual sexual partners, indulgence in risky and unsafe sexual practices and little attachment and concern for the partner beyond the sexual act. Some people coerce the partner into deviant sexual practices and blame the partner for not reciprocating enough.

(3) Excess Pornography: Sex addicts watch excessive pornography and indulge in virtual sex. They also have difficulty concentrating in work, recreation and other spheres of life.

Causes of Sex Addiction:
(1) Sex as Distraction: A majority of sex addicts tend to use sex as a distraction and drug; it helps them escape from unpleasant stressors, thoughts and feelings which are difficult to tolerate.

(2) Sex as Counterphobic Response: Some get obsessed with sex in order to master deep-seated fears related to intimacy, they get into compulsive sex to get rid of their fears.

(3) Sex as Ego Boost: Some think of sex not as an act of love but as a conquest. Having multiple partners makes them feel desirable, which boosts their self-esteem.

Treatment of Sex Addiction:
(1) Sex addiction can be treated effectively by a psychologist. The first step is to break through the person's denial and make them realize that there is a problem. After this, the causes that have led to sex addiction are identified and addressed.

2) Depending upon the individual case, work might be required to restore self-esteem, deal with fears related to intimacy or build effective coping mechanisms to face unpleasant experiences.
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