Causes and treatment for sexual addiction

Sexual addiction occurs when a person is unable to manage or control his or her sexual behaviour. Other terms used to describe sexual addiction include hypersexuality, compulsive sexual behaviour and sexual; dependency. Individuals having persistent sexual thoughts have problems in concentrating on their daily duties, maintaining relationships as well as fulfilling their daily activities. People affected by this condition are obsessed with sex.

They have an abnormal sex drive. Sexual activities mainly dominate most of their thoughts. There are some features which are shared by both substance and sexual addiction. This condition can get worse if there is no treatment. It is estimated that about 30 million individuals are experiencing this problem in the US. Both women and men are affected. This problem can also affect people having an enjoyable and healthy sex life. Such people will find themselves being stimulated by fantasies and acts that are considered to be unacceptable by most people.

Behaviours and characteristics associated with sexual addiction

Just like with substance addiction, sexual addiction shares the same circuits and reward systems in the brain. Some f the major activities linked with sexual addiction include

  • Continuous use of pornographic materials
  • Multiple sexual partners, affairs, and one-night stands.
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Voyeurism
  • Cybersex
  • Practising unsafe sex
  • Practising prostitution or visiting prostitutes
  • Exhibitionism
  • Attitudes and behaviours include the following
  • Failure to respect the boundaries of other people and inability to control sexual urges
  • Feelings of shame or guilty
  • Sexual rage disorder: this occurs when an individual is distressed, restless, and anxious if he or she is unable to satisfy his or her addiction
  • Spending excessive energy and time obtaining sex

Research has proven that there is a strong link between risk-taking and alleged sexual addiction. Sexual addiction can expose someone to health risks such as physical injury, sexually transmitted infections, and emotional consequences. Compulsive sexual behaviour or addiction can leave someone with intense feelings if it is not treated. These feelings include low self-esteem and guilt. Other complications include STIs, legal consequences, financial problems, family breakups and relationship problems.


Even if the cause of this problem is not known, addiction might occur when part of your brain is unable to respond appropriately to pleasure for survival mechanisms. The part of the brain that deals with survival instincts and your body’s reward system is known as the midbrain. Sexual addiction is also very common in individuals from dysfunctional families. There is another form of sexual addiction that is linked to certain family members. Additionally, sexual addiction can also be caused by another form of addiction.

Treatment options

sexual  addiction is very difficult to treat. However, there are some treatment options which can help in getting rid of this behaviour. They include self-help organizations, prescription medications, cognitive behavioural therapy and residential treatment programs all of which are meant to help the individuals having sexual addictive disorders.