If you find yourself engaging in risky sexual behaviors despite the negative effects on your life – such as damage to relationships, work performance or even physical health — you may be suffering from a sex addiction. This is a common behavioral disorder and, fortunately, treatment options are available.
Although it is normal to think about and have sexual desires at times, sex addiction develops when these feelings become compulsive and out of control. This condition also is known as hypersexuality, and it can manifest in a number of ways, including masturbation, pornography viewing or excessively seeking sex with different partners. Some people with this problem also engage in paraphilias like exhibitionism, voyeurism and sadomasochism (the sexual pleasure from inflicting pain or humiliation on others) or pedophilia (sexual feelings toward children).
While no medication is specifically approved to treat sex addiction, certain antidepressants and anti-androgens can be helpful in relieving some urges. However, psychotherapy is the primary form of treatment for this condition, whether in group or individual sessions with a mental health professional. Behavioral therapy can help you learn to replace unhealthy thoughts and behaviors with more positive ones, and it can also teach you how to deal with your cravings in healthy ways that don’t involve risky behavior or self-destructive behaviors.
In addition to talk therapy, many people with this condition benefit from joining a support group where they can interact with other individuals who are going through the same type of challenges. These groups can offer you a safe environment to share your thoughts and feelings without being judged, and some are led by a professional counselor.