Diagnosing Sexual Addiction
Some people become addicted to sex. What is the function of the brain in sexual addiction? How does sexual addiction questionnaire help in diagnosing sexual addiction? What ways are there to cope with this addiction & to regain & insure a healthier sexual life? Our Denver sexual addiction counselors can help you if you identify with the following description of sex addiction.
What is Sexual Addiction?
Compulsive sexuality is an addiction & a problem with control. Healthy sex is a fulfilling expression of affection & love. It provides a channel by which to achieve deeper emotional intimacy. Yet, for some, there is a driving compulsion to engage in sexual activity excessively & harmfully. Sexual addiction gives a destructive turn to normal, life-enhancing activity. Sexually addicted persons are unable to control or postpone their sexual feelings & actions. They may go on sexual binges, futilely striving to satisfy an insatiable sexual craving. For some sexual addicts, the pursuit of sex becomes the purpose for living, more important to them than family, friends, or profession.
The Brain & Sexual Addiction
The brain responds to & directs major elements of the body’s internal system of chemical messages. Sexual arousal ignites central nervous system activity, sparking numerous changes in the body. The expectation of pleasure increases production of hormones, boosts the heart rate, increases blood pressure & heightens neuronal sensitivity. The metaphorical “chemistry” between two people becomes biochemical in fact, as the chemical phenylethylamine (PEA) appears in the brain. PEA is responsible for the thrill & energy of falling in love & infatuation. Rising levels of this chemical result in intensified excitement & euphoria. Sexual addicts are dependent upon the physical & psychological arousal fostered by constant doses of PEA—the “love drug”—in the brain.
Understanding Sexual Compulsivity
Many sexual addicts experienced abuse or neglect during childhood. As a result, they developed feelings of inadequacy & low self-image. Their parents may have been sexual addicts themselves & to compensate for their behavioral excesses, may have raised their children with inflexible attitudes regarding sexuality. Sexual compulsion is often accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt & unworthiness. Though sexual experiences may offer a short-term release from these feelings, eventually the addict will again be confronted with shame, blame & self-contempt. Addicts feel powerless to control their behavior.
Characteristics of Sexual Addiction
These symptoms are characteristic of a sexual addict’s life experience:
• Preoccupation—constantly searching for new sexual prospects.
• Compulsion—continuing to engage in sexual activity despite harmful consequences & a desire to stop.
• Despair—guilt or shame over inability to control sexual behavior.