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SEX Addiction: How much is too much?

Can you really get ‘addicted’ to sex? Rouge uncovers the truth between the sheets

 SEX Addiction: How much is too much?

LET’S BE honest: We all

enjoy our wild, vicarious li’l quickies — in the lift, in the car, on the terrace or (more recently) ‘the couch’. Ooh, the thrill, the delirium, the ensuing calm. In fact, for most adults, a healthy sex life is integral. Sex with partners, or as a part of exploring a new relationship is a pleasurable act of choice. And since art imitates life (and vice-versa), it’s not surprising to find sex spotlighted in commercials, music videos, movies, and on the page. Sex surrounds us all; It’s time we stopped hypocritically shying away and took notice.

But in a world where sex so loudly has its say, sex addiction is surprisingly silent. OK, I hear ya: The term ‘sex addict’ usually conjures images of promiscuous and sensational sex, in which the person just can’t help his/herself. Although out of control, the addiction somehow seems provocative because it’s all about sex. But there is nothing sexy about sex addiction.

 

THINK YOU’RE ONE OF ’EM…

A large appetite for sex or a high desire for fantasy or kinkiness does not a sex addict make! As sex guru Alfred Kinsey put it: “A nymphomaniac is someone who has more sex than you.” Now, whilst most of you might have heard of the word ‘nymphomaniac’ (a combination of two words originally from the Greek: “nymph” and “mania”), few of you have probably heard of its male equivalent ‘satyriasis’ (men who have an uncontrollable desire for sex). And if things weren’t complicated enough already, novelist Martin Amis decided to go ahead and give us the ‘wank addict’ (don’t raise your hand if you need an explanation on that!). The result: Nowadays, all of the above have been reincarnated as ‘sex addiction’.

GETTING MORE PERSONAL…

Sex addiction is measured not by what’s done in (or out of) the bedroom, but by the harm it brings to the sex addict’s life and self-esteem. Men are more likely to fit the sex addiction stereotype of a string of onenight stands, excessive wanking or overuse of pornography, all of which isolates them from others. Women go the opposite direction and tend to act out their sexual addiction within a relationship, or a series of relationships. Commonly referred to as “love” or “relationship addiction”, women who are sexually addicted are less often interested in sex, than in the buzz of a new relationship.

“The difference between someone who enjoys sex a lot and someone who is a sex addict is in the word itself — an ‘addict’ suggests that you cannot live without that thing and you’ll do anything to get it,” explains sexologist, Dr. Rajshekhar Brahmbhatt. “It’s like a compulsion, a disease. You need it at any cost, even if it means breaking laws or hurting your family.”

 

THE ONLY WAY OUT…

It’s been found that both men and women who are sexually addicted use sex as a way of calming an inner storm of torment, usually the result of past abuse or neglect. As with drugs and alcohol, sex merely becomes a channel for escape from emotional turmoil.

But like trying to escape from quicksand, leaving sex addicts to struggle with their compulsive behaviour only gets them in deeper. For a sex addict to achieve true intimacy, therapy is required. Says Dr. Brahmbhatt, “Sex is a very personal problem and in India, we are still more concerned with roti, kapda aur makaan. Though yes, through behavioural therapy, sex addiction can be treated.” Now that would finally end the ‘sting’!

 

Addicted To SEX?

One of the most successful advertising campaigns is Nike’s ‘Just do it’. It works for selling sneakers. It doesn’t work for overcoming sex addiction!

Sex addiction is developed after years of using sex as an escape. In order to overcome it, the sexually addicted person needs to develop a reality orientation. He can’t ‘Just do it’ because escapism through sexual addiction is a personality trait that doesn’t change instantly. Real change, not temporary change, is achieved through hard work over time.

Quick fixes just don’t work, especially when it comes to the most complex and most personal of all addictions: sex addiction. To overcome it correctly, you require careful planning and preparation. Six week magic answers should always be approached with suspicion.

Most people who attempt to overcome sexual addiction don’t succeed in the long run. One of the biggest reasons they end up trapped in sex addiction is they try to ‘Just do it’, which wastes time. The addicted person loses years trying until he/she realises there is no quick fix. Had they approached their addiction correctly, they could have overcome it in less time than they wasted on trying for the quick fix.

Don’t just jump into overcoming sexual addiction. Sexual addiction stems from two causes. One is using sex as an escape route. The other, related one, is using sex to flee dealing with intimacy. Before you make any attempt to stop, identify how you personally use sex to escape. Then identify how you use sex to avoid intimacy. You need these problems resolved for long-term success.

If you can identify these problems on your own, good for you. If you decide you need help, remember this about a good counsellor: A good counsellor is a good mirror. He mirrors you back to yourself. Then he mirrors reality back to you. A good counsellor is a guide, not a boss. He doesn’t tell you what to do. He helps you arrive at your own decisions. A good counsellor is not a cheerleader. He doesn’t support everything you do. He tells you when he thinks you’re mistaken. A good counsellor is not an adversary. He doesn’t fight with you for the sake of fighting with you. He is impartial. His purpose is to help you achieve your rational, healthy goals.

When sex addiction is overcome correctly, the rewards are worth much more than the time and effort it took to achieve them initially. Yes, you can overcome sexual addiction. Just approach it correctly.

EXPERT SPEAK

In a relationship, the sufferer is usually the partner who is not addicted. It’s most important for the partner to accept that it is an addiction or compulsive behaviour. The best way to deal with this sort of problem is to get professional help. You must undergo family therapy and meet with professional compulsive behaviour counsellors. Drugs are available as well. In the long run, all these factors help in overcoming sexual addiction.

Nikesh Sharma

Nikesh Sharma is a health and beauty writer, independent researcher with a long history and expertise of providing reliable and relatable health content for magazines, newsletters, websites including blogs and journals. He also enjoy exploring men’s and women’s health category writing articles about sex and relationships, product review and providing information on sexual health.

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