Recovery From Sexual Addiction
Has your life become unmanageable and are you facing negative consequences due to your sexual behavior?
Have you had repeated attempts to quit with limited success?
Are you a partner that has lost your essential sense of self because you are trying to manage the addiction that affects your life?
Have you given up on your life goals and no longer getting your own needs met?
WHAT IS SEXUAL ADDICTION???
SA is not a pleasure seeking action, in other words, IT IS NOT ABOUT SEX!!!!
SA is a survival strategy. Your behavior helps combat symptoms which may include helplessness, loneliness, depression, anxiety, low energy, sleeplessness, boredom, low self worth, etc. Your behavior gives you temporary elusive feelings of interpersonal control.
SA helps you function and feel safer in the world.
SA behavior helps regulate your autonomic arousal and intolerable emotions by manipulating the nervous system. In other words, you are using your own body to cope, to help you regulate and temporarily feel better.
SA is about unmet emotional needs that usually stem from much earlier in life.
SA behavior helps you cope, numb out, not “feel” or “deal”, just like any other addiction. Sex just is your drug of choice.
SA is a disease that affects your brain. While using, your frontal lobes are
“offline” and you are chasing your “hits” of feel good chemicals such as dopamine and adrenaline.
SA is a progressive disease that when left untreated can be life threatening.
Neurochemistry of Addiction:
During sexual stimulation certain chemical reactions increase in the brain. For example, dopamine levels, which are tied to the feelings of both boredom and depression, are increased by the influx of adrenaline that is part of sexual activity. When our dopamine level goes up, we feel better. ( This reaction explains the stimulus-seeking nature of some addicts: They’re after the adrenaline rush that boosts dopamine, and often they’re using sex to induce it. ) Likewise, when humans experience skin-to-skin contact, that touch releases oxytocin into the brain, which is associated with feelings of well-being and pleasure. Further, the intense ecstasy felt during sexual activity is partially the result of opiate-like substances called catecholamines. These reactions are pure biology.
Brain chemicals are also governed by the concept of tolerance, which means that eventually more and more activity is required to get the same “positive” result.
Sexual activity can provide a high equal to crack cocaine.
Addicts thus become pharmacologists of their own brains as they seek to find escape, excitement, or medication for their pain through sexual activity or with other addictive substances. The addict literally carries within their own brain a constant supply of powerful drugs. 1
Sexual addiction is not a character defect or a moral issue. It is a disease that affects the brain. Underlying sexual addiction is shame and low self worth. Partners are similarly affected and are faced with navigating through betrayal and anger. Most addicts, and those affected by addiction, need a system of support and comprehensive treatment plan for recovery.
A short 2 minute video on sexual addiction awareness:
1 From: No Stones: Women Redeemed From Sexual Shame. By Marnie Ferree.