Sex addiction is also known as compulsive sexual behavior, a condition characterized by the inability to control repetitive and intense sexual urges that result in repetitive sexual behavior. Indeed, sex addiction is real.
However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not define compulsive sexual behavior as a disorder or mental condition. Yet, somehow, at the same time, studies show that nearly 6% of Americans engage in compulsive sexual behavior.
Although sex addiction is not seen as a diagnosable mental condition due to a lack of scientific and empirical evidence, many people suffer from this issue.
That said, what causes sex addiction? This article discusses what a sex addiction involves, knowing if you have one, and what causes it. Then, let’s help you overcome your sex addiction so you can get back to leading a normal life.
Characteristics of Sex Addiction
Before we talk about the root causes of sex addiction, let’s discuss what sex addiction entails.
Sex addiction is generally when a person engages in repetitive sexually related activities that become the primary focus of their life. This can go to the point of neglecting personal care, health, and interests.
It can also be characterized by repeated and unsuccessful attempts to reduce sexual behavior. This goes with engaging in repetitive sexual behavior despite the negative consequences.
Sex addiction often involves repeated sexual acts without getting the pleasure or gratification that sex is supposed to produce. Sex addiction is not much different from any other addiction.
How to Know if You Have a Sex Addiction
We will discuss the root causes of sex addiction below, but how do you know if you have a sex addiction? If you experience any of the following, you may be suffering from sex addiction.
- If your sexual choices and actions make your life unmanageable and unlivable.
- If you feel embarrassment, shame, or worse about your sexual conduct.
- If you feel powerless and unable to control your actions.
- If you keep trying to change and make better sexual choices, you cannot do so.
- If all you can think about is sex – if you’re obsessed with it and have intense cravings.
Possible Causes of a Sex Addiction
The most complicated portion of this topic is determining what causes a sex addiction. As you will see, there are many possible causes. Also, remember that these causes don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive; there could be one, two, or multiple causes.
Some medications will increase or cause compulsive sexual tendencies. One of these is a dopamine treatment used for Parkinson’s disease; this medication may also cause other impulse control issues. More research is needed, but nonetheless, there is a clear link.
Abnormalities in the Frontal Lobe
Although not all people with frontal lobe lesions, tumors, or injuries will develop compulsive sexual behavior, there is a link. Neuroimaging and literature suggest that abnormalities in the frontal lobe can cause these impulse control issues, both sexually and otherwise.
Some studies indicate that a person’s mood and emotions can also greatly impact the development of sex addiction. For example, a study performed in 2020 concluded that so-called emotional dysregulation can be both a cause and a result of sex addiction.
Emotional dysregulation is the inability to respond appropriately in terms of emotions to various stimuli.
A 2020 study showed that sex addiction can be linked to boredom and loneliness. A person may want to kill time, or it starts with innocent boredom and then snowballs from there. If you are bored but want to end your sex and pornography addiction, we recommend looking into The Mindful Habit treatment program.
Brain Chemical Imbalances
Imbalances in the brain’s chemistry can cause many issues, with addiction being one of them. For example, the human brain releases endorphins that cause feelings of pleasure and elation and anxiety and stress relief. These are dopamine and serotonin.
Sex causes the brain to release both of these chemicals, which explains why a sex addiction occurs.
If the brain doesn’t produce enough of these endorphins on its own, it may cause a person to seek an activity that will create and release these endorphins.
Sex and drugs are two major endorphin producers. Excessive dopamine levels can be highly addictive, leading to sex addiction.
Simply put, your brain seeks a rush of pleasure that it cannot produce independently. The Mindful Habit is a program that can help you find other ways to find that rush of pleasure without giving in to your sexual impulses.
There are biological factors that may cause a sex addiction. For example, if a person has a hormonal imbalance, particularly sex hormones, they may have a much stronger libido. If you have an impulsive personality, combined with a sex hormone imbalance, sex addiction may occur.
Moreover, some people are genetically predisposed to addictions, whether sex, drugs, or anything else. Some people’s DNA is just wired in such a way that makes them have more addictive personalities.
There are social problems that may cause somebody to develop a sex addiction. For example, a person who is often rejected may search for alternative ways of achieving sexual gratification.
This is especially true if social isolation is involved. If people are increasingly alone, rejected, and isolated, they become more desperate and willing to engage in inappropriate sexual activities to gratify themselves.
On the other hand, people learn from others, and if there’s a group of people around them that engages in this kind of behavior, they are more likely to do so themselves. So peer pressure, wanting to fit in and be like those around you can all play a role.
Environment and Abuse
There is a direct correlation between childhood abuse, particularly sexual abuse, and developing a sexual addiction later in life. In addition, studies show that sex addiction may be caused by family dysfunction and relationship issues between parents and children.
The Causes of Sex Addiction – Final Thoughts
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