We all want to feel good and I firmly believe that it is our birthright to feel well. We all came here to planet earth to feel good and excited and to create a fun life for ourselves. Even though the Buddha said life is suffering and I know exactly what he means and I imagine so do you, I also know that the Buddha transcended said suffering with his journey of insight into the nature of life. And from all accounts it took him a little while.
Sex addiction, like any addiction, is an activity pursued in an effort to feel good. Unfortunately it is a misplaced effort, which in the end can burn a person out and is often very isolating. Orgasm can be real tricky because it can truly give you a glimpse of the divine but unfortunately only for a very short moment.
We all need to experience the real thing, which is true love and connection, both within yourself and the divine, and with a partner and other real live people. If we get the real thing, sex as way to feel better will not be nearly as interesting. But sometimes it’s not so easy to get the real thing. We have all kinds of obstacles in the way. In order to get the real thing we have to do some courageuos self inspecting of unintegrated patterns, many of them set up on childhood. Patterns that have us sabotage real love and deep intimacy and trust in the presence of the divine in our lives, over and over, without us even knowing why it is happening. Patterns that have us either choose the wrong partners or create less then true intimacy in whatever partnership we end up in. These unintegrated emotional patterns will defy even the most disciplined positive thinking and diligent affirmations. I takes a willingness to do some inner homework to release these patterns.
Below please see a description of sex addiction from a more clinical perspective, I think there are a few interesting pieces in it for those who are suffering from this problem.
In my next post I will try and give some ideas in addition to what you will find below, some ideas as to what someone can do to move from sex addiction to tantric sex, a way of loving and being in the world that is intimate, connected and truly fulfilling.
Also my audio course “Tantra, Sex for the Soul” is a great resource, you can check it out here:
The Science Behind Sex: Biochemistry and Sex Addiction
by Lily McCann
Sexual addiction is defined as a condition in which the sufferer is overcome with the desire to engage in sexual activity. Often this leads to compulsive, obsessive thoughts and behaviour that can eventually begin to detrimentally affect the sufferer’s life and relationships. According to the Mental Health Portal, sex addiction is far more common in men with approximately 5-6% of men in the US suffering from this mental and behavioural disorder in comparison to 3% of women. But what causes sex addiction? Why is it more common in men? And is there any way to beat it?
What causes sexual addiction?
The root cause of sexual addiction, like many other addictions, is not fully understood, although experts believe that it is primarily caused by a biochemical dysfunction in the brain. According to PsychCentral, scientific studies have indicated that the body’s basic primitive instincts (such as eating, sleeping and having sex) all share a common pathway to the brain. This pathway ultimately leads to an area of the brain that is responsible for reason, judgement and rational thought. So if there is some sort of abnormality within this pathway, then the brain begins to tell the sufferer that sex is essential, just like eating, and should be pursued regardless of any consequences – therefore rational thought goes out of the window leading to all sorts of inappropriate thought and behaviour. In other words, the biochemically ‘faulty’ brain encourages the body to act on this addiction against all better judgement.
In addition to this, experts agree that sex addicts gain an intense pleasure from sex that goes beyond anything that most people experience. The sense of euphoria that they get by engaging in sexual activity can become addictive in itself as well as being a way in which they can block out stressful or unpleasant aspects of their life. This is not dissimilar to how a substance abuser may use drugs or alcohol. The gratification that they receive from their addiction is often so pleasurable that unfortunately it often overwhelms any desires to change.
Studies also show that a sufferer’s upbringing can be a major factor in their addiction. Research suggests that 80% of sex addicts reported some sort of substance abuse in their family origin. Similarly, a very high percentage of sex addicts report having suffered sexual abuse as children which could potentially have distorted their personal representation of intimacy and sex.
Why is sex addiction more common in men?
It seems that we only ever hear about male sex addicts – men visiting prostitutes, cheating on their wives and being caught in strip clubs. The media often report stories about male celebrities who have claimed to be sex addicts (Russel Brand, Tiger Woods and several politicians) after being exposed in compromising situations and consequently publically humiliated.
The only evidence that can be used to ascertain just how many men and women suffer from sex addiction is the number of those who seek help for it. This is where the discrepancy may occur. Society has placed certain connotations on the sexual activity of men and women – for example a man who has multiple sexual partners may be referred to admiringly as a ‘player’ or a ‘stud’ whereas a woman who did the same would be looked on unfavourably as a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore’. So if a woman did feel as though she was suffering from a sexual addiction, there may be a level of shame attached to it that could prevent her from seeking help.
Similarly, because women’s brains are larger in their areas that process emotional thought, a woman may not automatically look at her problem as a sexual issue. She may feel that she has emotional, relationship problems. Once again, this may see her seeking the wrong sort of therapy and help.
How can I beat sexual addiction?
There are several programmes that can be used to help conquer sexual addiction but usually these are made up of two basic steps – separating the sufferer on a literal level from any damaging sexual behaviour (this may mean being admitted into residential care) and then dealing with the emotional aspects of addiction through therapy.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can also be used to enable the sufferer to control their behaviour by recognising the triggers that provoke sexual thoughts. Often they are encouraged to use their energy elsewhere, perhaps working out or taking on a project.
There are also many support groups for sex addiction, 12-step programmes (such as Sexoholics Anonymous) and even group therapy available where sufferers can interact with like minded people and help support one another in beating their addiction.
Because sex addiction is often a cause or effect of depressiveness and mood swings, research has shown that using medication such as antidepressants can sometimes help alleviate problems. As well as controlling the mood, there is evidence to suggest that antidepressants also may help reduce sexual obsession because of the way in which they regulate biochemical activity within the brain. Always speak to your doctor or therapist before taking any prescription drugs – despite the overall helpfulness of the internet to help provide self diagnosis and even the rising number of legal online pharmacies, you should always speak to a professional before administering any medication.