Health

Understanding sex addiction

By Funmi Akingbade

                                                      sex addiction

ADDICTION is an uncontrollable behaviour. It implies a strong desire. Therefore, an addict is someone who is so interested in something, that he or she finds it difficult to stop.

Also, an addictive activity is something that one enjoys so much to the extent that it becomes unstoppable. It normally starts as a hobby, but later, the urge gets so intense that the person cannot do without it.

cuddling your partner is often a wonderful experience

So, sex addiction is so much attachment to sex, that the person involved finds it difficult to stay without it.

According to researchers, some categories of people see sex as a major means of coping with stress. The sex addict spends a lot of time in pursuit of his or her sexual desire or fantasy.

Why do people become sexually addicted? According to experts, it is difficult to give a particular reason as sex addicts have different reasons for their overindulgence in sexual activities. But generally, there are biological, psychological, and spiritual reasons.

The biological addict is someone who has conditioned his or her body to receive endorphins and other forms of brain chemicals primarily through reinforcing a fantasy state, with the ejaculation, that supplies these chemicals to their brain. Because the brain and body have been subjected to such act, it becomes a normal way of life for such an individual.

Psychologically, the need to medicate or escape physical, emotional or sexual abuse can demand a substance. The early addict therefore adopts the sex medicine in place of alcohol or drugs.

Sometimes, an infant starts playing with his or her sex organs, as a means of escaping from rejection, pain or fear, and if not cautioned or stopped, such behaviour becomes a habit that cannot easily be stopped.

Spiritually, a person uses sex addiction to fill the place of God in their lives. Addiction comforts them, celebrates them and is always available as the way out. Some of these people may be addicted on one or two or all the levels. This explains why visiting a specialist is the best route to recovery.

What’s the difference between sex addiction and high sex drive? I have heard this question discussed on almost every national talk-show. A person with high sex drive is satisfied with sex. It’s not about a fix or something; when their spouse says “no” it doesn’t make them go off the handle to think that they are being totally rejected. They don’t have to go to other partners for sex.

Can one be addicted to masturbation? Yes. This is the most common sex addiction and it is the first sexual behavior that many resort to on a regular basis. Usually, this is where sexual compulsion starts, and this act, regardless of other acquired behaviour, stays active.

What role does pornography play in sex addiction? Pornography, combined with regular masturbation, is the cornerstone for most sex addicts. Many have great difficulty feeling sober about this combination of behaviour.

Pornography with fantasy creates an unreal world that the sex addict visits throughout their adolescence and other developmental stages. It creates an object relationship that conditions their emotional and sexual self to depend on these objects and fantasies to meet their emotional and sexual needs, hundreds of times before actually being intimate with a real person.

Can someone be an addict and not be sexual with their spouse or in a committed relationship? Yes. This is the ‘latter stage of sex addiction – sexual anorexia. At this stage the addict prefers the fantasy world and sex with themselves or others instead of relational sex with their spouse. The addict or anorexic avoids relational sex and hence, has sex in frequently with his or her partner.

What is it like to live with a sex addict from a husband or wife’s perspective? Husbands or wives of such individuals report many similar feelings about living with them. A feeling of loneness is a common experience with partners of sex addicts. They hardly discuss their personal lives or experiences. They are often angry due to needs that are not met.

Can partners get help even if the sex addict doesn’t? Yes, even if the addict denies the addiction, the partner can receive help and support. The feelings of anger, loss, loneliness and many others encountered over the years of living with this addiction will affect a person. These feelings need to be dealt with therapeutically whether they stay married to the addict or not.

The addiction is in no way your doing as a partner or wife. It probably started years before you met each other.

Recovery from sex addiction takes time and hard work, especially in the first year. But with guided help, the addict can experience restoration in their emotional, relational, sexual, financial and even spiritual lives. I have seen marriages made better than they ever were, and addict’s living a life much happier than they ever thought was possible.

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Can a woman be sexually addicted? Yes. As a matter of fact, the number of women looking for treatment is growing significantly. The behaviour they exhibit is the same as that of their male counterparts. These include masturbation, pornography, internet activity and so on.

Is there any way to prevent children from becoming sexually addicted? Yes. Even though many adult male sex addicts always report that their fathers had the same challenge, or that they were abused by their uncles or friends of their parents, they also report not getting proper orientation to widen their horizon.

This is where parents failed the most, by not sparing time to teach their children about sex. Parents will help their children a lot if they take quality time to introduce sex education to their children early in life depending on their level of exposure and their environment. A combination of sex education and spiritual principles can help the youth a great deal.

QUESTION ONE

For some time now I have been having erectile dysfunction and my wife no longer appeals to me sexually. It looks like I’ll have to take pills for the rest of my life; my friends say it is a common experience for older men and something I just have to live with. Recently, I tried having sex with another woman and immediately got an erection.  Why did I have an erection with someone else and not my wife?

It’s not unusual for older men to need more stimulation to help get them aroused than they did when they were younger. But there’s no reason you should have to accept a lack of sexual function as one of the inevitable consequences of getting older, because there is cure. Many men are able to get erections and enjoy sex well into their senior years, and there’s very likely no reason that you can’t be one of them. There are many reasons why a man might experience erection problems, although lack of sexual attraction towards one’s wife might be one of them but definitely not the major reason. Having one night stand with some other woman apart from your wife would not solve the problem. The reason is the same thing will occur again with the other woman after you have gotten used to having sex with her and you will be back where you started. What you need to do is get some cure and bring your wife’s performance to match your fantasy level. This will increase your attraction towards her and revive sexual passion in you.

QUESTION TWO

I am currently nursing our first child and as much as I want to make love to my husband, I just cannot do it because I have discovered that I have a pelvic inflammatory disease. As a result of this my husband is under undue sexual pressure. What can I do?

Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause excruciating pain but at the same time it can be treated and cured. While you are undergoing treatment (which may sometimes take a while) there are other ways you could help your husband ease himself from the undue sexual pressure. One way is by giving him some non-sexual pleasure such as good love play or foreplay; this way he will be a bit relieved momentarily. Secondly, you can both take time out to just relax in each other’s arms and find solace with one another. When you show him you are genuinely interested in him by these gestures he will be encouraged to hold on a little while for you to heal. But you need to treat yourself first so as to fully carry out your marital obligations without any pain.

Black and white photo of African descent couple sleeping on the bed snuggling and hugging

QUESTION THREE

A close friend of mine became pregnant and she tried terminating it by using lime and potash and that destroyed her womb. Now that she’s married, she can’t conceive according to the doctor’s report. In this case what can she do?

Sometimes things happen to make us think we cannot receive the gift of God’s mercy, but that is not so. In as much as abortion is bad the fact remains that the deed has been done and God can still forgive such act and create a new womb for the individual.

We should not think that it is over just like that. Doctors are doing their best but their judgment is still human whereas God can do the unexpected. So, I would advise that she trusts God for a new womb. While doing that, she could adopt and put a smile on another child’s face. Having biological children is good and it brings a sense of fulfillment, but when there are reasons why this is not possible adoption is the alternative. The act of parenting is not just for your biological children but to every child around you that you can show love too by way of guidance, sponsorship, training etc. There are instances where an adopted child takes better care of his/her parent at old age than the biological ones. Life is a circle; if you sow into a child’s life he/she will in turn have the urge to repay you when you are old and need help.

QUESTION FOUR

I am aware that my friend’s husband is dating their next door neighbour’s wife. My friend doesn’t know about it but two secret lovers are aware that I know of their escapades. Should I tell my friend or just keep quiet? I don’t want to destroy another person’s home!

It is not a wise thing for you to do the telling. If you tell your friend her husband is cheating she may not believe you at first, or her husband may turn the matter upside down and lie that you are actually the one making passes at him. Then your friend may not handle the situation maturely and as such your action may lead to the breakdown of that marriage. What you need do is to pray for your friend’s family to be restored. Besides, you don’t know if intervening by exposing their secret could even endanger your life. I think you should stay clear.

Source: The Nation with additional pictures by editor

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