Like any other type of addiction (alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, etc.), sexual addictions seize control of the individual by drawing the person into the world of addictive behavior, gradually making …
Like any other type of addiction (alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, etc.), sexual addictions seize control of the individual by drawing the person into the world of addictive behavior, gradually making him less and less adaptive to the daily tasks of living.
Also, like any other addiction, the onset of dependency may determine the difficulty of successfully learning to manage the addictive agent. With the presence of more than 400 million pornographic websites luring countless millions into a world where everything and anything is available at their fingertips within the privacy of their homes, many people are finding themselves trapped in the world of sexual addiction, a world most simultaneously love and hate.
Do you have a sexual addiction? Please read carefully the criteria for diagnosis of sexual addiction.
1. Tolerance which translates into increased time spent in activities related to sexual activity.
2. Withdrawal from family, friends and life in general.
3. Secrecy as the individual is too embarrassed and/or guilt-ridden to admit the problem behavior.
4. Continued sexual activity despite persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems.
5. An enduring desire to control sexual activity and simultaneously failed attempts to do so.
6. Sexual activity in potentially dangerous situations.
7. Continued sexual activity despite knowledge of persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems that are caused or exacerbated by the activity.
8. Repeated sexual activity resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
9. Repeated sex-related legal problems.
This world of sexual addiction is fueled by four prominent characteristics, although not all four need to be present to have a sexual addiction. The more intensely you feel each characteristic, the more susceptible you become.
(1) Self image: I am basically a bad, unworthy person.
(2) Relationships: No one would love me as I am.
(3) Needs: My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on others.
(4) Sexuality: Sex is the most important need.
For many, the thought of seeking treatment is so embarrassing and threatening that many hide in silence, suffering in a private world of guilt, shame and confusion. Please know that effective treatment is available.
If sexual addiction is a problem for you, consider the following plan of action.
First, try self-control techniques. Set goals for reducing the time you spend in the addictive behavior with a concrete goal of ending the behavior by a certain date.
Be aware that the desire may remain, even though you have chosen to no longer participate in the behavior.
Second, if you find that you are more likely to succumb to the addiction when under stress, learn positive stress management techniques and determine to follow them, especially when stressed.
Third, work on your self-esteem. The better you feel about yourself, the better your decisions.
Fourth, if you find that you are unsuccessful, seek help from a qualified therapist.
Rob Coombs is a professor with a doctor of ministry degree and a doctor of philosophy with an emphasis in Family Systems.
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