So, What’s The Deal With Sex Addiction?
Have you ever noticed that when you haven’t had sex for a while, it almost doesn’t bother you as much, yet when you have sex you seem to want more and more of it?
We spoke with Joe Schrank, who runs Rebound Brooklyn, a recovery center for addicts. Schrank says that yes, sex addiction is very real, and these are the facts that you need to know:
“Males also don’t have the emotional connection to sex that females do, so its not as complex for them.”
What is it about sex that makes it so addictive?
There is science behind this, that has to do with dopamine in the brain. As the ability to show imaging progresses, we are able to learn more and more about addiction. The brain responds to various stimuli with a surge of dopamine, triggering the response to keep seeking the external stimulus that produced that surge of dopamine. This gets very technical but the shorter answer is, humans like sex a lot and that can tip into addiction.
Are males more prone to sex addiction then females?
It’s likely they are, but there would also be a deeper level of shame with a female who is experiencing sex addiction, so it would go under reported. Males also don’t have the emotional connection to sex that females do, so its not as complex for them.
Is it possible that sex addiction could have a positive impact on someone’s life?
No. Addiction isn’t a positive thing, there must be impairment for there to be a diagnosis. People have to have negative consequences in a few areas of their life before it’s called addiction. If it weren’t impacting their life negatively, they wouldn’t be addicts.
If someone thinks they are a sex addict, what steps must they take?
There are no musts, they have to recognize their sexual behavior as problematic and seek help. There are many mental health professionals who have a speciality in this area. People interested in exploring this area of their life should seek a licensed and credentialed person for an assessment and go from there.
What about masturbation?
Masturbation can also be an addictive behavior. There are people who masturbate to the point of injury. In general terms, masturbation is a normal and healthy behavior in the human experience, but if it’s a problem, then it’s a problem.
Are the rich and famous more prone to sex addiction?
There isn’t any scholarly research to answer this empirically, but likely they are. If Tiger Woods repaired copiers, he may not have the opportunities he does to act out sexually. Since he is vastly wealthy and internationally famous, he has a wider berth in the world then average people. Fame and wealth come with their own set of challenges. We think of them as having perfect lives but they get their issues in life as we all do.
“Ultimately, the individual who is the partner of the sex addict must decide for themselves what they want to do about it.”
Advice for partners?
Look at your own behavior. With any addiction, the system is hyper focused on the individual with the addiction. I seem to have many partners asking me “what is crazier than a cocaine addict?” The answer is “dating one.” Ultimately, the individual who is the partner of the sex addict must decide for themselves what they want to do about it. Be honest with oneself, set your standards and your boundaries and don’t compromise. It’s a very tough road.
Can someone with a sex addiction return to a normal sex life?
Of course! Recovery works, treatment works, people with any addiction can be treated and get better. Addiction is a health issue and that can be treated.