Are you concerned that some of your sexual behaviours may be unhealthy? An important first step to finding out if you have a problem is to understand what sexual addiction actually is. Sex addiction can be defined as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Since this is such a mis-understood addiction, this blog will hopefully help answer some of the most asked questions about the topic.
As with any addiction, sex addiction is progressive. At the beginning of the addiction, sex is used to prevent and medicate uncomfortable emotional states. In time, the behaviour becomes a habit. If you are finding that your sexual behaviour is escalating, it might be time to talk to someone who can help.
The sexual behaviours and acts of a sex addict are not about intimacy. The individual is usually compelled to act out to alleviate negative feelings or sexual preoccupation. And while the experience usually leads to a brief rush of endorphins, or a “high,” the feeling is often quickly replaced by shame and guilt.
Compulsive Sexual Thoughts and Acts
When we refer to the term “compulsive,” we mean that the activities are beyond the person’s ability to control. The person does not act out sexually for enjoyment – it’s an irresistible urge that is often against the individual’s conscious wishes. And sexual addiction isn’t just about the act of sex. It can include anything from constant thoughts of sex, masturbation and viewing pornography to constant flirting and sexual comments. In fact, sexual addiction is characterized by the rituals that lead up to the acting out behaviour. These rituals might include waiting for everyone to leave the house, drawing the shades and curtains, or flirting with a stranger in a bar. They are all a part of the unhealthy behaviour.
Another important sign that someone might be struggling with problematic sexual behaviour is their inability to control or stop their actions, even after several attempts. They will also continue to engage in these behaviours even when the behaviours are a detriment to their own health and well-being.
CSAT Training at Bellwood, March 25–29
Bellwood Health Services, in Toronto, is hosting Certified Sex Addiction Therapy Module 1 training for professionals, given by IITAP, March 25–29. This training is rarely offered in Canada and is a great opportunity to upgrade your practice. Participants receive 30 CEU’s (CACCP) upon completion. For more information and to register, please visit the IITAP event page.
EHN Canada Sex Addiction Treatment Programs
If you or someone you love needs help with sex addiction, please call us at one of our numbers below for more information or to enrol in one of our programs.
- 1-800-387-6198 for Bellwood Health Services in Toronto, ON
- 1-800-683-0111 for Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo, BC