Addicted to sex: It isn’t as raunchy as you think

People addicted to sex usually have no control over their sexual impulses. As such, the notion that they have a burning interest in sex is not very accurate.

People addicted to sex commonly experience the following:

• Loss of control over their sexual impulses

• Inability to prevent unwanted sexual behaviour

• Anxiety, depression and legal issues

Personality profiles of those addicted to sex:

• Those with Bipolar Disorder often engage in high-risk sexual activities throughout their manic states.

• Those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often engage in unsafe sexual activities as a general behavioural pattern of self-injury.

• Those confused with their identity and sexual orientation often display compulsive sexual behaviour.

• Victims of childhood sexual abuse usually repeat patterns of abuse as a subconscious way to obtain control over their childhood trauma. People in this category are generally experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.

• Intellectually delayed adolescents, young adults and those suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome are often unable to discern and express their feelings, manage impulses and build serious relationships with others.

These traits are usually the result of an acute lack of insight into healthy sexuality when younger. Often struggling to handle the challenging demands of life, they tend to find comfort in temporary pleasurable activities, which over time leads to a pattern of compulsive sexual behaviour.

• Those who abuse substances often feel aroused when on drugs, or turn to sex as a substitute when trying to end the use of substances.

• Those with Dependent Personality Disorder (or love addiction) use sex as a means to procure love. These people tend to base their identity on the relationships they have, hence completely rely on another to validate their existence.

It is important however, to keep in mind that those suffering from sexual disorders like pedophilia, exhibitionism and severe fetishes do not respond positively to treatment for sex addiction.

These patients require different treatments due to their inclination to victimise others. While some are indeed sex addicts, others have severe anti-social personalities.

This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.