19 Apr Removing the Stigma Surrounding Sex Addiction
Like any illness, mental or physical, sex addiction should be treated with the same amount of understanding and respect. Sex addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive participation or engagement in sexual activity, including pornography overconsumption, despite negative consequences.
The term ‘addiction’ is defined as a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. Just because it has the word ‘sex’ in front of it, that doesn’t make it any less of an addiction or mental illness. Many people suffering from sex addiction report feelings of deep guilt, shame and loneness, even though they are frequently engaging in sexual activities, sometimes with multiple partners. Like a drug addict, sex addicts feel a ‘high’ as their dopamine levels increase whilst they feed their addiction, but the come-down from it can be just as bad as coming off drugs or alcohol. This is where the shame and guilt set it and these negative feelings are only perpetuated by the fact that the sex addict feels they are alone in their addiction and are often too embarrassed to seek help.
There are still many stigmas and misunderstandings of the disorder. It has only been in recent years that sex addiction has become something mental health professionals recognize as a genuine mental disorder. For a long time, sex addiction was looked upon as merely an excuse or a ‘get out of free card’ for promiscuity. The Tiger Woods situation being a prime example of this.
Over the last 20 years, understanding of mental illness has come a long way. Sexual disorders are still catching up but as more sufferers speak openly about it and seek help, the judgment and stigma will fade.
Don’t be afraid to seek help, sex addiction is a treatable disorder and Heide from Sex Addiction Australia would love to help you. Feel free to contact us today.