Marital relationships in general are a challenge to maintain and it takes the efforts of two people to keep their connection loving and stable. Apart from concentrating on the romantic aspects, couples also need to focus on identifying the dangers that threaten the foundations of their union, such as sexually addictive behavior. This is especially vital for married couples because they made sacred commitments to stick together through thick and thin.

Because of their sanctified union, married couples may need to work even harder to sustain their bond. Sexual addiction destabilizes a relationship on a fundamental level. If you want to know more, read the details below to understand what defines sex addiction. You have the chance to prevent it from escalating if caught early.

 

Definition

Engaging in sexual activity is a normal and healthy part of any marital relationship.  When it becomes compulsive and progressive it is now considered a sexual addiction from a clinical perspective.  Compulsive means that the addict has great difficulty stopping his aberrant sexual behavior.  Progressive means the sexual activity in which the addict engages will become more egregious over time.  It is like being stuck in a whirlpool with no way out.

In the same way that people are addicted to drugs and narcotics, aberrant sexual behavior and other physical activities are viewed as addictive in nature. Because various clinicians such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and other specialists have differing concepts as to how sex addiction should be classified, there is no umbrella definition that includes all types of sexual behavior. However, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) includes and classifies a small proportion of aberrant sexual behaviors and labels them as paraphilias (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). According to the DSM-V, all paraphilias are characterized by reoccurring, intense sexual urges, sexual fantasies, or behaviors. According to the DSM-V, they have occurred over at least 6 months. To make a diagnosis, they must also cause significant stress or impair social, occupational, or everyday functioning. The individual also experiences a sense of distress. Typically, addicts recognize the symptoms as negatively affecting their lives but believe they are unable to control them (APA, 2013, pp. 685-705).

 

Types

Sexual addiction is not limited to intercourse but can present itself in different forms depending on the preferences of the individual addict. For instance, a person might have an extreme compulsion to watch pornographic videos on a daily basis or another individual may engage in extramarital affairs by having sex with prostitutes. Other examples include masturbation; going to massage parlors, and strip clubs, all of which will feed a man’s sexual addiction. Egregious sexual behavior includes a predilection for sadism or masochism during sex with their partners, a secret fetish for incorporating inanimate objects during sexual acts, or a penchant for performing sex in front of other people or preferring to watch other people having sex before them.

 

Symptoms and effects

People who suffer from sex addiction often manifest symptoms that are physical as well as emotional in nature. From an emotional perspective, sex addicts often end up experiencing a wide spectrum of feelings that involve inadequacy, dissatisfaction, frustration, shame, guilt, isolation, depression, anger, humiliation, or apathy despite receiving carnal pleasure. They do not realize that the pleasure they receive from sex is merely temporary and pleasure turns into feelings of deep shame and guilt. As for physical symptoms, individuals might contract sexually transmitted diseases or experience overall fatigue from overexerting their bodies during sexual behavior. In some cases, sex addicts may experience erectile dysfunction, damage to their sex organs, and lack of control due to abusing their bodies.

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