Tiger Woods, Jesse James, and Charlie Sheen all share what similar quality? They are all addicts. Their addictions may vary in different forms, but as of recent gossip news, it seems that these men all share an addiction for sex. Some say for these men, it is the hubris that enables them to defy the lines of fidelity or it is truly an addiction for sex that drive these men to do what they do, in excess. Chances are you’ve known someone, maybe even someone in your own family, who’s struggled with an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. But what about an addiction to sex? A growing number of medical experts are saying compulsive sexual behavior is a very real disorder that an estimated 16 million Americans, both men and women, are fighting.
Compulsive sexual behavior symptoms vary in type and severity. Some signs that you may be struggling with compulsive sexual behavior include:
- Your sexual impulses are intense and feel as if they’re beyond your control.
- Even though you feel driven to engage in certain sexual behavior, you may or may not find the activity a source of pleasure or satisfaction.
- You use compulsive sexual behavior as an escape from other problems, such as loneliness, depression, anxiety or stress.
- You continue to engage in risky sexual behavior despite serious consequences, such as the potential for getting or giving someone else a sexually transmitted disease, the loss of important relationships, trouble at work or legal problems.
- You have trouble establishing and maintaining emotional closeness, even if you’re married or in a committed relationship.
There’s a broad range of sexual activities that can be warning signs of compulsive sexual behavior. Examples include:
- Having multiple sexual partners or extramarital affairs
- Having sex with anonymous partners or prostitutes
- Avoiding emotional involvement in sexual relationships
- Using commercial sexually explicit phone and Internet services
- Engaging in excessive masturbation
- Frequently using pornographic materials
- Engaging in masochistic or sadistic sex
- Having a fixation on an unattainable sex partner
No matter what it’s called or the exact nature of the behavior, untreated compulsive sexual behavior can damage your self-esteem, relationships, career and other people. But with treatment and self-help, you can manage compulsive sexual behavior and keep your urges in check.
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