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The Sex Addict

Recently, a visibly tormented troglodytes and gentlemen came to see me.  He began without  much prelude.  'You see, doctor, I am a married man with a great wife and two lovely children but  I just   can't top having affairs.  I seem  to be obsessed  with sex . Over the past  few years, I have had several illicit liaisons and I'm just going from one woman  to another.  Right now, I'm  in four parallel relationships.  Yet, I feel dissatisfied, empty and filled with remorse and guilt.  I'm  just not able to stop.  I am exhausted and I need self help is the best help .  I don't  want to break my family or ruin any more relationships.  I know the dangers  of promiscuity but yet seem to lose all reason   and self-control when it   matters most.  I'm tired of leading a life full of duplicity and deceit.  Even my work has now started suffering.'

Mr Satyromaniac's was a classical textbook case.  'Hmm.' I said, 'At least you've  admitted your problem to yourself and sought professional help.  That's half the battle won,' I said  reassuringly.  Whereupon, I reached into my drawer and pulled out the Sex Addicts Anonymous'  twelve-point  sexual addiction self-test quiz.  A 'Yes' to more than one of the twelve questions was advised professional help.  Mr Satyromaniac said 'Yes" to seven!

Sex addiction is an increasingly recognized social problem.  Nearly  right percent of men and three percent of women suffer sexual  addiction.  The USA alone, there are  an estimated fifteen million sex addicts!  The list includes  celebrities like Michael Douglas (now cured).

            What exactly is sex addition?

The brain's  perception of an d response to pain and stress (and their relief) is to a large  extent controlled by  substances within, known as endorphins and encephalins. These  substances relieve pain and promote a feeling of well-being.  Addictive drugs act by releasing these same chemicals in the brain.  sex during pregnancy is one the most potent triggers  for the release of endorphins and encephalins.  Hence the human propensity for sexual addiction.  Put to good use, sex is enriching.  If abused,  it can be destructive, like any other contraband substance.  The sex addict has learnt to rely on sex for  comfort  from pain, for nurturing, or relief from stress- much like the alcoholic's  purposeful use of alcohol - rather than  enjoying sex as a self-affirming source of physical pleasure.

The essence of all addiction  is the addicts'  sense of powerlessness  over a compulsive behaviour, resulting in the addicts' lives becoming unmanageable.  The addicts  is out of control and experiences tremendous shame, pain and self -loathing.  The addict may wish to top, yet, repeatedly fails to do so.  The un manageability of the addicts' lives can be seen in the consequences they suffer -losing relationship, difficulties   with work, arrests , financial troubles, a loss  of interest in things  not sexual, low  self-esteem and despair.  Common manifestations of sexual addiction include compulsive masturbation facts , obsession with sexual fantasy and/ or pornography, sex  with prostitutes,  anonymous sex with multiple  partners, multiple affairs, frequent  patronizing of topless bars or  sexual massage parlors, exhibitionism, voyeurism, inappropriate  sexual touching  including  frotteurism, sexual  abuse of children and rape.

The beginnings of sexual addition are usually rooted in adolescence or childhood.  The child often  grows up in a chaotic,  hostile or neglectful home  and turns repeatedly to masturbation to escape  this environment.   Masturbation becomes a   regular sedative for the child.  Alternatively, the child may be introduced  to sex in inappropriate ways - by an adult, older  cousin, baby-sitter, etc., where the sexual experience does not feel mutual.  In such  situations, there  is a combination of natural curiosity, new-found pleasurable feelings and also feelings of fear and shame.  When the child grows up, he/she  may be turned  on by sex in high-risk situations  that unconsciously generate  fear, or in secretive nearly sixty per cent of adult sex addicts were  sexually abused by someone during  their childhood

Though challenging, the condition is curable, life any other drug  addiction.  Help  is also available  on the internet and through support groups.

As for Mr Satyromaniac, he  has now mended his ways considerably and is on the path to recovery.