How Does a Sex Addiction Begin?

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For many sex addicts, their sex addiction can be traced to their childhood. This is a time when the child is learning how to deal with, process and handle their emotions and the needs those emotions. Every emotion creates a need. Sadness causes a person seek comfort, anger causes  them seek validation. Children learn to manage their emotions as they learn to manage their needs. Many emotional needs are met by other individuals such as parents, relatives and good friends. When parents don’t meet the needs of their children on a consistent basis, the child lives a life without their needs being met. Most begin to cope and learn strategies to exist in a life where their needs are not being met. The desire to have the needs met do not leave the child. So they are constantly in need…

The basis of a sex addiction forms when a child reaches an age where sexual gratification is possible. Sex acts produce a chemical response in the brain which has a numbing effect on the negative emotions the child has been experiencing and triggers their pleasure centers in the brain and provides them a sense of reward and satisfaction. And…it feels good. And for some children or adults it may be the first time they felt good and felt something that might meet their needs. It doesn’t take long in the course of normal sexual experimentation for one to make the connection between sex and needs being met. Over time as the person develops they come to rely more and more on sex as a way of coping with their needs.

As this develops, the now sex addict, creates routines and rituals around their sexual behavior. Some wear certain clothes, listen to certain music, go to certain places, schedule time for the addiction, spend time planning and researching, some even create negative stress in their lives to get themselves in the mood so to speak prior to “acting out.” (Acting out are the ritualized behaviors the sex addict seeks to feel better)

When the sex addict does act out it can be through normal sex or any other type of sexual act i.e.  masturbating, viewing pornography, phone sex, chat lines or more problematic behaviors such as voyeurism or exhibitionism.

This phases is part of the overall sex addiction cycle and is the catalyst for the final phase which is the shame, guilt, and other bad feelings that follow the sexual acting out.  Take these feelings and couple them with the chemical “low” a sex addict feels after the release of such powerful brain chemicals, the sex addict needs to begin the cycle all over again to get that need met so they don’t feel bad anymore.

The sex addict needs to first realize they have a problem and ask for help. Once they made that reach, they can begin the process of recovery from sex addiction.

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