The Difference Between a "Cheater" and a Sexual Addict Has Been Identified and It's All About Chemistry and the Brain
If you've ever ridden the emotional roller coaster ride of either living with a partner that suffers with sexual addictions, or you yourself suffer from this relentless life consuming addiction, you know there comes a point when you can no longer cover up the truth. Life becomes unmanagable. Countless sex addicts in today's society know too well how terrifying that journey is for everyone!
What exactly is a sex addict and how does this illness differ from the bad habits of a plain old cheating spouse? Should you excuse constant infidelity just because of a hypothetical sexual addiction? How do you know for sure what is really going on in the head of someone who may be truly mentally ill. The answer is that the brain of a person suffering from sexual addiction is wired very differently to those people with non-addictive personalities. For a sexual addict the brain does not appear to be able to chemically distinguish a desire from an absolute uncontrollable need. Further evidence comes from comparing brain functioin of imagination to reality. What has been seen on brain scans of sexual addicts is that when told to imagine that he is having sex with a porn star in a film he is watching, the addicts brain looks just the same as it does when he really is having sex.
Overwhelmed Partners are the Ones Who May Need to Seek Help First
Many partners of those who suffer from sexual addictions report having to contend with accepting their spouse viewing porn, going to strip clubs and even having sex with prostitutes because they are afraid and unsure of how to help, or what to do. Chances are that this type of constant behavior will finally break the relationship in more ways than can be put together again. If you have been tolerant and uncertain, hoping to close your eyes to the mounting evidence of a real problem with your loved one, you know there comes a time when you have to protect yourself from the fallout. Sure you may not be the partner who suffers from sexual addictions but regardless of what you want to call it- it's a problem for you as well. So, the question is what are YOU going to do for YOU?
Sexual addiction is seen as a major social problem with similarities to the better understood and more well-known alcohol and drug or compulsive gambling addictions. Being addicted to or hooked on sex is unsettling to most people as they don't want to admit having any type of addiction. As a mental illness, addictions are still far from understood. To stalwart societies, compulsions of any type speak to a "weak" individual. They should be able to help themselves, right? According to statistics there are currently more than 15 million people worldwide that suffer with sexual addiction. It's not hard to imagine the number of lives of spouses, children, parents and other loved ones who are affected by the fallout of a single sex addict.
There are many faces of sexual addiction and it takes on many forms including compulsive masturbation, sex with prostitutes, anonymous sex with multiple partners, affairs, regular exhibitionism, voyeurism, and inappropriate sexual touching as well as the more serious behaviors of rape and/or the repeated sexual abuse of children. Although pedophilia is a separate mental diagnosis, and rape is more about violence than it is about sex, compulsive or addictive behaviors operate across the spectrum of sexual preferences and deviations.
Like all addictions, those afflicted with problematic sexual addiction will continue to engage in various sexual behaviors regardless of the possibility of facing health risks, financial problems, crushed relationships or even the possibility of being arrested.
Sexual addiction also includes any compulsive searching or returning to behaviors of sexual experimentation. The addiction is the key problem whether the identified patient be constantly looking for multiple partners, excessive masturbation opportunities or pressuring long time partners into sexual activity that makes them uncomfortable. The key here is in the actual compulsion to engage in any thing that is particularly sexual in nature.
Sexual activity as a compulsion and differs from other activities and behaviors because people can avoid alcohol, drugs or gambling and still live happy productive lives; whereas the very nature of humans is to seek companionship and closeness in which sex plays an enormous role. The impulse to overeat is also on par with a bonafide human need and also difficult to "quit" because nutrition is a pressing need. In general humans have a natural desire for sexual contact. It's most vital that those affected by sexual addictions seek professional help. If an ill partner will not seek help however, it's imperative that the affected partner seek out support and counseling to deal with their personal role in the relationship whether it continues or not. People have the capacity to change if they so desire. But change can only be affected by the self for the self, not for others.