As humans, we are pre-programmed to eat, sleep and have sex. But, when does a normal human function become an addictive behavior?
Fortunately, more and more research is being done to help us understand addiction and how an otherwise healthy human activity becomes an addiction.
In Paula Hall’s research, she found that 1 in 4 people who believe that sex has become an addictive behaviorare women. Also, at risk are children who may be exposed through the internet.
Sex as an Addictive Behavior
A few months before their wedding, David Prior (not his real name) told his fiance Sue his biggest secret. Although the couple had a good sex life, and were committed to a future together, he was addicted to visiting prostitutes.
Perhaps surprisingly, the wedding went ahead. “I was horribly shocked, but I thought that with some therapy he’d get over it,” says Sue, 42. Fifteen years and two children on, the couple are still together – but David’s sex addiction, too, is with him still. “I don’t think we could possibly have imagined that it would be as long-term, or as difficult, as it has been,” says Sue.
David and Sue are clients of a sexual psychotherapist, Paula Hall, who last month published the UK’s first comprehensive guide to what sex addiction is – she defines it as “a pattern of out-of-control sexual behaviour that causes problems in someone’s life” – and how its sufferers can be helped. No one knows how many sex addicts there are but, says Ms Hall, in her professional judgement it’s hugely on the increase.
Is someone you know at risk for developing an addictive behavior? Whether the behavior is sex addiction or shows up in another form, addictive behavior is just a way of coping with emotional pain.
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