Sex Addiction Description and Treatments

Essay by shellymichaelsUniversity, Bachelor'sA, December 2006

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Sex Addiction Description and Treatments

The effects of sex addiction are readily dismissed because they are not "chemical" when in actuality; naturally occurring drugs are involved in the form of chemicals or peptides such as endorphins. These peptides are analogous in molecular structure of opiates like morphine yet they are many times more powerful. This paper will define sex addiction, provide examples of sex addiction, and describe the levels of severity of sex addiction disorders, treatment approaches, and treatment outcome expectations.

Robert Weis, LCSW, defines sex addiction as: "A man or woman who engages in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behaviors acted out despite harmful consequences or potential consequences to self or others" (Weiss, 2005).

Just as with any addictive behavior, sex addicts disregard whether their actions are causing problems in their life and they return to the behavior anyway. Should sexual behaviors have caused consequences legally, within relationships, at work, or with emotional or physical health, help should be sought.

If the actions are beyond a person's control, and they are acting in ways that go against their values and beliefs, talking to someone about it could be the first step in helping them take control of their lives (Herkov, Gold, and Edwards, 2001).

The American Psychiatric Association states that sexual addiction takes on many forms and is classified into several types of behavior disorders called paraphilias including:

* Pedophilia -- an adult's sexual attraction toward children

* Exhibitionism -- sexual excitement associated with exposing one's genitals in public

* Voyeurism -- sexual excitement from watching an unsuspecting person

* Sexual masochism -- sexual excitement from being the recipient of inflicted or threatened pain

* Sexual sadism -- sexual excitement from threatening or administering pain

* Transvestic fetishism -- sexual excitement from wearing the clothing of the opposite...