Are you at risk of having a sexual addiction?
In today’s world, sex does not have to be a taboo topic, and thanks to technological advancements including widespread internet access across the globe, you can freely discuss the joys and sorrows of sexuality with others without hesitation. However, although sex should be an enjoyable part of our lives, sometimes we can form dysfunctional attachments to certain aspects of sexuality, and this can lead to developing a sexual addiction.
Contrary to what you may think, sexual addiction is not a one-size-fits-all condition. In fact, there are different levels of sexual addiction that include various niche sexual preferences. There are four types of sexual addictions you should look out for if they want to have a healthy sex life.
Addiction to Anonymous Sex
The popularity of casual sex among people in the U.S. is on the rise according to a 2015 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Our feelings toward various forms of pre-marital sex have changed drastically over the years, with more people now viewing casual sex as no big deal. While having a “friend with benefits” or having “no strings attached” sexual hookups may hold more appeal than entering a serious, long-term monogamous relationship for men of the new generation, when frequent casual sex becomes an addiction to anonymous sex, there could be serious risks involved.
Risks people take with anonymous sex
While the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection or having sex with a person who turns out to be dangerous (read: crazy) might seem more obvious, according to data published by the APA, when you become obsessed with having anonymous sex—sex with total strangers—you also risk your psychological well-being. You might end up with feelings of pressure and even performance anxiety, and anonymous sex could be to blame.
Sometimes looking at porn can be a fun way to enhance your sexual experience. However, it is far easier than you might think to cross the line from watching a little porn now and then to full-blown porn addiction. While viewing pornography isn’t a libido-killer all by itself, when you become dependent on porn to become aroused you can be in for a world of trouble. One such problem is porn-induced erectile dysfunction, in which overuse of pornography can lead to having difficulty attaining or keeping an erection. This can have a serious impact on your romantic relationships, your sex life, and your self-esteem, and if you find porn interfering with daily functioning, you may need help to overcome your porn addiction.
Addiction to Masturbation
Masturbation is a natural part of a healthy sex life, but there can be too much of a good thing. According to an article in Psychology Today written by Dr. Lisa Firestone, masturbation is easy to become addicted to because of the instant spike of feel-good sensations that come from it. Even though masturbating from time to time is totally normal, masturbation can become dysfunctional when it is used like a drug—as a “painkiller to cut off from feelings.” It shouldn’t be used to escape the pain of reality. When masturbation becomes compulsive, it can impact your life in several ways. Your work life and social life could suffer as a result of masturbation addiction—not to mention your sex life and relationship.
Obsession with Paying or Bartering for Sex
Some men get a thrill from hooking up with prostitutes or trading other things for sexual favors. They like the idea of sex being a transaction, and their reasoning is as different as the men themselves. Some like the idea of being in control, while others may feel that paying for or bartering for sex sets a “level playing field” between them and their sex partner. However, when non-transactional sex is no longer arousing to you, you may be experiencing a sexual addiction issue. In other words, if you feel like you just cannot have sex unless it’s been paid for, you could have an addiction issue on your hands.
Let’s be real here: a lot of us like to spice things up the bedroom, and a little bit of consensual bondage or power-exchange roleplaying can be the perfect way to do it. There is nothing wrong with some kinky fun—in moderation—between two people who are enjoying themselves and each other. However, if you become fixated on BDSM to the exclusion of any other types of sex acts and “vanilla” sex just won’t do the job anymore, or if you find yourself dumping compatible partners because they don’t want to roleplay with you, you could be dealing with a sexual addiction.
Voyeurism is something plenty of us are familiar with—the tendency to “like to watch.” While a voyeurism kink can be hot when you’re dating an exhibitionist (someone who likes being watched), if you end up doing illegal stuff to get a thrill—or even if you just become so preoccupied with voyeurism that you can’t have sex without feeling like you’re being an observer in some way, you might have an addiction you need to break free from.
Avoiding addictive sexual behaviors
Sexuality should be a fulfilling and enjoyable part of your adult life, and there’s nothing wrong with changing things up sometimes to keep sex exciting. However, when sexuality becomes entwined with addictive behaviors, it can be difficult to lead a normal, happy life. By forging a healthy view of sexuality and avoiding the temptation to give in to addiction, you can have a happier, more satisfying sex life. If you believe you may be struggling with a form of sexual addiction, consider speaking to a sex therapist about your concerns.