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Does Sex Addiction Mask Unhealed Emotional Wounds?

Sex addiction is a risky cycle that can put you in dangerous situations. It’s hard to combat this cycle when you feel like you’re continuously stuck. In order to begin the process of healing, it may be helpful to look at unhealed emotional wounds. Tracing your way back to the root cause can help you unravel the cycle for good.

What Is Sex Addiction?

According to a 2012 study in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, sex addiction is different than other addictive behaviors in that there is no “dependence on a toxic object.” Instead, sex addiction is a “behavioral dependency in which sexual activity, or the seeking of it, is experienced in an obsessive and compulsive fashion.”

The stark contrast between sex addiction and substance addiction leads to a gap in the way treatment and recovery is handled. In recent years, treatment centers have incorporated more services into their programs to help those overcome sex addictions and other process addictions like gambling.

Cultural Changes

People may have been addicted to sex for centuries. Only recently has sex addiction been studied as an emerging psychiatric disorder. In fact, several new studies have been conducted to research this growing struggle and how the internet age has exacerbated it.

According to a 2006 study in Psychiatry (Edgmont), sexuality in the United States has “never been more socially acceptable.” The adult entertainment industry takes in nearly $4 billion every year, strip clubs have evolved into multimillion-dollar enterprises, and sex work is available in every major city.

The term “sex sells” is ubiquitous. From magazines to movies and shows on TV, sex appeal can be found nearly everywhere. Unfortunately, along with these cultural changes comes many negative consequences, including dangerous behavior and sexual addiction.

Am I a Sex Addict?

There can be a fine line between enjoying sexuality in a healthy way and falling into a cycle of addiction. Many people may wonder if they’re addicted to sex because it’s difficult to establish where a healthy boundary ends.

The Journal of Behavioral Addictions categorizes compulsive sexual behavior (CSB), or sex addiction, as “repetitive and intense preoccupations with sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors that are distressing to the individual and/or result in psychosocial impairment.”

Sex addiction can include, but is not limited to:

  • Behaviors such as compulsive masturbation or compulsive use of pornography
  • Fetishism, exhibitionism
  • The inability to focus or complete daily tasks because you’re thinking about sex
  • Loss of quality of life and strained relationships

Sex Addiction and Trauma

Even though it’s important to have healthy conversations about sex, people who are addicted can actually be struggling with very real trauma. In fact, the root of sex addiction often comes from unhealed emotional wounds caused by someone close to you.

According to a 2021 review in Current Addiction Reports, CSB is associated with a “range of problematic behaviors and outcomes, including risky sexual behaviors, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and experiencing nonsexual attacks or robberies.”

The review examined various studies on sex addiction and its strong link to childhood trauma. It pointed to one study that found 39% of men and 63% of women in treatment for sexual addiction reported to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

Unhealed Childhood Wounds

Childhood abuse, in its many forms, can lead someone to have addictive behaviors, including sex addiction. Sometimes, the trauma is too heavy for the mind and body to bear. Many people will block it out of their memory, making it difficult to pinpoint where or when the trauma occurred.

According to a 2019 study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, child maltreatment (CM) is a “complex global problem which encompasses physical and emotional mistreatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and negligent child care, as well as commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of minors.”

When a child experiences traumatic or violent events, it can take a serious physical and mental toll well into adulthood. Many studies have found a strong correlation between CM and high-risk sexual behavior in adulthood. Quality treatment that focuses on getting to the root of the trauma is more important than ever.

Healing Sex Addiction

At The Guest House, we understand that sex addiction is a serious disorder that can come along with a range of negative consequences and lasting effects. As a trauma-informed care center, we aim to help you get to the root of your addiction as you heal your mind, body, and soul together as one.

We offer a comprehensive program that targets the underlying causes of unhealthy preoccupations with sex. Our wide continuum of care also addresses issues like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse that often come along with sex addiction.

Comprehensive Care

When it comes to substance addiction, medication is a common form of treatment. Sex addiction, however, must be approached in a much different way. We understand that sex addiction can often stem from childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect. This is why it’s crucial to find compassion and strong support as you undergo a journey of healing.

At The Guest House, you will find a wide range of treatment modalities that aim to help you take back control of your life as you overcome your struggles. Our therapeutic approach combines holistic and conventional practices to help you create healthy boundaries and re-discover your sense of self. From individual and group therapy to couples therapy and trauma-oriented treatment, there is something for everyone at The Guest House.

The ever-growing internet age has led to a huge explosion in the sex industry. Pornography alone brings in billions of dollars each year, and fancy strip clubs can be found in every major city. Along with these cultural changes have come serious problems for those who find themselves compulsively addicted to sex. At The Guest House, we understand that sex addiction is often the result of childhood trauma. Our trauma-informed curriculum will help you get to the root of your addiction so you can enjoy lasting recovery. We offer a wide variety of therapies to help you find the practices that work best for your unique journey. Call us today at (855) 483-7800.