I was recently having a conversation with a very close friend of mine who is in legal services in India. Though she is a millennial, she had a firm opinion against online dating and friendship platforms. Till now, I had been indifferent towards them. I don’t use them, and I feel people who use them are mature enough to make their own decisions.
However, she had a different agenda altogether. She had witnessed the world a li’l more than I have. She had seen people and families get destroyed because of being “too much social”. She is not entirely wrong. When I used to hear the words “sex maniac” or “sex-addiction”, I never realized that what they mean. We often think that a person with high libido is a “sex-maniac” or a person/colleague/friend who is always talking about sex, is a “sex-addict”. Li’l did I know the correlation between being too much social and sexual addiction.
I had used the term nymphomaniac very loosely in the past, and I couldn’t be more guilty.
There are specific incidences in life which change you forever. They transform your perspective about certain things so drastically that they are difficult to revert. Maybe those changes in attitude are good, but they make you a li’l less flexible in your outlook. Yes, I am talking about those incidences.
What is sex addiction?
I am coming back to my, and to some extent your, understanding of a sex – addiction. Sex addiction is not clearly classified as an addiction* yet and thus, we are still living in this dark world where we can just laugh about it. However, present-day psychology and many counselling circles study it as an urgent subject.
Sex-addiction, or compulsive sexual behaviour, is primarily an excessive urge to have sex, preoccupation with sexual fantasies or sexual activities which are difficult to control. Sexual conduct becomes the prime focus of one’s life. This can cause distress or worse, negatively affect your health, job and relationships.
People with sex addiction tend to live dual lives. They are extremely possessive about their phones, have hidden email ids, boast about their sexual partners and have no place for fear of STDs in their lives.
If you ever notice your close friend or your partner showing any such behaviour/symptoms, I would request you to please talk to them. They might not admit or might show extreme defensive behaviour, but it is important that you help them reach out to the right help. I have talked about in the later section.
I have been educated about the fact that like every other addiction, sex addiction is also a coping mechanism for certain unresolved issues like anxiety, bad childhood, toxic relationships etc. It begins like a quest, which is fueled by maybe pornography and then becomes the baggage which is challenging to get rid of.
Sex addiction wrecks families and destroys people, both physically and emotionally. Sex addiction can burn careers too. People with sex addiction alter their daily life and activities and are unable to control their behaviour – and not to mention, turn self-centred, without their knowledge. You might want to hate them, but they need help and don’t hesitate to be the one to offer advice before it’s too late.
Fuel Called Online Dating
Sex at your fingertips – this is the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when they want to connect the dots between online dating and sex-addiction. When a person is always thinking about sex, any dating app becomes the tool to satisfy the uncontrollable urge to fulfil their sexual fantasies. That is true.
However, the problem is somehow deep-rooted. My friend, who talks to addicts almost regularly, told me that the confidence that every “perfect match” on the dating platform boosts a person’s self-confidence to a different extent. A person whose mind is clouded by sexual fantasies might not be someone who is extremely confident about themselves. He/she might be looking for validation. When you sign-up for a dating site, the response is humungous, and you feel wanted.
Then follows the ease of reaching out to new people for sex and one night stands. Sex addicts don’t look for a commitment and that is precisely what online dating sites offer – shallow connection. You get to do what you want to with no strings attached: more sexual partners and no interpersonal consequences.
And before you know it, you are spending almost all of your productive time flirting online, hunting for your next sexual partner and living the life you have always wanted to!
And when an addict gets what he/she is addicted to, you know what it leads to.
Is there a cure?
Of course, there is! I can tell you to go for a total or partial abstinence. However, is it that simple? No.
If you think you are showing compulsive sexual behaviour, reach out for help. It is nothing to be ashamed of. You should be proud of yourself that you identified it and you want to save yourself. Not many people can do it.
If you know someone, I will repeat, try to help them rather than abandoning them.
Proper counselling and therapy are available to help someone come out of it with minimum damage. It doesn’t happen overnight, but baby steps are equally important. There are sex-addict groups to facilitate rehabilitation. There is counselling available to alter your sexual behaviour. They are one-on-one sessions, and they maintain your anonymity if you don’t want to go for group programs. Finally, there is drug therapy which is suggested in extreme cases.
But it is curable. And that is important.
Many friends and untrained therapists might treat sex addiction as infidelity. It is so much more than that or maybe isn’t that at all! If you feel that you are not able to reach out for the correct help, feel free to reach out to me, and I shall connect you with the right therapist.
This is my attempt to reach out to people who might need help. I may be reaching out to a handful of people right now, but all I need to have is a network of healthy audience.
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