Learning To Live With Hypersexuality
The term hypersexuality is used to describe an obsessive or dysfunctional relationship with sex. It is more commonly known as sex addiction. Whilst traditionally associated with ‘manic’ conditions like bipolar disorder, which is characterized by extremities of mood, hypersexuality is now becoming increasingly common in technology obsessed teenagers and young adults.
In essence, hypersexuality, like all mental quirks, only becomes a psychological issue once it has started to make life difficult for the sufferer. For example, if you find it hard to function (hold down a job, maintain a relationship, etc.) because you are always pursuing sex, this is an unhealthy obsession, and it needs to be dealt with if you are to lead a normal life.
If you are worried that you might be hypersexual, ask yourself the following questions. Do you masturbate compulsively every day? Have you ever actively pursued casual sex, even knowing that you could be putting yourself in danger? Do you spend an unhealthy amount of time fantasizing about having sex with strangers?
In many ways, the hardest part of dealing with hypersexuality is the widely held notion that it is somehow not real. As a society, we find it hard to understand how things that are ordinarily viewed as safe and pleasurable can become a real problem for people. For example, holding down a relationship can be almost impossible for a hypersexual person, because they are likely stray, no matter how strongly they feel for their partner.
It is this stigma, this refusal to acknowledge hypersexuality as an addiction and not a selfish impulse, which causes sufferers so much pain. From a psychological perspective, they are addicted to the neurochemical sensations associated with both the pursuit of sex, and the sexual act. As heroin gives drug users a chemical high, sex makes sufferers feel euphoric, and they start to chase this sensation.
The problem is that the pursuit of sex should only occupy a small amount of our time. It should never interfere with holding down a job, being in a relationship, leading a healthy lifestyle, or maintaining relationships with friends. For psychologically healthy people, sex is not compulsively used as an emotional crutch, to provide a high in times of sadness or anxiety.
If you believe that you are hypersexual, it is important to consult a mental health professional right away. Whilst you are waiting to receive advice, the following tips can help you to deal with symptoms.
– Masturbation is encouraged in place of the pursuit of potentially risky sexual encounters, so if you do need to masturbate to control your urges, you should not feel ashamed
– If possible, confide in a supportive friend (or even a family member), who can provide you with distractions when you are feeling like you might get involved with risky or questionable practices.
– Talk to new partners about your condition, and the possibility of an open relationship. If it does not work, do not blame them, but try to avoid forcing yourself into an unhappy commitment .