Sexual Addiction in Our Community


Sexual addiction may have many different definitions depending on whom you ask. I define sexual addiction as an intense sexual drive or obsession with sex. Sexuality is use to appease the emotional condition when the individual is experiencing emotional distress or an outburst of emotions (it can be joy, anxiety, stress, fear, etc.).

I believe sexual compulsivity or sexual addiction is an illness! In our community this secretive disorder tends to affect multiple aspects of our relationships with friends, family and co-workers. The condition affects men and women and its impact on the Latin@ community can be devastating since the spread of HIV and STIs continue to affect a higher percent of our community. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals tend to keep this behavior secret from important members their support system or social network.

This disease has three dimensions: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Physically, you engage in sexual behaviors that are known to be unhealthy for you or that it places you in legal, physical, and/or spiritual jeopardy.

Emotionally, you experience a “high” in contemplating and engaging in the “acting out” sexual behavior, followed by an emotional let-down after the acting out has concluded.

Spiritually, you feel disconnected from others and everything. You feel guilty about your sexuality and remorse is often an emotion experienced after a “sexual binge.”

Furthermore, sexual addiction is secretive. Sex and thoughts of sex dominate the sex addict’s thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships

Behaviors associated with sexual addiction include:

•    Compulsive masturbation (self-stimulation)
•    Multiple affairs (extra-marital affairs)
•    Multiple or anonymous sexual partners and/or one-night stands
•    Consistent use of pornography
•    Unsafe sex
•    Phone or computer sex (cybersex)
•    Prostitution or use of prostitutes
•    Exhibitionism
•    Obsessive dating through personal ads
•    Voyeurism (watching others) and/or stalking
•    Sexual harassment
•    Molestation/rape
•    Other sexual-related activities

Generally, a person with a sex addiction gains little satisfaction from
the sexual activity and forms no emotional bond with his or her
sex partners. A sex addict also feels a lack of control over the
behavior, despite negative consequences (financial, health, social,
and emotional).

How is sexual addiction treated?

Most sex addicts live in denial of their addiction, and treating an
addiction is dependent on the person accepting and admitting that
he or she has a problem. In many cases, it takes a significant
event—such as the loss of a job, the break-up of a marriage, an arrest,
or health crisis—to force the addict to admit to his or her problem.
Treatment of sexual addiction focuses on controlling the addictive
behavior and helping the person develop a healthy sexuality.
Treatment includes education about healthy sexuality, individual
counseling, and marital and/or family therapy. Support groups and
12 step recovery programs for people with sexual addictions
(like Sex Addicts Anonymous) also are available. In some cases,
medications used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder may
be used to curb the compulsive nature of the sex addiction. These
medications may include Prozac and Anafranil (Source).

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Roberto Olivo

Roberto Olivo is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He serves as CEO of Counseling by Roberto.

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