Addiction stories are very popular, and one could argue, a highly lucrative business these days. People love to watch these lost souls as they stumble through life, not knowing how to change their ways. There are thousands of books, hundreds of movies and dozens of television shows that deal with the subject. In America, these shows have an even bigger following, as addiction culture is very real there.
The premise of addiction has been used as a story element since the dawn of literature. Shakespeare brought this theme in many of his dramas, including what might be the most popular creation of the author, Romeo and Juliet. The two teenagers were madly in love with each other, in a way that once could argue bordered on addiction. The story remains the standard for dramatic romance tales, and many movies used it as a source of inspiration.
Even though addiction is a very real thing, we use it a little loosely these days, applying it to almost anything. Drug and alcohol addiction can have a devastating effect on our lives, and we now know just how damaging gambling addiction can be. These dangers are undoubtedly part of the addiction culture, and have real impact on many people’s lives. Sex addiction is a little more controversial, but there are real, truly problematic cases.
The concept is relatively new but you may have laughed the idea off when you first heard about it. Turns out, there is such a thing as sex addiction, only it’s rarer than drug, alcohol or even gambling addiction. That does not make it any less true. Even when we are talking about an otherwise constructive and even healthy – with protection – activity like sex, there is such a thing as too much. Fantasizing about sex, however, or even watching the occasional pornographic content is not necessarily addiction.
Addiction starts when doing the activity or even thinking about it starts to rule your behavior. When you need to do something or otherwise feel terrible – definitely mentally but maybe even physically -, that is where real addiction starts, and sex can absolutely be like that. How rare this addiction actually is, is a little hard to determine, mostly because there are a lot of sexually healthy people who love to have sex every day, but they don’t necessarily qualify as addicts because the behavioral patterns are not present. Conversely, just because someone is not having sex at all, it does not necessarily mean that they are not addicted to it.
The Reality of Sexual Addiction
When you hear about sex addiction, you often see information from people who has an agenda. They may want to sell their book or have a different purpose that requires portraying sex in a certain negative light. Websites are also part of that, producing articles that talk about sex as a degrading, almost evil thing, often suggesting that anyone who practices it must be considered a sex addict.
In reality, sex is good for us when it is practiced in a safe way. Our body releases endorphins and hormones to give us a pleasure feedback, promoting the repetition of the activity for obvious purposes. Sex feels good, because it does, we do it a lot and that offers a huge evolutional advantage. In some cases, it can also spiral out of control, and make us lose touch with reality. When that happens, we will put ourselves in dangerous situations just to have a sexual experience.
Spouses cheat on their wife or husband, people lose jobs, and STDs become a very real possibility. Those who practice unsafe sex on a regular basis and with many different partners have a much higher chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. With all that said, real, highly damaging sexual addiction is relatively rare in society. These people stop to enjoy the sex itself, and there are other alarming signs, like depression or mental exhaustion. If you see any of these signs on yourself or your partner, it is probably a good idea to get qualified help and put an end to it before it turns into full-fled sexual addiction.