Sexual expression is a natural part of a well-rounded life. But if you're obsessed with sexual thoughts, feelings or behaviors that affect your health, job, relationships or other parts of your life, you may have compulsive sexual behavior.

Compulsive sexual behavior — sometimes called hypersexuality, nymphomania or sexual addiction — may involve a normally enjoyable sexual experience that becomes an obsession. Or compulsive sexual behavior may involve fantasies or activities outside the bounds of culturally, legally or morally accepted sexual behavior.

No matter what it's called or the exact nature of the behavior, untreated compulsive sexual behavior can damage your self-esteem, relationships, career and other people. But with treatment and self-help, you can manage compulsive sexual behavior and keep your urges in check.

In many cases, compulsive sexual behavior consists of generally acceptable sexual acts taken to an extreme. These behaviors become problems when they become an obsession that's disruptive or harmful to you or others.

Compulsive sexual behavior symptoms vary in type and severity. Some signs that you may be struggling with compulsive sexual behavior include:

  • Your sexual impulses are intense and feel as if they're beyond your control.
  • Even though you feel driven to engage in certain sexual behavior, you may or may not find the activity a source of pleasure or satisfaction.
  • You use compulsive sexual behavior as an escape from other problems, such as loneliness, depression, anxiety or stress.
  • You continue to engage in risky sexual behavior despite serious consequences, such as the potential for getting or giving someone else a sexually transmitted disease, the loss of important relationships, trouble at work or legal problems.
  • You have trouble establishing and maintaining emotional closeness, even if you're married or in a committed relationship.

Compulsive sexual behavior can have numerous negative consequences that affect both you and others. You may:

  • Struggle with feelings of guilt, shame and low self-esteem
  • Develop other mental health conditions, such as depression, extreme stress and anxiety
  • Neglect or lie to your partner and family, taxing or destroying meaningful relationships
  • Accumulate financial debts purchasing pornography and sexual services
  • Contract HIV, hepatitis or another sexually transmitted disease, or pass a sexually transmitted disease to someone else
  • Engage in unhealthy substance use, such as drug or alcohol abuse
  • Be arrested for sexual offenses
  • Lose your focus or engage in sexual activity at work, risking your job
  • Face an unwanted pregnancy and its consequences

I use a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of compulsive sexual behavior. Drawing from current medical treatment options to a 12 step approach of recovery, I work with you to discover the origins of your compulsive behavior as well as ways to manage it and create new, positively reinforced sexual experiences.

 

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