An unusually strong sex drive may seem like a gift to most people, but it may be a sign of a psychological disorder that can lead to a very serious addiction. When the compulsion to engage in sexual acts is too strong or if one’s sex drive is very difficult to quench, it may be a sign of sex addiction. As opposed to substance addiction, sex addiction is a process addiction; an addiction wherein pleasure is derived from chemicals released into the brain from within the body, and not from external sources. Engaging in sexual acts increases dopamine levels, which is associated with feelings of pleasure and motivation to engage in certain activities. As the body becomes accustomed to the high levels of dopamine and other chemicals brought about by sexual activities, it seeks out the activities that bring about the release of these chemicals into the brain.
Sex addiction is very rarely caused by a single factor; most of the time it is developed through a buildup of conditions over time. These conditions will vary with each individual, but selfishness will be a common trait of all addicts. Being selfish is the core of sex addiction since the focus of sex addicts is providing pleasure to one’s self, even at the risk of hurting others. Sexuality is a normal part of every romantic relationship, but an unusual preoccupation with it can be unhealthy. It can, instead of developing a relationship, destroy it from within, pushing the sex addict deeper into the addiction.
The desire for pleasure is the primary driving force behind an individual’s engaging in sexual acts, but, when this desire becomes an obsession, it may be a symptom of a developing sex addiction. Although perceived harmless by many, it can lead to a life of progressively reckless sexual acts that can hurt the sex addict and those close to him or her. Every addiction is harmful, and they should all be addressed in the same way – with the utmost care and the appropriate treatment program.