One of the most difficult aspects to understand about Sex Addiction is why the addict will risk their marriages, careers, family, children, financial security, social status and literally their entire life for the seemingly small reward of a quick sexual encounter. We non addicts just can’t make sense of it all.
Fortunately there is some research being conducted on the neurological aspects of Sex Addiction. Data is sketchy at best and I am doing what I can to sort through it and find current researchers so I can share it with all of you.
To condense it in a nutshell, Sex Addiction offers a unique type of feedback to the brain, making it almost impossible for the Sex Addict to resist the temptation of that exquisite flood of pleasure chemicals to their brain. Part of what makes true sexual compulsion so difficult to control is that it delivers the neurochemical function of three distinct types of “highs”.
Most mood-altering drugs operate either by intensifying brain chemistry (such as speed or cocaine), by serving a sedating or anxiety-reducing function (examples include alcohol or heroin) or by taking a person into fantasy (like hallucinogenics). The intense and almost immediate feedback loop of Sexual Addiction has the capability of engaging all three neurochemical pathways. Sexual intrigue and fantasy can simultaneously serve stimulating, calming, disinhibiting and dissociative functions. And since the mood alteration is only a thought away it’s no wonder it can be so reinforcing even in the face of profoundly negative consequences.
So, with that understanding we can at least begin to understand the Sex Addict’s behavior. Now the challenge is to find ways to block, redirect or eliminate the chemical feedback that holds the Sex Addict hostage.
Our sickness is between our ears. ~ Anonymous