In its basic and natural form (if there has not been physical or emotional damage along the way) human sexual contact feels good, touching feels good, having an orgasm feels good. This is normal and wonderful. Your innate desire for sex and sexual pleasure is not an enemy. Your natural sexual impulse can guide you to finding closeness, connectedness, and intimacy with a partner. However, when sexual urges get misdirected they can become addictive or compulsive, and instead of leading to pleasure and connection, your natural sex drive can lead to suffering.
To determine if you might have a problem with sexual addiction, ask yourself these questions:
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- Are you preoccupied with sexual thoughts, impulses, or desires?
- Are your sexual behaviors getting in the way of having the intimate connection you want to have?
- Are your sexual behaviors getting in the way of work or causing financial problems?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it is possible that sexual compulsivity is an issue for you. At the very least, you can assume that sexual compulsion is creating problems for you in your life or with your relationship. Look at it this way, if your sexual expression is self-defeating, then you have a problem. If your sexual behaviors are getting in the way of the intimacy you desire, then you have a problem.
When you are caught by sexual compulsion, the pleasure that is inherently present in orgasm or connection with another gets co-opted and is used as a balm, an escape, a distraction, rather than being enjoyed for what it does offer. The problem with soothing yourself with sexual behavior is that the soothing is momentary. You may feel ashamed, too, because you are probably aware that your behavior is out of your control. You can't get enough of what won't satisfy you. An internal war is going on. Your life is not working.
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