updated 20 May 2010, 14:47
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Mon, May 17, 2010
The Star/ ANN
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Are you addicted to sex?

THE root of the “sex addiction” problem is still unknown, said Universiti Sains Malaysia psychologist and criminologist Geshina Ayu Mat Saat, adding that even with drug addiction, questions are still being asked about how it happens. Geshina and clinical psychlogist Datuk Dr Mat Saat Mohd Baki rattle off a list of symptoms of hypersexual behaviour. Consultant psychologist Valerie Jaques chipped in with several of her own. Alarm bells should ring if you – or someone you know – experience the following:

> Can’t make it through the day without fantasising about, planning and engaging in risky sexual encounters.

> Compulsive masturbation.

> Use the Internet/phone to get sexually stimulated at work or at home.

> Have a secret collection of porn material.

> Have more sexual partners than he/she can remember.

> Engage the services of sex workers.

> Often find sexual experiences disappointing.

> Can’t banish certain sexual thoughts.

> Lost a job or relationship due to sexual activities.

> Feel under intense pressure and completely controlled by sexual desires.

> Suffer serious losses, normally money or time, because of sexual behaviour.

> Use sex to feel better.

> Lie to people he/she cares about, regarding his/her sexual activities.

Some may argue that some of the items on this list are not indicative of abnormal sexual behaviour.

Problems that accompany sexual hyperactivity include depression, anxiety, mood disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and manic-depression. Some individuals suffer from two or more conditions simultaneously, but traits of addiction are often confused with those of these disorders, said Dr Mat Saat.

A person with a “sex addiction” problem finds little satisfaction in the sexual activity and forms no emotional bonds with his/her sex partners, said Jaques. A “sex addict” is often plagued by feelings of guilt and shame, and feels a lack of control over the behaviour, despite the negative consequences on his health, finances, and social and emotional well-being.

Dr Petra Boynton, a British psychologist and university lecturer, said via e-mail: “Focus on what you think is the problem, how it manifests itself, and what harm it could do to you or others. For example, unprotected sex, using porn to avoid intimacy, or hurting a partner is problematic.”

The issue may be difficult to address on one’s own, so Boynton advises enlisting the help of a qualified relationship therapist who can focus on your relationship and issues of self-esteem and well-being so that all areas of your life and relationships are addressed.

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