How the Brain Produces Sex Addiction

How the Brain Produces Sex Addiction

Sexual impulses are natural, but if your libido is so strong that it’s interfering with your productivity, relationships, or happiness, you may be grappling with a sex addiction. Sex addiction isn’t a joke. It’s a mental illness that carries significant health risks, just like drug addiction. The risks of sexually transmitted diseases cannot be overstated. On top of that, sex addiction can ruin even the strongest marriages and relationships.

Experts haven’t yet come to a consensus on how sex addiction should be defined, let alone what causes it. Behavioral addictions in general are poorly understood. There aren’t a lot of diagnoses to study.

How Can Sex Be Addictive?

Brain scans performed on sex addicts reveal differences in their central nervous system. Just after sexual release, their brains produce unusually high amounts of a chemical called endorphins—which bind to opioid receptors. For these individuals, sex can be as powerful and as addictive as narcotics.

What Might Cause Sex Addiction?

Preliminary findings suggest damage to the frontal lobe may trigger the expression of disinhibited behaviors, which would partially explain the increased sexual activity that often accompanies other conditions which involve the temporal lobe, like Huntington’s and dementia.

Sex addiction has also been linked to stimulant-use, which indicates that serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine may play a role.

So far, there doesn’t seem to be a single biological or environmental cause for problem sexual behavior. Problem sexual behavior tends to affect families, which indicates strong genetic roots could be a leading factor, but very few of these cases involve sex addiction as a single isolated diagnosis. Sexual impulses are more often viewed as symptoms for other behavioral disorders.

Beating Sex Addiction

It’s possible to override the instinct we have to seek pleasure—even if that instinct is stronger than most.

If you’re suffering from recurring, frightening, or distracting sexual thoughts, seek professional help from someone specializing in sexually compulsive behavior. The power of reasoning can outdo any behavioral addiction. To recover, you’ll have to uncover and unravel those feelings, thoughts and beliefs.

Like Blueprints for Recovery, most mainstream inpatient and outpatient clinics include treatment for sex addiction as part of their programs. Because sex addiction is so commonly rooted in family origin, the topic is often targeted in family-counseling sessions and in group therapy.

Your behavioral addiction–to sex, food, internet, whatever it may be–isn’t “in your head.” You should always be in control of your actions, not the other way around.

Whether you’re addicted to a substance or a harmful behavior, Blueprints for Recovery can help. Call us today (888) 744-9969.


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