But compulsive sexual behavior, also called hypersexual disorder, can systematically destroy a person’s life much as addictions to alcohol or drugs can.
Dating for sex addicts
The movie follows Brandon (portrayed by Irish actor Michael Fassbender in a career-defining performance), a New Yorker with a libido the size of the Empire State Building.
His life devolves into a blur of carnal encounters, imperiling both his job and his self-regard.
Take it from Tony, a 36-year-old from the affluent Westside of Los Angeles, who found his life thrown into turmoil by compulsive sexual behavior. “I would go into trancelike states, lose track of what I was doing socially, professionally, spiritually.
I couldn’t stop.”He was ashamed of his tireless efforts to find women.
For Valerie, sex was a form of self-medication: to obliterate the anxiety, despair, and crippling fear of emotional intimacy that had haunted her since being abandoned as a child.
“In order to soothe the loneliness and the fear of being unwanted, I was looking for love in all the wrong places,” she recalls.Some 1,500 sex therapists treating compulsive behavior are practicing today, up from fewer than 100 a decade ago, say several researchers and clinicians, while dozens of rehabilitation centers now advertise treatment programs, up from just five or six in the same period. “Where it used to be 40- to 50-year-old men seeking treatment, now there are more females, adolescents, and senior citizens,” says Tami Ver Helst, vice president of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals.“Grandfathers getting caught with porn on their computers by grandkids, and grandkids sexting at 12.”In fact, some of the growth has been fueled by the digital revolution, which has revved up America’s carnal metabolism. log on to some 4.2 million pornographic websites, according to the Internet Filter Software Review.Smartphone apps like Grindr use GPS technology to facilitate instantaneous, no-strings gay hookups in 192 countries.The website Ashley promises “affairs guaranteed” by connecting people looking for sex outside their marriages; the site says it has 12.2 million members.He also learned that his fixation on sex was a way of avoiding his insecurities and tackling the emotional issues that first led to his addictive behavior. “We treat it very much like sobriety for an eating disorder,” says Robert Weiss, founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles. ’ We look at your goals and figure in your sexual behaviors and validate what’s going to lead you back to the behavior you don’t want to do.”Although sex addicts sometimes describe behavior akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder, research hasn’t directly correlated the two.