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Sexual Problems


Sexual Problems (sex/ pornography addiction)

If you are worried you may be experiencing sex and intimacy problems, it’s important to speak up and seek help. The longer you wait, the more time your problems have to get worse or develop consequences. Reaching out and seeking help can be scary, but it’s the first step towards finding out what is causing you problems and in helping you to fix or manage them. There are many options out there that can help, such as sex therapy, which is considered to be a highly effective way of addressing sexual dysfunctions. Sex therapy can help you to develop a healthier attitude towards sex and sexual intimacy, as well as to explore any underlying issues that may be impacting your ability to relax and enjoy sex.

What are sex problems?

Sex problems, or sexual dysfunction, refers to a wide range of difficulties that may happen at any point before, during or after sex. The sexual response cycle (a sequence of emotional and physical changes that happen when you become aroused and engage in sexually stimulating activity, such as masturbation or intercourse) - has four stages. Excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. If your body doesn’t respond during one or more of these states, it can be a sign that there may be a problem.

What can cause sex problems and sexual dysfunctions?

A number of different things can cause you to develop sexual problems. Generally, problems develop due to a combination of physical, emotional, psychological and situational reasons. These can include:

  • Physical factors
  • disabilities, illnesses or long-term conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, drug or alcohol addiction. 

  • Psychological:
  •  many different mental health issues can negatively impact your sexual desire and responses. These can include anxiety, depression, stress, and more. 

  • Emotional:
  •  feelings of betrayal, unhappiness in your relationship, or unresolved grief can all take their toll. If you have low self-esteem, this may also be having a negative impact on your levels of sexual desire and desirability. Past traumatic experiences with sexual abuse can also have a greater effect than you may realise, and may leave you feeling unable to fully enjoy or participate in sexual intimacy. 

  • Situational:
  •  changes in your day-to-day life, circumstances, or living situation can all contribute to the development of sex problems. For example, if you have recently moved, are having financial problems, or have had a child, this could have a significant impact.

  • Sex addiction
  • Also known as hypersexuality, sex addiction generally refers to a feeling that you can’t stop or resist a particular sexual activity or related action, such as masturbation, accessing pornography, paying for sex, or having cybersex. As with other forms of addiction, this can lead to feelings of isolation, regret, powerlessness, anxiety, remorse, and shame. Inpatient treatment, 12-step recovery programmes, one-to-one counselling, group therapy, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are just a few of the ways you can address any worries around sexual addictions. If you’re unsure if you may have a problem, Noel Bell MA, PG Dip Psych, UKCP shares a few short questions you can ask yourself to know if you have a problem.

  • Porn Addiction
  • Porn addiction is a condition in which a person has an unhealthy relationship to explicit or graphic sexual content or material. Pornography can come in the form of videos, magazines, movies, books, graphic novels and other mediums that involve sexualised images and sexual acts. The term ‘addiction’ itself refers to a state in which a person has lack of control over their cravings or must frequently engage in the activity that fulfils their cravings.

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Porn Addiction?

    Consuming pornographic content does not necessarily mean that a person is addicted to porn. As with other forms of addiction, signs and symptoms of porn addiction vary from person to person. The following signs and symptoms are commonly associated with porn addiction:

  • Inability to stop using porn or engaging in behaviours related to porn/unsuccessful attempts to stop
  • Strong cravings to view porn
  • Anger, hostility or irritability when asked to stop porn-related behaviours
  • Keeping porn use a secret/increased isolation
  • Continuing to view pornographic content despite negative consequences
  • Losing track of time due to time spent absorbing porn
  • Needing increasing amounts of porn, or more explicit content, to gain satisfaction
  • Feelings of self-disgust, fear, shame and being out of control
  • Reduced intimacy and increased objectification of other people
  • Planning activities around porn habits
  • Neglecting duties or previously enjoyable activities to consume porn
  • How Is Porn Addiction Treated?

    Just like other mental health issues and addictions, porn addiction can be treated through various approaches at a sex addiction rehab. Some of the most effective porn addiction treatment methods include:

  • Individual Therapy
  • Individual porn addiction therapy takes place with a qualified professional and is a safe approach for anyone. Individual therapy typically involves thirty to sixty-minute sessions that focus on a person’s behaviours that are related porn and other related subject matter.

  • Cognitive-Based Therapy (CBT)
  • CBT methods come from the concept that our emotions, thoughts and behaviours are all connected. Therefore, when these become dysfunctional, or overpoweringly negative, it results in serious consequences in the person’s life. CBT often focuses on negative beliefs about oneself, other people and the world and aims to change them into more functional and positive thoughts.

  • 12 Step Programmes
  •  12 Step recovery programmes, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, are focus groups that stress the importance of realising one’s powerlessness. It offers participants a standard set of recovery steps that help them overcome their addiction.

  • Couples Counselling
  • Porn addiction therapy usually benefits from couples counselling if one partner, or both, has an unhealthy porn habit. This form of counselling focuses on resolving individual behaviours and addictions, as well as improving relationships, communication and restoring healthy sexual functioning between both partners

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