Adolescence is the time when many start dating, exploring their bodies, and experiencing an increased sexual desire. This is a normal part of growing up, however, at what point does this turn into a sexual addiction and become out of control?
Sexual addiction - also called hyper-sexuality - is a condition where a person experiences excessive sexual thoughts, urges, desires, or behaviors that cannot be controlled. A person with a sex addiction will commonly reorder their life to perform multiple sexual acts in a day. This uncontrollable urge can have serious mental and physical health consequences. Compulsive sexual behavior can interfere with many more aspects of life, such as safety, relationships, work, study, or finances.
Addiction - whether that be to do with sex or alcohol - is a powerful disease that takes over the decision-making and reward centers of the brain. The dopamine released from carrying out the addictive activity reprograms your brain to wanting more and more, causing the person repeats their destructive behavior on a compulsive loop.
Teens are commonly curious about sex, so it can be difficult to distinguish between a normal amount of sexual interest and what crosses the line into addiction territory. Since the birth of the internet, teens have had easy access to a range of intense sexual content that generations before have not. This phenomenon is likely to have increased the number of teenagers dealing with sex addiction over time. Although an individual of any sex can develop a sex or digital porn addiction, studies have shown that males have a higher chance of developing the condition than females.
If you are trying to tell the difference between a teen with a healthy sex drive and one with a sex addiction, it can be helpful to consider if their sexual activity has any negative consequences on their lives.
There are some general warning signs that adolescent sex addicts commonly display. These include:
Some of these symptoms can be put to normal teenage behavior, though sex addicts will display them over prolonged periods. They will also not have the ability to control or stop their interest in sex, which from the outside, could look more like an unwillingness.
Adolescents who are sex addicts can develop long-term problems if their issue is not confronted. It is important to state that many teens watch pornography and do not become addicted to it. However, due to its hyper-sexual intense nature, too much exposure to porn can divert young people's social development.
There are multiple causes of sex addiction, this can include:
Teens exposing themselves to too much porn sets unrealistic and unhealthy expectations about relationships and sex. This may manifest itself as:
If the route of these issues is never confronted, these traits may also continue later in life. This is why sex addiction in teens absolutely needs to be addressed. When the person becomes sexually active, having a sex addiction increases their chances of unwanted pregnancies and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
As a parent, you may be wondering what you can do to help your child. Filtering or monitoring software may seem like a quick fix for the problem, however, they are not full-proof and come with many downsides. These include the child not feeling as though they have privacy and a breakdown of trust in the relationship.
The first parents can do to help a teen with a sex addiction is to talk to them about their sexual activity and what they have been going through. The topic will likely bring up a lot of feelings of shame and guilt, so it is vital that parents approach it from a loving and non-judgemental stance. This talk is likely to be a little uncomfortable for both adults and children, though it may be vital for their present and future.
Alternatively, a specialist treatment facility can help with bridging the gap in communication and allow the teen with a sex addiction to receive advice from a medical professional. Clearfork is a residential mental health facility, offering programs specifically designed for the recovery of teens.
The center offers a faith-based, therapeutic environment for youth struggling with a range of mental illnesses and conditions. Our staff approaches clients with understanding and empathy, offering only the best evidence-based techniques. Clearfork provides around-the-clock staff and nursing support in a scenic location with tons of outdoor activities to take part in.
Experiencing a sex addiction can be confusing and scary, however, you are not alone. Please contact us today to find out more information about our programs to help you or your loved one live a happier, healthier life.