The need to have sex all the time does not mean you are addicted to sex
THERE is a fine line between wanting sex all the time and being addicted to sex. It might sometimes be tricky for you to tell the difference between the two, but there is a difference. Move! speaks to experts who say there is nothing wrong with having a good sexual appetite and share information to help you control your sexual desires in a way that doesn’t lead to you becoming a sex addict.
WHAT MAY CAUSE YOUR CONSTANT NEED FOR SEX
Dr Jeanne Aspeling, a sexologist based in Joburg, says all the hormones in your body play a very big role in your libido.
■ Testosterone: When this is high (it usually peaks between 8am and 11am in the morning), your sex drive will be higher.
■ Adrenal glands: Due to stress, your adrenal gland hormones, cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), may be too high or low, which has an influence on your libido.
■ Menstruation: A female’s hormones change throughout menstruation and this can also affect your libido.
■ Brain hormones: Due to stress, depression and anxiety, these hormones can decrease your libido, but some people find that sex relieves stress and would want to have sex when they are stressed.
According to Dr Jeanne, there are medical conditions or medication that can affect any of these hormones and in turn affect your libido: ■ Some anti-depressants.
■ Some oral contraceptive pills.
■ Some hypertension medication.
■ Problems with your thyroid.
■ Psychiatric conditions.
Christa Coetzee, a psycho-sexologist based in Pretoria, says sexual engagement means getting personal satisfaction, be it emotional and physical or wanting to experience closeness with people.
“It is important to explore what drives your sexual appetite. Only when you understand your being and behaviour will you know what you need to address to bring some functional balance to your behaviour,” she says.
KNOWING IF YOU ARE ADDICTED TO SEX
Christa says it is important to clarify what addiction is. “Addiction is repetitive engagement that negatively impacts your work, daily living and relationships. People are quick to label behaviour that is different as abnormal or in some cases as an addiction,” she says.
Dr Jeanne agrees that, “When you are addicted to something, it starts affecting your daily functioning, so a sex addict will miss important meetings, skip work and so forth to be able to have sex. The other way in which it affects your daily functioning is that your behaviour can go outside safe boundaries, so you might even go to a sex worker if your partner is not available.”
She adds, “You can’t think rationally about it, if you want sex, you want it now and it does not matter what the consequences are. With a high sex drive, your daily functioning stays intact.”
If you are struggling with controlling your sexual appetite, Dr Jeanne advises that you see a professional sooner rather than later.
“It is very hard to treat and control your sex drive once it gets out of control and becomes an addiction. You also don’t necessarily need to be a sex addict to put yourself at risk. Use condoms, go for regular sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and get vaccinated against some STIs. It is advisable for women to also use contraceptives,” says Dr Jeanne.