Sex Compulsions

Sexual compulsions or urges are demonstrated through an unhealthy and obsessive focus on one’s desires, fantasies or attempts to satisfy sexual needs. The deficits occur when this preoccupation becomes the primary focus and debilitates an individual’s capability to attend to other daily living skills, their families, their jobs and other responsibilities.

Symptoms of Sex Compulsions

  • You have recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors that take up a lot of your time and feel as if they’re beyond your control.
  • You feel driven to do certain sexual behaviors, and feel a release of the tension afterward, but also guilt or remorse.
  • You’ve tried unsuccessfully to reduce or control your sexual fantasies, urges or behavior.
  • You use compulsive sexual behavior as an escape from other problems, such as loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.
  • You continue to engage in sexual behaviors that have serious consequences, such as getting or giving someone else a sexually transmitted disease, loss of important relationships, trouble at work, financial strain or legal problems.
  • You have trouble establishing and maintaining healthy and stable relationships.


While the direct cause of sexual compulsive disorders is not fully known, the following are some of the potential causes:

  • An imbalance of natural brain chemicals. Certain chemicals in your brain (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine help regulate your mood. High levels may be related to compulsive sexual behavior.
  • Changes in brain pathways. Compulsive sexual behavior may be an addiction that causes a change in the brain’s neural circuits, especially in the reinforcement centers of the brain. Like other addictions, increased sexual content and stimulation are typically required over time in order to gain satisfaction or relief.
  • Conditions that affect the brain. Certain diseases or health problems, such as epilepsy and dementia, may cause damage to parts of the brain that affect sexual behavior. In addition, treatment of Parkinson’s Disease with some dopamine agonist medications may cause compulsive sexual behavior.


Treating a sexual compulsive disorder can be coupled with co-occurring mental health disorders. Often, these symptoms can be addressed with therapy, cognitive behavioral interventions that address your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, group therapies, or exposure therapies that can include EMDR or Brainspotting.

If you or a loved one needs treatment for sex compulsions, please call one of our caring, admissions counselors now for a free, no-obligation and confidential conversation about how The Beach Cottage at Seasons in Malibu can help.

Let’s Talk 424-235-2009

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