Stuck in a Cycle? – Causes and Risk Factors for Compulsive Sexual Behaviors

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a cycle of needing more and more sexual encounters or more intense sexual encounters?

Maybe your behavior has spun out of your control without you realizing it. If so, then you’re probably wondering why or how.

Questions might plague your mind. Are you cursed? Is someone or something punishing you? Are you a bad person?

The answer to all these questions is “NO.”

There are scientific reasons for your behavior. While these reasons don’t remove responsibility from you, they might help you wrap your head around your situation.

Take a moment to explore what’s going on inside of you.

The Neurochemical Concoction

Like many other types of addictions, a sexual addiction triggers the release of certain hormones. In fact, it triggers the release of a slew of hormones.

Unlike other addictions, though, both reality and fantasy can produce this neurochemical concoction.

Some of the hormones included in this release are:

Sex Addiction Glendora
  • Oxytocin – the “love hormone” and can also influence jealousy
  • Dopamine – the complex pleasure hormone that also plays a large role in reward-motivated behavior
  • Serotonin – the mood stabilizing hormone that also affects social behavior, sexual desire and function
  • Adrenaline – the “fight or flight” hormone that can induce a rush of fear and anxiety
  • Endorphins – the “euphoria” hormone that plays a heavy role in the feeling of being high.

You probably recognize some of the familiar feelings, because you have previously experienced them while engaging in a sexual activity.

Whether it’s sexual intercourse itself or watching a pornographic video, the unique combination of hormones rushing through your body doesn’t make it easy to walk away from the activity. Rather, it’s that good feeling this concoction delivers to you that keeps you coming back for more.

The Influence of Underlying Issues

Your life experiences might have left you needing a way to cope.

For instance, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, or emotional trauma could play a large role in your struggle with sex addiction because they all require a means of coping.

It’s possible that you don’t know exactly what you’re dealing with. After all, you may have been coping with this most of your life and not realized it. So you might not be able to pinpoint the core issue, but a professional who specializes in treating sex and porn addiction can help.

The Effects of Positive Reinforcement

You've engaged in behaviors or completed tasks for the positive reward at the end.

When you examine your own addiction, you will recognize the “reward” at the end of your actions. This reward is the “feel good” part of your actions.

It could be having an orgasm or that you were able to forget your stress for a moment. Usually, this type of momentary relief is sought after time and time again.

Eventually, these actions teach your brain that this is the way to feel better.

The Euphoric High

If you’re like most people, you probably embrace an escape from stress. Also, you’ve looked for an escape-like experience... or rather the out-of-this-world feeling that experience offers you.

Sexual addiction can function as that experience.

Watching an intense pornographic video or even the feeling of orgasm after masturbation or sex while fantasizing can make you feel "high." It can deliver to you that out-of-this-world feeling you want.

When you come down from this euphoric high, it’s only a matter of time before you “need” to feel it once again.

The notorious search for it becomes compulsive as your behavior becomes addictive.

The Challenge

The neurochemical release, influence of underlying issues, effects of positive reinforcement, and the euphoric high of compulsive sexual behaviors are all interwoven to create a cycle that is very difficult to get out of. 

With the help and support of a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, you can learn the skills to manage these neurological reactions. In turn, you will also learn to effectively manage the addiction as well.

Want to learn more about sexual addiction? You can read more here.