Adolescence is definitely a time of discovery, which is perfectly natural. Teenagers will naturally be interested in sex. But sometimes, that interest goes beyond regular development, and becomes a behavioral addiction.
What Is Sex Addiction?
Going through puberty, all teens develop a healthy curiosity about sex, but sometimes that curiosity can become obsessive. A teen dealing with sex addiction will seek out sexual activity compulsively. They are not necessarily in control of their own actions. Sex addicts use sex to make themselves feel better when they are depressed or lonely.
What Causes Sex Addiction?
Research shows that the majority of mental health problems develop in early adolescence, just as teens are discovering their sexuality. Teens experiencing mental health issues like depression, anxiety or schizophrenia are proven to be more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. Other factors that can lead to sex addiction are experiencing trauma or sexual abuse in childhood or teen years, growing up in an environment where sex is a taboo subject or experiencing shame around your sexuality.
How to Prevent Sex Addiction
Providing proper sexual education and being open and talkative about the subject goes a long way in your teen’s developing a healthy perspective on sex. Ensuring that they are receiving the proper help for any other mental health and wellbeing issues is also important, and will make them less likely to develop unhealthy habits.
How to Recognize Sex Addiction
Porn and sexting are often the teenagers’ first avenues of exploration when it comes to sex. Watch out for your teen being abnormally secretive with their devices, using them at unusual times of day or locking their bedroom door. On their own, these signs are not indicative of a problem: sexual exploration is a normal part of teenage development. But when it becomes near-constant, that may indicate an issue.
How to Talk to Your Teen About Sex Addiction
Bringing up the topic of sex addiction can be very challenging. You want to have a solid foundation for your concern before confronting them, but spying on your teen will damage the trust between you, and make them feel hurt and embarrassed. Instead, have an honest and non-judgemental conversation. Be careful not to be too critical, that will only shame your teen and make them close up. If possible, enlist the help of a counselor. Show that you are not trying to repress your teen’s natural behavior, but that you want them to have a happy and fulfilling personal life.
How to Treat Sex Addiction
Counseling is a good resource for overcoming teen sex addiction. There are also support groups which will help you and your teen put their addiction into perspective and connect with others who are going through the same thing.
Unlike other addictions, people who suffer from sex addiction do not have to abstain for their whole adult lives to be healthy. With the proper help, your teen can overcome their addiction and go on to have healthy sexual relationships in the future.
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