The elusive sex addiction treatment
- Most addicts will have sex to relieve stress. They do it as an escape from reality and if done with a partner, there is no love attached.
- In other cases, the problem is biological, where there is an abnormal response to stressful life situations. In this case, one gets relief through sexual release.
I was woken up by the persistent ringing of the phone.
As I fumbled to pick up the phone, it stopped ringing. I checked and found three missed calls from a number I did not recognise.
After a day full of events at the Sexology Clinic I am normally worn out, no wonder I failed to hear the phone ring.
It was 2am. That was strange, it was unusual to receive calls at such an ungodly hour. Before I could figure out what was going on, the phone started ringing again.
“I urgently need your help, they have arrested him,” came the voice of a lady; “Can you talk to the policemen and tell them that he is under treatment?”
Not sure who the lady was, and who had been arrested, I reflected on the patients I had seen the previous day.
Could it have been the couple who had issues with gender-based violence? Did they fight again and get arrested? Or could it be the one I had given a sedative? Could he have caused an accident while driving?
“I am Jessica, you are treating my husband for sex addiction, please help!” The lady pleaded.
This made me remember the couple. Jessica was married to Aggrey. She had brought Aggrey to the clinic because she accused him of repeatedly masturbating in bed.
Initially, Jessica pretended that she did not notice the behaviour. But as the frequency increased, she got irritated and confronted him.
He apologised but continued with the act. Angry and frustrated, Jessica brought him to the clinic, not sure what his problem was.
The couple have been married for seven years. They have two children. Jessica is a teacher while Aggrey is an accountant.
They had sex frequently, two to three times a week. I however discovered that Aggrey watched porn and masturbated regularly. He also had several extramarital affairs.
On average, he had 13 ejaculations in a week, more than 10 releases on his own or with other partners than what he had with his wife.
Sex addicts are known to have seven or more sex releases in a week on average. Even more important is that their minds are preoccupied with sexual thoughts to the extent that it interferes with their daily work and relationships.
They indulge in sex of whatever form — masturbation, pornography, extramarital affairs, among others, and feel guilty about it; but they are unable to stop. They are normally remorseful when caught and promise to stop only to relapse.
Most addicts will have sex to relieve stress. They do it as an escape from reality and if done with a partner, there is no love attached.
Their endeavour to engage in sexual intercourse can make them miss work, or even have sex in risky places that can land them in trouble.
Most of them risk contracting sexually transmitted diseases. They also regret about it but are unable to take charge of their bodily desires.
“He was caught with a 15-year-old schoolgirl in a hotel room; I know it is the sickness and I need your help, please doctor,” Jessica beseeched me with a sense of urgency.
"Tell these policemen to let him go and we can talk to the parents of the girl in private.”
Unfortunately, sex with a minor, anyone below the age of 18, is a criminal offence and thus all I could promise was to write a medical report and give evidence in court.
I had no power to secure a release for Aggrey from police cells. It had only been a week after I started attending to the couple.
They had just attended one session of sex therapy. Jessica had promised to support Aggrey through the journey to recovery from the addiction.
I realised she was living by her word when she sought her husband’s release.
Most victims of sexual assault and other forms of abuse in childhood can become sex addicts.
In other cases, the problem is biological, where there is an abnormal response to stressful life situations. In this case, one gets relief through sexual release.
In a few cases, people with abnormal hormones can get addicted to sex. Beyond psychological assessment, therefore, laboratory tests are needed to confirm that all is fine in the hormonal realm. Aggrey’s hormones were normal.
The court process took its course. I gave written and oral evidence as per my promise to Jessica. Unfortunately, Aggrey was found guilty of defiling a minor.
He is now in his second year of serving a seven-year jail term. It was yet another reminder of the risks sex addicts face, and the difficulty in treating the addiction. So far it has proved to be the most difficult problem to treat at the Sexology Clinic.