The Importance of Childhood Trauma

Can sex become a disorder? Having too much of anything will only bring unnecessary problems. Sex addiction, or otherwise known as Hyper-Sexuality, is a diagnosis for those who have an “excessive” amount of sex. Nowadays, we live in a world full of illnesses and disorders that are yet to be discovered and some that are overlooked. As we grow as a society, we create stereotypes of illnesses such as Clinical Depression, Mood disorders, Dementia, Eating disorders, amongst others. Another that seems to remain controversial and misunderstood is sexual compulsive behaviors. Many people see Sexual Compulsive Behaviors as excuses to behave a certain way or think a certain way, but the reality of it, is that is a very serious mental disorder that if not treated immediately can cause some serious effects on the people that are consumed by them and the people who are around them. Something that is known about sexual compulsive behaviors is that there are certain impulsive that can emotionally and mentally damage a person and cause them to act on these behaviors. The three major causes of sexual compulsive behaviors are trauma during childhood, insecure personal relationships, and improper or undeveloped coping mechanisms.

Sexual compulsive behaviors have been around as long as many of the other disorders. However, there are certain specifics surrounding the issue that makes it more controversial, and therefore harder to diagnose and treat. The main argument is that it is an excuse for men that makes it okay for them to have affairs. This argument has been made partly because of certain movie stars and professional athletes, who use “sex addiction” as a way to save their careers and their relationships. However, this argument isn’t attributable to this subject because of the terminology that is used. The term “sex addiction” is not accurate for many reasons. When using the term, “addiction” one must be careful, because there is technical definitions of the word that need to be observed; these definitions are determined in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Addictions have a characteristic of physical dependency; this is not true with sexual compulsive behaviors. Using the term sexual compulsive behaviors is more appropriate because it addresses the symptoms that some term as “sex addiction” but use a term that is more effective in describing what it really is and how it should be treated. A person uses sexual compulsive behaviors because they lack in some other area, such a coping mechanism, or because they have insecure personal attachments. Something has to cause these behaviors, they aren’t caused by any chemical like drugs and alcohol.

Another major argument that arises from this subject, is the fact that is in our human nature to have the need to reproduce and have sex. This makes the treatment to this problem impossible to understand, because treating it, would mean that we would have to go against our human nature and cut out every form of sex. This is another reason why “sex addiction” is incorrect terminology, because sex isn’t hurtful to oneself, however it does become a problem when it starts to affect a person’s life in detrimental ways. It only becomes a problem when it is out of control. Its normal for a certain amount of people to have a much higher sex drive then other, and its completely healthy to have a relationship with multiple partners. However, the problem comes when sex is needed for affection, validation and emotional purposes. Only when it gets to that point, it would be considered unhealthy, because people should have secure relationships and helpful coping mechanism that can help them with their feelings. Just like many other compulsive behaviors, sexual compulsive behaviors can be treated, just not with the stereotypical “rehab”. Intensive psychotherapy is however, a more effective form of treatment for someone who is having these urges and needs that are causing serious problems in their life. That is why psychologists and people alike should not overlook sexual compulsive behaviors. It is an issue that needs to be addressed and researched further, because it is real, and it does have serious consequences that it causes.

One major incident that can cause sexual compulsive behaviors can sometimes be childhood trauma. Hall comments on the importance of childhood trauma, “links between trauma and problematic sexual behaviors have been widely written about within psychological literature”. Psychologists realize the importance of a person’s childhood. During the younger stages of a person’s life, they are forming ideas and habits that will be carried on with them into adulthood. When trauma is experienced by a child, it can have very serious impacts on their future. Paula Hall notes, “A child who does not receive its needs for attention, soothing, stimulation, affection, and validation ay find the consequences structurally written into their developing brain”. Like Hall says, childhood trauma seems to have a devastating effect on the brain of the child. There are many different ways a child can react to trauma, including turning to sexual compulsive behaviors. Research has shown that 83% of sex addicts were sexually abused as children. Stephen B. Levine did a study of people with these behaviors and the different levels that people can exhibit. There was one man in particular that Levine said, “His pattern seemed to stem from his problematic relationship with his mother”. Parents, and people who are close to children have the largest role on their development. When there is trauma, especially sexual trauma, the effects are inimical and extremely destructive on the child. When this kind of trauma is experienced, many of the times the child does not receive proper treatment and therapy to recover in as healthy of a way as possible, and it has lasting effects throughout life. Sexual compulsive behaviors are seen many times, especially with children who experience sexual trauma by someone who was close to them.

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The importance of childhood trauma. (2022, Jun 28). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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