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Teen Sex Addiction and Sexual Abuse

Teen Sex Addiction and Sexual Abuse | Paradigm Malibu

Often, when there is sexual abuse in a family home, teens end up expressing their pain in other ways, particularly if he or she is unable to talk about the abuse. For instance, a teen might engage in drug use or drinking as a way to push the pain away. A teen might leave the home to find safety and end up homeless. Or many female teens who have experience sexual abuse might become pregnant due to promiscuity.

 

For some teens, in addition to the above circumstances, a problem with sex addiction might arise. One reason for this is that sexual addiction often arises out of an environment in which shame and secrecy accompany sexuality. A teen sexual addiction might actually begin in childhood, particularly if that adolescent experienced a sexual or physical trauma. Even if a child or teen has a sexual experience that is pleasurable, but for some reason, was a violation of trust that too can create a sexual addiction. For instance, if a young boy of 11 years old is molested by his female, 17-year-old babysitter, there might be feelings of both pleasure and shame due to nature of the relationship.

 

A sexual or porn addiction can easily develop as a result of such experiences because sex releases chemicals in the brain that lead to feelings of pleasure. These feelings can become the trigger point for wanting more and more of that activity. The American Psychological Association (APA) now recognizes almost any behavior that becomes compulsive and that initiates the cycle of the brain’s reward system as an addiction. According to the APA, certain behaviors, such as gambling and shopping and forms of sexual activity, can produce the same high or rush in the brain, which is similar to the use of drugs.

 

Furthermore, the forbidden nature of sexuality only feeds secretly becoming obsessed with excessive sexual activity, porn, and/or fantasy. An addiction to sex and porn often develops when sex is regarded as shameful, secretive, or abusive. This sort of compulsion begins when there is a loss of control and an adolescent spends large amounts of time engaging in sexual-related activity to the point where he or she is neglecting social, academic, or familial responsibilities. You might find that an addiction is present if you see the following behavior in a teen:

  • Obsessive thoughts about sex that disrupt functioning at school, home or at the work place.
  • Inability to refrain from viewing pornography or engaging in sexual behavior
  • Avoiding time with friends or other typical teen activities to instead spend time on the computer or have sexual encounters.

 

Furthermore, some female teens who have a history of sexual abuse and trauma might be fascinated with the image of the sexualized female, which is also true for most of the general public. In the movies, television shows, commercials, and on billboards, women are more often than men portrayed in a sexual manner. Music videos, song lyrics, on the Internet, and in video games, the feminine image is seen as sexualized. This is also having its effect on young girls and adolescent females and may be contributing to a developing sexual addiction.

 

In addition to the unhealthy sexuality in these young girls, a report published by the American Psychological Association (APA) indicates that mental illnesses are linked to this type of portrayal of women. These include eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression.

 

In most forms of the media, a certain standard of physical beauty is heavily emphasized, sending a particular message to children and teens of the model of beauty to emulate. Although research on the correlation between the sexualization of females and mental illness has been conducted across all age groups, it is worthy of noting that the particular age group that the media often focuses on is young adult women – female adolescents.

 

It’s essential for parents, caregivers, or even teens themselves to contact a mental health professional if there is any indication of sexual abuse, trauma, or sexual addiction.

 

 

 

Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.

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