Hypersexuality disorder is when a person can’t control their sexual thoughts and behaviors. One way to attempt to gain control is to identify and avoid triggers, or things that make you want to enact those behaviors.
To understand how to identify a hypersexuality trigger, first, you need to understand what a trigger is and what it can look like in your daily life.
What Does ‘Triggered’ Mean?
For people with a history of trauma, a trigger reminds them of that trauma. This trigger can make them feel like they’re experiencing the trauma all over again. “Trigger” is also used in the context of people with disorders like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and anxiety.
Scientists are uncertain how triggers form. Some think the human brain stores traumatic memories differently than non-traumatic ones. Some think the brain may interpret memories of past traumatic events as happening in the moment.
Memories of traumatic events form triggers. They can cause a person to feel the same way they felt during the original trauma. Triggers can cause an emotional reaction before a person realizes they’re upset. And often, triggers have a strong sensory connection or a connection to an ingrained habit.
Understanding Hypersexuality Disorder
Hypersexuality disorder, more commonly referred to as “sex addiction,” is a preoccupation with sex. It can look like sexual fantasies, excessive porn watching, or even compulsive sexual urges. These behaviors negatively impact relationships, health, job, and other areas of life.
Someone with hypersexuality disorder may feel compelled to engage in masturbation, cybersex, sex with multiple partners, pornography consumption, risky sexual behaviors, and paying for sex. These behaviors become difficult to manage and disrupt the person’s life.
Signs of hypersexuality disorder include:
- Repeatedly engaging in sexual behavior with no regard to harm to yourself or others
- Excessive time spent consumed by, planning for, or engaged in sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors
- Repeatedly engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors in response to your moods or life events
- Unsuccessfully attempting to control or reduce your sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors
Like other disorders, people with hypersexuality can experience internal or external triggers. Typically, hypersexuality triggers are either a strong desire to escape a feeling or a strong reminder of the pleasure experienced through sexual fantasy or activity.
An internal trigger comes from within the person who experiences it. It’s a memory, physical sensation, or emotion. Anger, sadness, loneliness, boredom, a particular fantasy, or past trauma can all be internal triggers. When it comes to hypersexuality disorder, the desire to escape a feeling is an internal trigger.
External triggers, on the other hand, come from the environment. They can be a person, a place, or a situation. A movie that reminds someone of a specific experience like a breakup, a particular time of day, other people, the internet, substance use, certain sounds, or smells can all be external triggers. These external triggers can create emotional discomfort or remind someone with hypersexuality disorder of past sexual pleasure.
Tools to Cope with Hypersexuality Triggers
Someone with hypersexuality disorder can experience hypersexuality triggers daily. The following are some ways to cope with those triggers.
While you probably can’t avoid all triggers, you likely can avoid some. If a specific location or social activity is a hypersexuality trigger, avoid them. For example, if getting drinks at a bar is an external trigger, avoid that activity.
Stick to Your Plan
Coping with hypersexuality triggers will be difficult. That’s why it’s essential to attend therapy sessions and take medications as directed. Sticking to the plan may be difficult at first, but the longer you do it, the easier it will be.
Sexual fantasies or behaviors may be how you usually cope with stress or uncomfortable emotions. Instead, find a healthy way to cope with those triggers. Picking up a new hobby or finding some recreational activities you enjoy can be good outlets.
There are many support groups available to help you on your healing journey. Your doctor or therapist can likely recommend groups in your area or online.
Exercise and meditation
Exercise and meditation for sex addiction offer mental health benefits, like improved confidence and a natural mood boost. Both can be positive distractions from hypersexuality triggers. They also can improve the symptoms of many mental illnesses.
Focus on Your Goal
Keep your goals in mind. Recovery will be difficult, and it will take time. Think about why you started the healing journey in the first place. Let that drive you.
Triggers are Everywhere
Because hypersexuality triggers can be internal and external, some may be easier to avoid than others. Not every person with sex addiction has the same triggers. It’s essential to identify the triggers that affect you.
And if you constantly feel triggered or like triggers are unavoidable, it’s best to seek help.
Begin Again institute Can Help
Begin Again Institute specializes in helping men heal their addictive behaviors and rebuild their relationships. We offer a safe space to work toward healing sex addiction and finding healthy ways to cope with hypersexuality triggers.
Our 14-Day Men’s Intensive uses various therapies to help you heal. We also offer an aftercare program consisting of weekly support sessions to help you continue your progress.
You don’t have to undergo your healing journey alone. Contact Begin Again Institute if you need help coping with your hypersexuality triggers or if you’d like more information about our programs.