For some, self-medicating comes in the form of video games, shopping, gambling, work, exercise, food, social media, pornography, and sex. These types of addictions are referred to as process addictions or behavioral addictions. And just as in substance use disorders, process addictions are often the result of knowingly or unknowingly self-medicating a mental health condition (anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, etc) or trauma.
Sex and pornography are no different.
If you've listened to Wired For Addiction® Founder & CEO, Dr. Evelyn Higgins', former nationally syndicated radio show or TEDx Talk, you've heard her say that "we are not healthy one day and sick the next. Rather, it's all of the living that we do in between that brings us to ether end of that spectrum." Addiction is the same way -- we're not healthy one day and addicted the next. Rather, there is a progression and a grey area that can make it difficult to self-determine if you've developed an addiction and when it started.
In short, an addiction is something that results in negative consequences in one's life. These consequences can involve employment, relationships, freedom, housing, hygiene, and self-image. And despite these negative consequences, an individual will continue those behaviors. The grey area in the slippery slope of addiction is recognizing when a recreational activity becomes a means of self-mediating or coping.
Again, sex and pornography are no different.
In Sex, Love, and Addiction with Dr. Rob, Dr. Higgins discusses sex addiction and biology's role in both the disease and its recovery.