7 Symptoms of Sex Addiction

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The topic of sex addiction is not often understood by the general public. Many people might believe that those who are said to be sex addicts may just be perverted or lacking in self-control. However, sexual addiction is an actual medical condition not unlike drug or alcohol addiction. 

7 Symptoms of Sex Addiction

According to Psych Central, “While there is no official diagnosis for sex addiction, clinicians and researchers have attempted to define the disorder using criteria based on chemical dependency literature.” Their list of symptoms are as follows:drug or alcohol addiction.

 Symptom 1 : Overindulgence

“Frequently engaging in more sex and with more partners than intended.” This symptom can be tricky because some people are just naturally sexually active with many different partners. However, the key is the part that says “with more partners than intended.” This aspect of the symptom is easily noticed, particularly by the sex addict. The symptom also implies an escalation of sexual activity. Notice that it says “more sex with more partners.” This is an important distinction because a pattern will develop over time with those who are struggling with a sex addiction. It is an easy symptom for the addict to deny. However, if they are being honest with themselves, they will identify they have a problem.

 Symptom 2: Preoccupation

“Being preoccupied with or persistently craving sex; wanting to cut down and unsuccessfully attempting to limit sexual activity.” While it is true that some people have a stronger sex drive than others, sex addicts have a constant preoccupation with sexual thoughts and behaviors. The sex addict will persistently desire sex even while having a strong inner desire to cut back or limit sexual activity. A healthy person who simply has a strong sex drive can easily control sexual desires and activity.

 Symptom 3:  Obsessing

 “Thinking of sex to the detriment of other activities or continually engaging in excessive sexual practices despite a desire to stop.” Many people believe that men think about sex every minute of the day. Whether or not this is true, healthy people are able to carry on with their daily activities and responsibilities without sexual thoughts or activities getting in the way. Sex addicts allow those thoughts and activities to take over and neglect their responsibilities. Even when the addict desires to stop, they cannot.

  Symptom 4:  Compulsion

 “Spending considerable time in activities related to sex, such as cruising for partners or spending hours online visiting pornographic websites.” Make no mistake, healthy people love sex and sexual activities. However, a sex addict will allow sexual activities to take over their entire life. This will involve spending hours and hours of the day and night participating in sexually compulsive behaviors, including masturbation, pornography, sex with multiple partners, cyber sex, phone sex and frequenting strip clubs.

 Symptom 5:  Neglect

“Neglecting obligations such as work, school or family in pursuit of sex.” This symptom is actually a progression of Symptom 4. Spending hours and hours engaged in sexual activities will leave little time for any other aspects of life such as work, school, family or relationships. Those struggling with sex addiction will arrange their lives around their addiction. This means that everything else will naturally be neglected and eventually deteriorate.

 Symptom 6:  Insanity

“Continually engaging in the sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships or potential health risks.” Sex addiction can have some very serious implications. This symptom is one that is easy to identify because a healthy person will not engage in a behavior when faced with negative consequences, especially serious health risks. Some people may not understand how an addict could continue with the same activities knowing it is going to result in devastating consequences, but it is important to always remember that addicts are suffering from a disease.

 Symptom 7:  Irritability

“Escalating scope or frequency of sexual activity to achieve the desired effect, such as more frequent visits to prostitutes or more sex partners. Feeling irritable when unable to engage in the desired behavior.” When you think in terms of a drug addiction, this symptom is easy to understand. We all know that drug addicts must continually escalate the amount of drugs they are taking in order to get their desired fix. Well, it is the same way with sex addicts. Sexual addiction is just like any other addiction. The addict will become irritable when he is unable to engage in the compulsive behavior.

 Understanding the symptoms of sex addiction is important for health care professionals, counselors and spiritual advisors such as members of the clergy who all work with addicts to help them recover.


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