Sex Addictions: The Causes, Signs, and Symptoms

Sex addiction is characterized by persistent and escalating sexual thoughts and behaviors that negatively impact a person’s life. In most cases, people with a sex addiction avoid true intimacy, by forming little or no attachment to sexual partners.
Author:
Publish date:
Sex addiction, sex addiction symptoms, sex addiction signs, inked magazine, tattooed couples

An estimated 3 to 6% of U.S. adults suffer from sex addiction. This percentage translates to 7.4-14.7 million adults. Sex addiction-- also called hypersexual disorder or compulsive sexual behavior-- is a type of process addiction. As the addiction furthers, the pursuit of sex is prioritized over family, career, and personal health and safety. Shame, denial, despair, and confusion often overwhelms a sex addict. Similar to other compulsive behaviors, sex addiction involves the set-up for a destructive spiral.

Sex addiction, sex addiction symptoms, sex addiction signs, inked magazine, tattooed couples

The pattern of sexual fantasy and behavior causes marked distress or significant impairment in one’s personal, family, social, work, and financial life. A common misconception is that someone with a strong libido, or someone with multiple sexual partners, must have a sex addiction. This is not true. What sets people with a strong sex drive apart from those with a sex addiction, is that sexually addicted people crave the risky pursuit, gaining little pleasure from the sexual act itself. Similar to that of an addict for drugging and drinking, they rely on their compulsive behaviors, in this case sexual compulsive behavior, as an escape from emotional pain, and as a way to cope with stress. People addicted to sex often manipulate and need to control sexual partners.

Sex addiction, sex addiction symptoms, sex addiction signs, inked magazine, tattooed couples

Signs & Symptoms Include:

  • Sexual thoughts to the point of obsession

Being preoccupied with sex, to the point of obsession, overtakes a sex addict's life. You have lost control of your sexual urges, fantasies, and behaviors. Yes, you’re masturbating on your work breaks.

  • Negative life consequences related to compulsive sexual behaviors.

This can include ruined relationships, trouble at work, financial problems, and a loss of interest in nonsexual activities

Sex addiction, sex addiction symptoms, sex addiction signs, inked magazine, tattooed couples
  • The individual has multiple sexual partners or cheats on partners.

Living a double life is a dangerous sign of a sex addiction. Your relationships are always messed up… key word “always.” They may tend to end because of something related to sex. This includes cheating, but can also include the request for to play out an “insane” fantasy.

  • You exploit others for your own sexual desires

While you can be a perfectly caring and compassionate individual, when it comes to sex, those with a sex addiction couldn’t care about who they are screwing. They are objects, whom you don’t care what happens when you are done, and will do anything to get them to do what you want.

  • Your kink needs to be fed more and more

Most people have a kink… even if they are too shy to share. Whether or not you like to be tied up, or walk your partner on a leash isn’t the issue. What becomes the issue, is if your kink becomes everything, and you have to dive deeper in that world to get off. It can start as fun, but can wind up as something deeply destructive in the future. 

Sex addiction, sex addiction symptoms, sex addiction signs, inked magazine, tattooed couples

There are different types of sex addictions

These harmful sexual behaviors can manifest into a wide range of compulsive behaviors, including:

  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Multiple affairs
  • Anonymous sex
  • Obsessive dating
  • Compulsive use of pornography
  • Risky or unsafe sex
  • Cybersex
  • Exhibitionism
  • Voyeurism
  • Prostitution or use of prostitutes
Sex addiction, sex addiction symptoms, sex addiction signs, inked magazine, tattooed couples

Causes

Abuse, neglect and other forms of trauma during childhood are often at the root of sex addiction. Early traumatic experiences can lead to a deep-rooted sense of unworthiness and efforts to block or numb painful feelings. According to the Recovery Ranch Treatment Center, “other potential contributing factors include inconsistent parental nurturing and support, lack of parental role modeling of healthy, adaptive behaviors, and early exposure to sexual material or experiences.”

Sex addiction, sex addiction symptoms, sex addiction signs, inked magazine, tattooed couples

Getting Help

An estimated 40 to 60% of individuals with sex addiction meet the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders. Effective treatment for sexual addiction requires a multifaceted approach that addresses trauma and co-occurring disorders. It will be hard, but worth the recovery. Enjoying sex, free of being tied from your addiction, will be the most orgasmic thing you will do.