Definition of Sex Addiction
Sexual addiction is when an individual has an increased desire for sexual activity that progresses over time to possible compulsive sexual acts such as the ones in the following list. An individual who has sexual addiction may not exhibit all the behaviors listed below.
Actions that may be involved in sexual addiction
Compulsive use of pornography
Risky or unsafe sex
Actions that are illegal that may be involved in progressed sexual addiction
Prostitution or use of prostitutes
Possible Signs and Symptoms
Recoveryranch.com list the following signs and symptoms:
Secretive or Dangerous Sexual Behaviors
Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors
Using Sex to “Cope” With Problems or Needing More Sex to Feel “Normal”
Uncontrollable, Compulsive Sexual Behaviors or Thoughts
Feelings of Shame or Self-Hatred About Sexual Behaviors
Self-Worth or Happiness Tied to Sex
Frequently engaging in more sex and with more partners than intended.
Being preoccupied with or persistently craving sex; wanting to cut down and unsuccessfully attempting to limit sexual activity.
Thinking of sex to the detriment of other activities or continually engaging in excessive sexual practices despite a desire to stop.
Spending considerable time in activities related to sex, such as cruising for partners or spending hours online visiting pornographic Web sites.
Neglecting obligations such as work, school or family in pursuit of sex.
Continually engaging in the sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships or potential health risks.
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.
Other Signs and Symptoms:
Dependence – Dependence is when a stimulus is needed or relied upon to function at a consistent level. If the stimulus is withdrawn other symptoms might manifest due to the need for the stimulus.
Withdrawal – Withdrawal is when a stimulus is withdrawn and symptoms begin to become present based on the need for the stimulus. For example, when an opiate addict has increased pain a form of withdrawal when they stop taking opiates. Other symptoms of withdrawal for drug addiction may include chills, shaking, decreased ability to sleep, restlessness, anxiety, etc. Withdrawal symptoms for sexual addiction are not usually as intense as drug addiction, but might include irritability, agitation, depressed mood, etc.
Sex Addiction is not listed as a true diagnosis in the DSM-5. Below are sources for arguments for and against sex addiction being a real mental health disorder.
Arguments For Sexual Addiction
Arguments Against Sexual Addiction