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
Secretive, dangerous or inappropriate sexual behaviors that you don’t want anyone to know about, although someone may know about them and does not say anything.
Using sex to “cope” with problems or needing more sex to feel “normal” or okay
Uncontrollable, compulsive sexual behaviors or thoughts
Feelings of shame or self-hatred about sexual behaviors
Self-worth or happiness is tied to sex
Frequently engaging in more sex and with more partners than you intended.
Preoccupied by or persistently craving or desiring sex more than one thinks they should; wanting to cut down and unsuccessfully attempting to limit sexual activity.
Thinking of sex all the time to the point that it hurts your ability to engage in other activities worthy of your time or continually engaging in excessive sexual practices despite a desire to stop
Spending more time than you really wanted to or intended in activities related to sex, such as cruising for partners or spending hours online visiting pornographic Web sites.
Sexual behaviors lead to neglecting important aspects of life such as work, school or family
Inability to stop engaging in the sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships, potential health risks, or legal ramifications.
Needing more intense forms of sexual behavior to achieve the same benefit or feeling as before, such as having sex with a prostitute or going to a massage parlor.
Feelings of irritability when unable to engage in sexual behavior over a period of time
Other Signs and Symptoms:
Dependence – Dependence is when a stimulus is needed or relied upon to function at a consistent level (ie, needing sex to feel calm). If the stimulus is withdrawn other symptoms might manifest due to the need for the stimulus.
Withdrawal – Withdrawal is when a stimulus is taken away and negative symptoms arise due to the need for the stimulus. For example, when an addict does not get their drugs for an extended period of time, they may have physical reactions. 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