Sex addiction is similar to those with other types of behavioral addiction, the sex addict exhibits certain patterns of behavior that can be identified. Care must be taken, however, in labeling someone as a sex addict because of societal attitudes towards such a condition. Not only do these attitudes present a barrier to rehabilitation, they are often reinforced as a good thing, particularly among males. If you, or someone you care for, may be suffering from sex addiction the best way to proceed is to contact a mental health professional for an evaluation.
Symptoms of Sex Addiction
Sex addiction, like other behavioral addictions, has certain conditions that are exhibited. According to various studies of sex addiction, individuals who demonstrate three to five of the following criteria fit the profile for, and may be diagnosed with, sexual addiction.
- Continuing failure to resist impulses to engage in specific sexual behavior
- Continuing the behavior despite knowing the negative social, financial, physical and psychological consequences
- Engagement in sexual behavior to the point where it precludes the fulfillment of occupational, academic, domestic, or social requirements
- Engaging in those sexual behaviors to an increasingly greater extent, or participating in such activities over a longer time
- Giving up other activities because of the behavior
- Inability to stop, reduce, or control sexual behaviors
- Inordinate preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities
- Intrusive time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences
- Symptoms of increased tolerance – the need to increase the intensity, frequency, number, or risk level of behaviors to achieve the desired effect
- Symptoms of withdrawal – distress, anxiety, restlessness, or irritability if unable to engage in the behavior
While the pattern of addiction may have the same criteria as other behavioral disorders, the types of behaviors may vary. There are, however, certain behaviors that regularly manifested themselves. These are:
- Anonymous sex – Compulsive, high-risk sex, with strangers
- Exhibitionism – inappropriate exposing of oneself
- Fantasy sex – behaviors ranging from being obsessed with romance to obsession, to
- Intrusive sex – Violating boundaries in order to achieve arousal including obscene phone calls and internet activity
- Seductive role sex – usually in pursuit of power and conquest
- Voyeurism – including pornography, strip shows, and peeping
At The Way Out, we understand that behavioral addictions are just as devastating and debilitating as substance addiction. We are here to help. If you believe help is needed, please fill out our anonymous questionnaire, and we will provide you with the information you need to begin recovery.