Sex addiction can be a severely debilitating and highly detrimental condition to people that suffer from it. While sex is a normal, fun and functional part of many relationships and marriages, sex addiction can be a real and highly complex problem to solve. An addiction generally happens when a person has lost the ability to stop or control their unwanted behaviours in-spite of dangerous and potentially harmful consequences to themselves or their loved ones. Sexual addictions can be further defined as a compulsive need for a sexual gratification which has in turn becomes habitual behaviour.
Take a look at the list below for some of the key warning signs of sexual addiction:
Sex addicts live double lives
The sex addict is able to mask their addiction by pretending to live a relatively normal life to outsiders. This entails maintaining a job, staying in a relationship and fulfilling daily responsibilities. However, behind closed doors, they feed their addiction through their compulsive need for sexual gratification. Essentially, sex addicts are two people with two distinct lives. They are able to keep their addiction part of their ‘secret’ life but only up to the point that it takes over all aspects of their whole life – the deterioration of their relationships, finances, careers and identities. The fact that a lot of sex addiction manifests through the internet also enables this to be kept secretive.
Sex addicts exploit other people for sex
Sex addicts are extremely skilled at manipulation, story-telling and empty promises. They will emotionally blackmail others in order to get what they want. Because of their constant need to satisfy their sexual urges, they will do whatever it takes to get their target to submit to their wishes.
Sex addicts lives move from crisis to crisis
Sex addicts are addicted to drama and their lives are always in crisis. It could be their job that is suffering, their finances, their relationships or their health; essentially life becomes unmanageable. It is this unmanageability which is the hallmark of sex addiction. The absolute obsession with sexual gratification leads to so much time spent planning the feeding of their addiction, engaging in the addiction and covering up for their addiction that there is no time left for anything else. One crisis unfolds after the other and the vicious cycle repeats itself.
Overly preoccupied on sexual gratification
The sex addict has an insatiable appetite for sexual gratification and relentlessly seeks it out. They remain hungry for the rush that sex gives them despite the negative consequences. This craving to engage in sexual activities takes over all aspects of their lives and leads to the deterioration and dysfunction of interpersonal relationships.
Sex addicts disregard the consequences of their actions
Even if their whole world starts to fall apart around them, sex addicts continue to feed their addiction. Their desire is all-consuming and they will do whatever it takes to satisfy the incessant and relentless urges to receive sexual gratification. They will lose friends, family members, money, jobs and aspects of their health and continue despite these losses. As with any addiction, they continue to engage in the compulsive behaviour despite severely negative consequences.
Sex addicts begin to want more and more extreme sex
As their addiction progresses, sex addicts start wanting increasing quantities of higher risk or extreme sexual behaviours and are unable to resist their impulses. They become obsessed with the intensity of sex, compounded by risk-taking behaviour and are never satisfied. Their urges are uncontrollable and typically manifest through engagement in sexual behaviours to a greater extremity and for longer than originally intended.
Sex addicts masturbate all the time
Sex addicts masturbate compulsively as part of their day-to-day routine. These individuals have a regular schedule and will masturbate at times during the morning, afternoon and night. They even do so when they are in a particular location or when something specific happens or when they experience a distressing emotion. This form of sexual self-stimulation is one of the most secretive and isolating. Binge masturbators find a secret location and hide themselves away for days often losing touch with the outside world.
Relationships are usually always in turmoil
Persistent sexual thoughts render the sex addict unable to maintain healthy or normal relationships. The addiction is characterised by an obsession with starting new romances, attracting different partners and being infatuated or in love, which leads to a trail of different relationships. These partnerships are always in turmoil because of the lies and deception which characterise addiction and the addict’s distorted view of love, romance and sex.
Sex addicts cannot control themselves
In spite of social consequences, financial consequences and even medical consequences, the addict is unable to resist their urges. There may have been several attempts to control, reduce or stop their behaviour all of which were unsuccessful. Sex addicts frequently cross addict onto substances or other detrimental behaviours that distract them from their underlying and repetitive thought patterns.
Sex addicts have a deeper self loathing
Sex addicts frequently experience feelings of guilt, shame and self-loathing. Their addiction may co-occur with anxiety or depression which increases their sense of self-deprecation. The inability to develop healthy, intimate relationships, coupled with loneliness and isolation leads to a deep sense of self-hatred.
Why do people become sex addicts?
In most cases sex addicts use sex as a means to cope or escape from emotional pain or trauma. They may also use sexual acts as an attempt to lessen their loneliness, boredom, stress, anxiety, depression or anger. Often, this is the result of childhood abuse or emotional neglect but not always.
If you or someone you know struggles with sex addiction, call the number at the top of this page for help now or visit our sex addiction treatment centre page here.