Sexual addiction can be viewed as an adaptive attempt to regulate mood and tolerate stressors through the abuse of intensely stimulating sexual fantasy and behavior. It is believed that sexual addiction is a dysfunctional adult response. Is sexual addiction a response to innate personality, character or emotional regulatory deficits, as well as a reaction to early attachment disorders, abuse and trauma?

How to diagnose a sex addict:

Professionals must first rule out concurrent drug abuse, as well as those major mental health disorders like bipolar, obsessive compulsive disorder and adult attention deficit disorder, all of which have hypersexual or impulsive sexual behavior as a potential symptom. Some individuals may have both.

Symptoms of a sexual addiction:

  • Chronic, obsessive sexual thoughts and fantasies
  • Relations with multiple partners on a frequent basis, especially with strangers
  • Preoccupation with having sex, even when it interferes with daily life, productivity, work performance, etc.
  • Inability to stop compulsive sexual behaviors or restrain sexual activity
  • Putting oneself or others in danger due to sexual behavior
  • Engaging in illegal sexual activity with prostitutes, minors, or children
  • Need for dominance and control in sexual liaisons
  • Feeling remorse or guilt after sexual episodes
  • Negative personal or professional consequences due to sexual behavior
  • Using sex to escape stress and other problems of life
  • Returning often to a sex behavior and seeking more intense experience
  • Lying to family, co-workers, friends and others to hide sexual activity
  • Constant thoughts of sex
  • Committing illegal sexual acts

Combinations of obsessive behavior include:

  • pursuit of casual or non-intimate sex
  • pornography
  • compulsive masturbation
  • romantic intensity
  • objectified partner sex

Where to get help:

  • Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous 646-703-0048
  • Society for Advancement of Sexual Health 706-356-7031
  • Sexual Recovery Institute 877-959-6071