Sex Addiction

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Sex Addiction: Definition

This term defines an advanced intimacy syndrome described by systematic sex-related acts and thoughts. Similar to other kinds of dependence, it causes a negative effect on an individual and their closest family, especially with the advancement of this habit. Constant craving for this obsession destroys their ability towards maintaining proper relationships at work and even in other public places. There are also other terms that describe an obsession towards, which include compulsive sex disorder or hypersexuality. This condition is non-gender biased – in men, it is referred to as satyriasis, while in females it is known as nymphomania.

The Reality of Sex Addiction

Yes, it is real. Most people consider sex addiction to be a joke. But the underlying truth is that sexual addiction is real and some stories will show how sex addiction caused immeasurable damage. A sex addict in some studies has exhibited similar behavior to those of a drug addict. So, it would be fair to state that extensive sexual conduct leads to sex addiction.

Causes of Sex Addiction

There is a possibility that sexual addiction is as a result of biochemical abnormality. While sexual disorders are believed to be caused by problems/issues in the brain, the initial triggers are at times found in the individual’s background. Someone who has unwarranted sexual behavior may have been raised in dysfunctional families.

Sexual conduct/activity usually activates the brain’s reward system which causes one to feel a sense of satisfaction. As a result, the person will feel compelled to repeat the activity again and again in order to feel that sense of pleasure. Note that someone who is obsessed with sex will forgo responsibilities, such as family or work, in order to achieve that sensation.

Early exposure to sexual habits could also lead to an obsession with sex. Having a traumatic, undetected experience while growing up can lead to intimacy addiction. Poor role models have also been associated with the disorder.  If a person grows up with a parent who is a poor role model, he or she may later emulate that parent’s unhealthy behavior.

Is Porn Addiction the Same as Sexual Addiction?

Many people believe that sex and porn addiction are the same disorder expressed through different outlets. Even though the sexual nature of both disorders seems similar, these two disorders have fundamental differences that show they are two separate illnesses.

Sex addiction, by definition, is the activity that takes place with a partner. Porn addicts merely seek to satisfy themselves by watching pornography videos or reading magazines. Sex addicts are always looking for new partners or new avenues to express their sexual desires and fantasies. Porn addiction is similar to an addiction to cigarettes, while sex addiction is believed to be a compulsive/obsessive disorder.

The type of people who suffer from the two conditions is also different. Sexual addicts are social people on the prowl for their next partner. People addicted to porn are likely to spend most of their time on the computer. They tend to be reclusive and often do not want to interact with others.

10 Types of Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction is a field that requires a strong understanding. There are various forms of activities that are involved in sex acts, and it is important to know which impact you the most in order to get the help that fits your unique situation. Sex dependence is not merely an addiction; people are addicted to different forms of sexual behavior.  These include:

  • Fantasy Sex
    A sexual desire based on an illusion that you imagine or envision in your mind.
  • Anonymous Sex
    Also known as risk sex encounters, anonymous sex is where someone engages in sexual activity with strangers.
  • Paying For Sex
    Sexual activity where someone purchases sexual services or engages in sex for monetary gain.
  • Seductive Sexual Role
    Persuading, appealing, charming or manipulating others for sexual contact, the seductive sexual role is also known simply as seduction.
  • Trading Sex
    Sex is treated as a commodity and is either paid for using money, goods, or connections.
  • Voyeuristic Sex
    People who engage in voyeuristic sex activities become aroused by watching others engage in sex.
  • Exhibitionistic Sex
    Sexual desire that is based on a person’s body parts being on display; this can include looking at pictures or videos, posing for pictures or videos, or engaging in sex while others are watching.
  • Intrusive Sex
    A sexual fantasy where arousal happens when someone violates boundaries and there are no repercussions; involves touching others without their consent and is usually done by people in authoritative positions.
  • Pain Exchange
    Also known as sadomasochism, or S&M, pain exchange is where sexual desire occurs from giving or receiving pain.
  • Exploitative Sex
    Participants of exploitative sex find arousal in exploiting vulnerable people for their sexual gain; pedophilia and rape are forms of exploitative sex.

Signs, Symptoms and Effects of a Sexual Addiction

There are tell-tale signs that someone is addicted to sex.  Sex addiction symptoms include signs like insomnia, drug use, abusive language, headaches, depression, anxiety and many other underlying factors. Immobilization is another symptom, as sex addicts prefer to stay indoors in order to engage in sexual activities. Sex addicts will struggle to form/maintain healthy relationships. Due to fear of abandonment, they may stay in abusive relationships.

So what are the effects of sex addiction on people? Studies show that 45% of males and 38% of females with sex addictions are likely to contract venereal diseases. Another side effect is an unwanted pregnancy, with 70% of women having an unplanned pregnancy. Someone who suffers from sex addiction will likely experience a decline in their personal relationships and health, a decrease in productivity and may even develop an STD.

Am I Addicted to Sex?

If you need to know if you are addicted to sex, look for the signs; for example, promising yourself to stop engaging in sexual activities, but instead continuing those behaviors. If you hang out with girls or guys who are addicted to sex, you may soon realize you are following suit. If you exhibit some signs and symptoms of a sexual addict, then it would be wise to seek sexual addiction treatment.

Sexual Addiction Treatment

Sex addiction can be treated through rehab and therapy. Self-group organizations, residential treatment programs and prescription medications are all sex addiction treatment methods. Treatment includes treating withdrawal symptoms and speaking with a social worker or psychologist.  They will help the sex addict discover the causes and effects of their addiction and come up with a treatment plan. At these rehab centers, specialists teach addicts how to get over their addiction. They also teach family members and friends about how to help the addict.


Sex addiction is becoming more and more prevalent in our modern age. It is important to understand that sex addiction causes addicts physical and emotional distress. It can also have large impacts on an addict’s partner, who may feel alone, depressed and alienated.  Sexual addiction destroys relationships.

Therefore, if you relate to these symptoms or your loved one is an addict do not hesitate to seek professional help.