How to recognize the signs of sexual addiction
Asking the right questions may uncover serious problems
Addiction to sexual activities can be just as destructive as addiction to drugs, alcohol or medications. Sex addicts may jeopardize their marriage and family relationships, allow their job performance to deteriorate, and endanger themselves and their partner through multiple sexual exposures. Even though they realize the consequences, they cannot control their compulsions without appropriate treatment.
For most people, sex enhances the quality of life. However, about 3% to 6% of people have sexual addiction. Through their addiction, they may injure themselves physically, experience psychological distress, lose their livelihood, and ruin meaningful relationships.
Sexual addiction often coexists with substance abuse and chemical dependency, and untreated sexual addiction may contribute to relapse to chemical use.
These patients not only endanger themselves but also put their loved ones at risk for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Criteria for sexual addictive disorder
Having three of these criteria defines sex addiction, and some symptoms of the disturbance must have persisted for at least 1 month or have occurred repeatedly over a longer period.
Ask yourself. Has there been?:-
1. Frequent engaging in the behavior to a greater extent or over a longer period than intended
2. Persistent desire for the behavior or one or more unsuccessful efforts to reduce or control the behavior
3. Much time spent in activities necessary for the behavior, engaging in the behavior, or recovering from its effects
4. Frequent preoccupation with the behavior or preparatory activities
5. Frequent engaging in the behavior when expected to fulfil occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations
6. Giving up or limiting important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the behavior
7. Continuation of the behavior despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, financial, psychological, or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the behavior
8. A need to increase the intensity or frequency of the behavior to achieve the desired effect, or diminished effect with continued behavior of the same intensity
9. Restlessness or irritability if unable to engage in the behavior
A list of the forms of sexual addiction was made by PJ Carnes. These are:-
Patterns and examples of sexual addiction
1. Fantasy sex: neglecting commitments because of fantasy life, masturbation
2. Seductive role sex: extramarital affairs (heterosexual or homosexual), flirting and seductive behavior
3. Anonymous sex: engaging in sex with anonymous partners, having one night stands
4. Paying for sex: paying prostitutes for sex, paying for sexually explicit phone calls
5. Trading sex: receiving money or drugs for sex
6. Voyeuristic sex: patronizing adult bookstores and strip shows, looking through windows of houses, having a collection of pornography at home or at work
7. Exhibitionist sex: exposing oneself in public places or from the home or car, wearing clothes designed to expose
8. Intrusive sex: touching others without permission, using position of power (eg, professional, religious) to sexually exploit another person, rape
9. Pain exchange: causing or receiving pain to enhance sexual pleasure
10. Object sex: masturbating with objects, crossdressing to add to sexual pleasure, using fetishes as part of sexual rituals, having sex with animals
11. Sex with children: forcing sexual activity on a child, watching child pornography