Addiction to sexual activities can be just as destructive as addiction to chemical substances.
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 Americans 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 chemical dependency, and untreated sexual addiction contributes to relapse to chemical use.
Sexual addicts not only endanger themselves but also put their loved ones at risk for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Patterns and examples of sexual addiction. Many of these activities are normal and acceptable – on their own. These are only examples that sex addicts may find to be a problem. See questionnaire below.
- Fantasy sex: neglecting commitments because of fantasy life, masturbation
- Seductive role sex: extramarital affairs (heterosexual or homosexual), flirting and seductive behavior
- Anonymous sex: engaging in sex with anonymous partners, having one night stands
- Paying for sex: paying prostitutes for sex, paying for sexually explicit phone calls
- Trading sex: receiving money or drugs for sex
- Voyeuristic sex: patronizing adult bookstores and strip shows, looking through windows of houses, having a collection of pornography at home or at work
- Exhibitionist sex: exposing oneself in public places or from the home or car, wearing clothes designed to expose
- Intrusive sex: touching others without permission, using position of power (eg, professional, religious) to sexually exploit another person, rape
- Pain exchange: causing or receiving pain to enhance sexual pleasure
- Object sex: masturbating with objects, cross-dressing to add to sexual pleasure, using fetishes as part of sexual rituals, having sex with animals
- Sex with children: forcing sexual activity on a child, watching child pornography
Sexual addiction test
- Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
- Have you subscribed to or regularly purchased sexually explicit magazines?
- Did your parents have trouble with sexual behavior?
- Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
- Do you feel that your sexual behavior is not normal?
- Does your spouse (or significant other) ever worry or complain about your sexual behavior?
- Do you have trouble stopping your sexual behavior when you know it is inappropriate?
- Do you ever feel bad about your sexual behavior?
- Has your sexual behavior ever created problems for you or your family?
- Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior that you did not like?
- Have you ever worried about people finding out about Your sexual activities?
- Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
- Are any of your sexual activities against the law?
- Have you made promises to yourself to quit some aspect of your sexual behavior?
- Have you made efforts to quit a type of sexual behavior and failed?
- Do you have to hide some aspects of your sexual behavior from others?
- Have you attempted to stop some parts of your sexual activities?
- Have you ever felt degraded by your sexual behavior?
- Has sex been a way for you to escape your Problems?
- When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterward?
- Have you felt the need to discontinue a certain form of sexual activity?
- Has your sexual activity interfered with your family life?
- Have you been sexual with minors?
- Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire?
- Do you ever-think that your sexual desire is stronger than you are?
If you answered Yes to ‘some’ of these questions it may help to read more at Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (see below link)
If you said yes to several of these; this would strongly suggest sexual addiction.