How to know if you’re a sex addict? Hmm… that’s a tricky one.
So you like sex a lot? Great. That’s good! Loving sex a lot isn’t something to be embarrassed about, you know. I mean, come on, let’s be real, sex is fucking awesome! But maybe lately you’ve realized that you’ve been having problems because of your sexual urges.
Maybe you really love your girlfriend, but she caught you having sex with your new neighbor. Or perhaps you were up for a promotion and all of sudden you got fired because you were caught jerking off in your office. And now you’re starting to wonder, what if there’s something wrong with you? Or worse, you know you have a problem, and you’re looking for articles like this one to try and prove your worst fears wrong?
It might take you a while for you to admit it to yourself but acknowledging it is always the first step. Whether you already know that you have a problem or you’re just starting to wonder about it, the mere fact that you’re here willing to go through all my blabbing proves that you wanna know once and for all what your problem is and what you can do about it.
First, answer these questions:
- Do you feel powerless over how you act sexually?
- Is your life in ruins because of your sexual choices?
- Do you feel shame, embarrassment, or even self-loathing over your sexual acts?
- Do you promise yourself you’ll change but can’t keep it?
- Have so many sex thoughts that you get so preoccupied with it?
If you said “yes” to any of these questions, maybe you’re dealing with a problem called “sex addiction.”
What is “sex addiction”?
Hypersexuality or sex addiction can refer to a range of sexual behaviors that are done in excess and causes a “dysfunction” in an individual’s life. These include actions that “significantly impact one’s life in a negative way.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-5) currently does not list sex addiction as a diagnosable condition yet. However, research indicates that sex addiction is similar in development to a chemical addiction like alcohol addiction (drinking addict) or nicotine addiction (smoking addict).
The Difference Between Healthy Sex and Sexual Addiction
Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate “healthy sex” from “sex addiction.” You see, the challenging thing here is that “sex” at its core is healthy for us. We should all have a libido that makes us desire sex. And it’s okay to like sex a lot. The line just gets drawn when you want sex a little bit too much to the point that it’s sex that you care about and not the other person.
Healthy sex is about love and connection about the two people involved in the act. Meanwhile, sex addiction manifests in one of two ways: 1) substituting sex for love or 2) pursuing different activities that are focused on the sex acts, and not on any connection with the two people.
How To Know if You’re a Sex Addict
Sexual addiction can manifest itself in many ways. There’s a variety of possible warning signs to look out for like these:
1 You live a double life.
This one is a little bit more complicated than what you think. Maybe you just cheat all the time and lie about where you are, and how you spend your money. Those things, no matter how much of a red flag they are, doesn’t make you an addict. I know, it’s hard to believe but hear me out. If you have sexual secrets that you absolutely refuse to share with anyone, or if somehow you managed to create two entirely different lives just to have sex, then something is way, way off. Sex and your fetishes are private things, but if you know your whole life will go down the fucking drain if people find out what you’re really up to and the only way “out” is to lie always, then you have a severe problem.
2 You use others for sex.
You’re probably a good guy. You’re kind to animals and great with kids. You even cried when you watched “Frozen.” When your girlfriend or friends talk to you about their problems, you listen— you really do.
But when it comes to sex, your heart just turns to stone. You don’t care about the people. You don’t see them as “humans” but mere objects you use to get you off. They’re just toys you play with, and they don’t mean anything more than that. You don’t care what happens to them after you’re done with them, but you’ll absolutely do anything to get them to do what you want.
3 Your life is in ruins because of sex.
Since sex is your number one priority, everything else is in ruins. When you’re at work, you spend the majority of your time trying to get laid by anyone that catches your interest in the meantime. Once you succeed in one target, you quickly move onto the next. Even if you manage to stay employed, you’re always broke because you have to keep appearances with all of your girlfriends and people you want to fuck all the time.
Everything from school, to work, to money, is secondary or next to nothing compared to sex.
4 All you can and want to think about is sex
How to know if you’re a sex addict? Your whole life revolves around sex. You’re preoccupied with sex. You can’t concentrate on anything for more than 10 minutes without thinking of sex. When you aren’t having sex, you are planning on how you will get it. In fact, you even schedule your whole day around it.
5 You have sex and don’t care about what happens after
You’re out of control. You don’t care what happens so long as you get your daily dose of sex. You’re doing things you know are terrible, like banging your girlfriend’s best friend or giving your credit card information to your mistress. But it doesn’t matter so long as you can have sex. You know you’re a sex addict when you don’t care about the consequences, no matter how grave they are.
If you are doing things that are going to screw you over in the future, and you KNOW they’re going to screw you over in the future and yet you STILL do them because of sex, your sex life has officially crossed the line. You have a huge problem.
6 No amount of masturbation seems to be enough.
You masturbate all the time. And I mean all the time. You do it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and you do it on your breaks. You do it even after sex. No amount of masturbation seems to be enough. You masturbate excessively. You just can’t seem to get enough of the pleasure you get, so you jack off again and again.
7 Cheating is a lifestyle.
You always know your relationships will end because you know you’re going to do something terribly wrong related to sex. You don’t learn anything from your mistakes. There’s no “lesson” from every relationship. You just move along and get over it because you knew it was bound to happen. You cheat, and you get caught. It’s a lifestyle, and you can’t stop.
8 Your sexual urges have a life of its own, and you can’t control it
You think you can stop, but you can’t. You try to stop, but you can’t. Little by little, you lose everything. And even if you know you’re going to lose everything, you keep going until it’s all gone. You just can’t control yourself. You feel that your sexual urges have a life of its own and it’s stronger than you.
Like all addictions, you know you know you’re a sex addict when you feel powerless against your urges.
9 You hate yourself.
As much as you can’t care less for using people for sex, at the end of the day, you feel ashamed of yourself. You drown in self-loathing for going through life, hurting other people, and destroying yourself. But you still do it. You constantly feel ashamed, so you fantasize about sex or do sex to escape it, and then you feel embarrassed about that and then…the cycle just goes on and on.
What Causes an Addiction to Sex?
Hypersexuality, like all other kinds of addiction, develops due to factors that encompass all aspects of an individual’s life. These include:
- Genes: You may be genetically predisposed to impulsive actions or sensation-seeking behavior. You may even be inclined to other traits that are commonly associated with sexual addiction, like anxiety or depression.
- Hormones: You have higher levels of sex hormones like testosterone or estrogen, which can affect your libido.
- External influences: Early-life environmental factors like abuse or exposure to sexual content, can contribute to some of the underlying characteristics that drive hypersexual behavior.
- Mental health: Commonly-associated traits are anxiety, depression, personality disorders, poor impulse control, and performance anxiety. They also might be occurring at the same time as sex addiction.
- Rejection: in relationships and social circles can lead to other, less healthy ways to find sexual gratification.
- Social isolation: can lead to seeking inappropriate ways of being sexually gratified. It can also cause depression that can contribute to sex addictions or unhealthy sexual behaviors.
- Social learning: Having a friend, or a group of friends, who engage in excessive sexual activities or porn viewing can influence you in a very subtle, yet powerful, way.
Can Sex Addiction Be Treated?
Yes, sex addiction can be treated. As I’ve said, the first step is acknowledging it. If you suspect or know that you’re a sex addict, you need to talk to a mental health professional as soon as you can. They will help you address some of the underlying factors of your sex addiction. They’ll teach you how to cope with your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors properly.
Treatment Options to Explore
- Individual therapy
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Group therapy
- Couple’s counseling or Marriage counseling
- In-patient therapy
The key takeaway
If after reading this and you finally acknowledge that maybe you’re a sex addict, you can talk to someone you trust first if you’re scared. Talk it out and seek help as soon as possible. There are mental health professionals in this area. They can help you manage it in a healthier and more productive way.
But more importantly, as much as family, friends, and treatment plans are there to help you, the path to change lies in your hands alone. You are your own salvation.