Physical Complications of Sexual Addiction

Woman on the beach struggling with addiction

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Sexual addiction can be classified as a type of intimacy disorder in which individuals are unable to manage their sexual behaviors. Sexual addiction is also referred to as:

  • Compulsive sexual behavior
  • Sexual compulsivity
  • Hypersexuality
  • Sexual dependency.

There is often a misconception that sex cannot be addictive since it does not involve a substance or chemical, however, people who are addicted to sex can often exhibit physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that are similar to addicts who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

A person who becomes addicted to sex often develops these behaviors as a result of many different factors, including:

  • Family history of addiction
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse or neglect
  • Experience of a traumatic event

Similar to other addictions, a person will persist in their behaviors despite the negative consequences that may be resulting from the hypersexual activity. The consequences that are associated with sexual addiction impact a person in multiple ways, including emotionally, physically, psychologically and socially.

Physical Complications

The physical complications of sexual addiction may not be as obvious as some of the other consequences, it is important to address this aspect of hypersexuality. A person who struggles with sexual addiction can suffer with various physical complications that result from these behaviors.

son hugging momSome of most common side effects of sexual addiction include the development of a sexually transmitted disease, which can develop in about thirty-eight percent of men and forty-five percent of women with a sexual addiction [1].

Another physical complication of sexual addiction includes unplanned pregnancy, which can result from risky sexual behaviors.

In a survey of women who struggled with sexual addiction, almost seventy percent reported the experience of at least one unplanned pregnancy resulting from their behaviors.

The physical complications from sexual addiction can bring about more complex issues for an individual who is struggling with this disorder. For this reason, seeking out professional care is necessary for rehabilitation, recovery, and restoration of physical and other symptoms.

If you or someone you love has been dealing with a sexual addiction, be sure to seek out the appropriate help and care you need immediately to begin your recovery process.

Community Discussion –Share your thoughts here!

How do you think professional treatment can help in assisting with many of the physical complications of sexual addiction?

[1]: “Sex Addiction Symptoms, Causes, and Effects” Accessed 15 Oct 2015.

Crystal Karges photo

Crystal Karges

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 17, 2015
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