Sexual Addiction Defined: What is the Criteria?

Sexual Addiction

With the widespread amount of information that is readily accessible these days, via the internet, smart phones and watches, and more, there is seemingly greater misconstructions about many mental health related disorders and diseases.

Sexual addiction & DSM-5

Sexual addiction in particular can be especially difficult to understand, as it is often taken out of content and is even debated among health professionals.

Because sexual addiction is not classified as a diagnosable disorder in the DSM-5 (Diagnosic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition), there is a level of uncertainty when it comes to identifying, diagnosing and treating this condition.

Despite the diagnostic challenges for professionals who treat individuals with a hypersexuality, most health professionals would agree that certain criteria define this disorder.

Many people who struggle with a sexual addiction disorder often exemplify similar characteristics, and ongoing research has helped to better define what is involved with hypersexual disorder.

Criteria for sexual addiction

Some of the criteria for sexual addiction include a recurring pattern of sexual activity in response to unpleasant emotional states, such as anxiety or depression, or the recurring use of sex/sexual acts as a method of coping with stress.

Senior couple looking out their windowAdditional criteria include evidence of personal distress resulting from sexual behaviors that negatively influences quality of life, such as interference with relationships, career and more.

An individual struggling with a sexual addiction will often engage in reoccurring patterns of hypersexuality that extend beyond six months or longer.

These behaviors should not be caused or influenced by other issues, such as mood disorders or substance abuse.

Understanding some of the basic criteria of a sexual disorder can better define a problematic issue for countless people who may be struggling.

Establishing a diagnosis can also bring reality to the struggle and make treatment a more acceptable and approachable option.

If you are concerned that you or someone you love is dealing with a sexual addiction, be sure to meet with a specialist who can determine if you meet the criteria for this disorder.

Crystal Karges photo

About the Author: 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.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 19, 2016
Published on

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.