Warning Signs of Sexual Addiction

Article Contributed by Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

pair-418697_640In our day in age, it is easy to see how sexualization has proliferated the mass media. Everywhere you turn – from movies to television shows, to commercials, magazine ads, and more – explicit sexual content can be found in abundance.

With such a distorted perception of sexual activity and behaviors rampant throughout society, it is no wonder that there is such perversion with sexuality.

The Patterns and Behaviors of Sexual Addiction

With a culture that has so often blurred the lines of sexuality, how can a more serious sexual addiction or hypersexuality be identified? What behaviors distinguish compulsive sexual behavior from other intimacy disorders? Sexual addiction can be identified and characterized by certain patterns and behaviors.

If you suspect that you or someone you care for is struggling with an addiction to sex, it may be confusing to identify the behaviors you may be observing. Be aware of these following warning signs, which may indicate that a compulsive sexual disorder, or sexual addiction, has developed:

Lack of intimacy or connection in a relationship:

If you are in a relationship with an individual who is struggling with sexual addiction, you may find a strain developing between you and your partner. There may be a lack of affection or increasing avoidance. There may also be minimal communication, decreased intimacy and lack of healthy sexual encounters.

Excessive internet, phone, or television use:

Individuals who are compulsively addicted to sexual activities typically engage in excessive and repeated pornography use. Someone suffering from a sexual addiction may spend an extreme amount of screen or phone time as a venue for watching pornography.

Be aware of the amount of time that is spent in these activities, particularly if other social activities and relationships are neglected to engage in pornography.

Unstable relationships:

Couple talking about Warning Signs of Sexual AddictionMen or women who are addicted to sex are often lured into unsafe and explicit sexual activities, such as one-night stands, casual affairs, and use of prostitutes. A sex addict may quickly shift between partners or have little to do with a partner outside of sexual encounters.

A person with a sexual addiction may find it difficult to establish intimacy or to build lasting, meaningful relationships.

Financial ruin or complications:

Sexual addicts will often spend money on activities that fuel their behaviors, such as prostitutes, pornography, cybersex, or other illicit sexual compulsions. This can cause a strain on relationships, a career, and job opportunities.

Mood swings or personality changes:

As a result of preoccupation with sex, a person’s mood a disposition may change. Similarly, if a sex addict is unable to engage in compulsive sexual behaviors, this may alter their attitude and behaviors. A person may become more aggressive, angry, or frustrated.

Other co-occurring mental disorders:

Because of the similar nature of intimacy disorders with other addictive disorders, other mental health issues may also be present. This can involve substance abuse, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar and more. These disorders can be co-occurring, meaning they develop alongside the sexual addiction.

While these warning signs are not the only indicators that may reveal a person is struggling with a sexual addiction, they are certainly red flags that should be taken seriously. As diagnostic criteria are still being researched and developed to classify a sexual addiction, there are known characteristics and behaviors that distinguish compulsive sexual behaviors.

Seek Help If You See These Warning Signs of Sexual Addiction

walking-386718_640If you are concerned that you or someone you love is suffering from sexual addiction, it is crucial to seek professional help for healing and recovery.

Sexual addiction can be destructive to a person’s life as it will negatively impact every facet, including personal health and wellness, relationships, social life and activities, finances, and mental stability.

While the proliferation of sexual activity projected in the mainstream media may send the message that certain sexual behaviors are justified, it is important to carefully analyze motives and objectives at hand.

If you have observed the above behaviors or indicators in a person you care for and are unsure what to do, know that you do not have to handle this situation alone. Many counselors and health professionals have the resources to guide you through these complex situations, giving you the tools you need to approach your loved one carefully and effectively.

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 a 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.

Published on November 7, 2014
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 4, 2018

Published on AddictionHope.com