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What is Sex Addiction

what is sex addictionSex addiction is defined as the compulsive need to engage in sexual thoughts and acts despite the negative effects it has on the self and family. These negative setbacks intensify as the addiction progresses. If you have a family member affected by the destructive effects of sexual addictions, do not hesitate to contact our admissions counselors.

Sex addiction does not affect only adults but it can start early on in adolescence and progress into adulthood. Sexual addiction can start simply with chronic masturbation and escalate into rape. People, teens or adolescents addicted to sex are plagued by the thought sex. They are incapable of functioning normally or engage in healthy relationships due to their obsession with sex.

If left untreated, sexual addiction can degenerate into risk-taking behaviors. For example a person addicted to sex will engage in unprotected sex despite the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. They will engage in destructive behaviors despite the consequences.

Signs and behaviors of a person addicted to sex:

  • Use and obsession with pornography
  • Risky sexual behaviors such as unsafe sex and sexual partners
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Multiple sex partners or extra-marital affairs
  • Engaging in one night stands
  • Cybersex
  • Phone sex
  • Sexual harassment
  • Exhibitionist
  • Finding partners through unsafe personal ads (such as Craigslist)
  • Voyeurism and stalking
  • Sexual assault or rape

A person with a sexual addiction gains more from the thrill of seeking the pleasure than satisfaction in the act itself. A sex addict is consumed with thoughts of sex but actually have a problem with intimacy. Much like all addicts, a person with a sexual addiction will use whatever means necessary to get a fix even if it means causing pain to themselves and others.

To read more about the causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment for addiction (whether a substance addiction or a behavioral addiction); see our about addiction page.