Understanding the signs of sex addiction
Sex addiction can be very difficult to define and varies greatly from one individual to another. This makes accepting sex addiction and moving on to get support even more challenging.
If you feel that your sexual activity is out of control and compulsive, there’s a strong chance that you’re struggling with sex addiction. You may be putting your health and wellbeing at risk, or taking reckless chances that could impact your spouse, partner or family. Perhaps you feel ‘high’ while planning and acting out the sexual activity, but experience feelings of despair and shame after the event. These are common emotions across all addictions and would indicate a problem.
It’s important to understand that love addiction is a different disorder with its own set of signs and symptoms. Usually characterised by controlling and obsessive behaviours, it’s often coupled with anxiety and depression.
Compulsive and out of control
The term ‘sex addiction’ implies that a person would be addicted to the sex act specifically. That’s often not the case and sexual addiction can cover many sexual behaviours. The common theme is carrying out these behaviours over and over again in a compulsive way. These behaviours could include masturbation, pornography, cyber sex and/or phone sex, sex with prostitutes, sex clubs, simultaneous affairs and unsafe sex.
It’s important to understand that these sexual behaviours are not problems in themselves. Addiction is defined by the potential negative effect carrying out acts could have on you or your family, and feeling that you can’t control your behaviours. Signs of sex addiction include:
- Frequent, casual sex
- Not being able to control or reduce your behaviour, even though you’re aware there could be consequences
- Pursuing risky sex persistently
- Needing more of the same sexual activity to achieve a ‘high’
- Having sexual fantasies and behaviours in response to stress
- Neglecting work, family and friends to pursue your sexual behaviour.
- Intense ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ in response to sexual activity
- Feeling ashamed or guilty after the sexual activity
The risks of sex addiction
Like all addictions, sex addiction has its consequence. Many sex addicts find a growing distance between themselves and their partner and family as sex addiction slowly takes over their life. Family breakdown is a real risk.
Stress, anxiety and depression are particularly prevalent amongst people living with sex addiction. Self-esteem can plummet as feelings of shame and guilt become overwhelming. The physical risks are not to be underestimated either. There could be more chance of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STIs), or in severe cases, genital injury or HIV/AIDs.
Sex addiction can also result in breaking the law. Exhibitionism, prostitution and voyeurism can all stem from addictive sexual behaviours.
The right support for sex addiction
If you’re concerned that you’re living with sex addiction, it’s important to get help right away to minimise consequences and effects as much as possible. At Step One Recovery, we’re here to welcome you warmly and understand your sex addiction in a non-judgemental way.
We have a wonderful track record in treating people successfully for sex and love addiction. Many of our clients felt lost and hopeless when they first came to us and have gone on to happier, healthier futures.
From the moment you get in touch, you can be certain of expert treatment that really makes the difference. We’ll talk through your concerns and if you feel ready, will arrange your admission into our luxurious recovery centre. It’s based on on an exclusive two-acre Mediterranean estate in Javea, on the Costa Blanca in Eastern Spain. Discrete, rejuvenating and relaxing – it’s a wonderful place to begin your recovery.
Your treatment programme will be completely tailored to you. It will include the right range of therapies to help you come to terms with your sex addiction and make new positive associations with sex. In our experience, many people living with sex addiction have issues from the past that need to be resolved so they can move on. Your psychologist and counsellors will provide one-to-one therapy and we can also treat any co-occurring conditions such as anxiety, depression and alcohol and drug addiction.