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Sexual Addiction


Sexual addiction is a progressive intimacy disorder that involves the compulsive physiological or psychological need for sexual experience. It is the condition of being habitually or compulsively preoccupied with the need for a sexual event or experience.


The desired sexual activity becomes central to the addict’s life in spite of the resulting consequences with family, friends, and work. The negative impact on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder progresses. Over time, the addict often must intensify the addictive behavior to achieve the same results.


Sexual addicts frequently deny they have a problem, even to themselves, and frequently use compulsive sexual behavior as a means of dealing with pain or discomfort. The denial often leads to keeping secrets, which, in turn, fuels more shame, pain, and isolation.


Sexually addictive behavior can include a wide range of behaviors including, but not limited to:

  • Compulsive masturbation

  • Chronic pornography

  • Phone or internet sex

  • Erotic chat or sexually charged fantasies, relationships, and situations

  • Objectification of sexual partners, rituals associated with sex

  • Multiple affairs or one-night stands

  • Sexual massage, strip clubs, escorts, prostitutes

  • Creating sexually explicit photos or videos

  • Sex clubs, partner swapping, trading sex for money or service

  • Cross-dressing

  • Voyeurism

  • Exhibitionism

  • Cruising, anonymous sex

  • Pain exchange sex

Are you struggling with compulsive sexual behaviors?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you ever feel bad or uncomfortable about your sexual behavior?

  2. Do you feel guilt, remorse, or depression about your sexual behavior?

  3. Have you ever experienced suicidal thoughts related to your sexual behavior

  4. Has your need for sex ever made you abandon your value system or go against your better judgment?

  5. Do you resort to sex to escape from your problems, relieve anxiety, or to cope?

  6. Are you fearful of others finding out about your sexual activity?

  7. Do you ever feel like your need for sex is more powerful than you are?

  8. Has your pursuit of sex become increasingly more compulsive and habitual?

  9. Have you ever thought you needed help for your sexual thinking or behavior?

  10. Have you ever tried to stop or limit some aspect of your sexual behavior, but have failed in your attempts? Have you ever said, “This is the last time I’ll ever do that!” and yet continued to do it repeatedly in spite of the potential consequences?

  11. Has anyone in your life ever suggested that you should stop or limit some aspect of your sexual behavior?

  12. Do you have a sexual filter that judges everyone you see to determine whether or not they would be a sexual partner?

  13. Do you often find yourself preoccupied or obsessed with sexual thoughts?

  14. Is it a struggle to stop thinking about sex? Do you find sexual references in nearly everything that people say, or assume that any act of kindness is a sexual offer?

  15. Have you ever lost track of time when you’ve been involved sexually?

  16. Does time seem to speed up or slow down?

  17. Are rituals part of your sexual behavior?

  18. Do you have specific routines that you follow before, during, and/or after your sexual activities?

  19. Do you often resort to using images or memories to help your performance during sex?

  20. Have you noticed a lack of pleasure during or following sex? Have you ever planned your next sexual encounter while in the act itself, or masturbated soon after having intercourse?

  21. Does your sexual behavior cause tension or conflict in your relationship with your spouse or partner?

  22. Do you persist in sexual behaviors in spite of the potential consequences with your partner or your family?

  23. Do you feel the “right relationship” would help you stop lusting, masturbating, or being so promiscuous?

  24. Do you keep going from one relationship or lover to another?

  25. Has your compulsive sexual behavior interrupted your ability to concentrate or be effective at work or school? Has your work (school or career) suffered in any way from your sexual behavior?

  26. Have you ever been fired or demoted for sexual behavior on the job?

  27. Has your sexual activity had an impact on your finances? Have you spent a substantial amount of money on pornography, prostitution, or to pay fines imposed as a result of being caught engaging in illegal sexual activities?

  28. Has your sexual behavior ever resulted in physical complications such as herpes, venereal diseases, AIDS, or repeated bladder and vaginal infections?

  29. Have you experimented with drugs to enhance or justify sexual behavior?

  30. Have you experienced injuries due to the frequency or type of sexual behavior?

  31. In spite of the legal consequences you might incur, do you persist in illegal activities that could lead to your arrest such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, rape, incest, or stealing to obtain money for sexual purposes?

  32. Have you ever been arrested or served jail time for any of these activities?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it may be an indication that you have a problem with compulsive sexual behavior or sexual addiction. While some struggle with the label of “addict,” it is important to note that there are varying degrees of compulsive sexual behavior—from problematic behavior to serious addiction.

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