While some people mistakenly think that hypersexual disorders and sex addiction merely refers to an unusually high sex drive, it is much more complex than that. It is very similar to other addictions, which is evident upon closer examination of the various sex addiction signs.
Just as an alcoholic craves his next drink, thinks he can stop on his own but fails over and over, uses alcohol to ease emotional pain, stress, loneliness, and anxiety, and continues to drink despite the negative consequences, so it is with a sex addict. Like other addictions, sex addiction is also progressive. It often starts with a relatively harmless behavior such as excessive masturbation while watching porn. Over time, however, it typically leads to other types of sexual activity that may be very risky or blatantly dangerous.
For the sex addict, sexual activity provides an intense, intoxicating euphoria or “high” while lacking any genuine emotional connection, intimacy, or love. It’s a temporary escape. Once the high wears off, the vicious cycle starts all over again. For the addict, the activity is not fulfilling. It has a significant negative impact on his life and often causes a lot of shame and self-loathing.
The indicators of hypersexual disorders will vary to some degree depending on the individual. For example, some sex addicts have multiple extramarital affairs, while others frequently hire prostitutes or use phone sex services excessively. Following are some of the most common sex addiction signs:
• Excessive masturbation – This is one of the most common early sex addiction signs. Often the sex addict masturbates while engaging in other sexual activity (e.g. while viewing pornography or talking to a phone sex operator).
• Obsessing about sex to the point that it interferes with their life
• Spending a significant amount of time planning their sexual activity – Sex addicts, just like drug addicts and other types of addicts, will devote a large amount of time determining where and how they will get their next “fix”.
• Frequent viewing of pornography or use of sexually explicit websites or other online services – This may include videos, adult magazines, pornographic websites, “adult” chat rooms, paying to watch sexual activity via webcams, or using dating websites that connect people interested in sexual relationships and / or one night stands.
• Frequent or excessive use of phone sex services
• Having multiple extramarital affairs or frequently having sex with multiple partners
• Frequent one-night stands with total strangers or prostitutes
• Staying emotionally detached from sexual partners – Many sex addicts are unable to establish a normal, healthy connection with a sexual partner. This is often due to deep-seated feelings of self-hate and shame. It’s not uncommon for a sex addict to want nothing more to do with a sexual partner once the activity is over.
• Frequent sex without using protection – Many sex addicts engage in high risk behavior such as unprotected sex. This is often because they are so driven to satisfy their craving that they don’t consider or care about the potential consequences.
• Engaging in sexual behavior that directly conflicts with their personal values or religious beliefs – For example, sex addiction signs for someone who is a devout Christian or Catholic may include having multiple partners or extramarital affairs, frequent one night stands, sex with children, or sex with prostitutes. They believe their behavior is morally wrong yet they’re unable to stop.
• Obsessing about a sexual partner who is unattainable – This type of fixation may lead to stalking or sexually harassing the individual, spying on them bathing or engaging in sexual activity (voyeurism), and, in some instances, violence.
• Frequently engaging in paraphilias (sexual behaviors that are considered unusual, distasteful, or unacceptable) – Paraphilias include things like exhibitionism, voyeurism, sadism, masochism, and pedophilia. Although they may indicate a possible addiction, not everyone who engages in paraphilias is a sex addict.
• The inability to stop despite the consequences – As with all addictions, this is one of the primary sex addiction signs. The vast majority of sex addicts are unable to stop without treatment for their addiction.
If you or someone you love can identify with any of the above signs of hypersexual disorders or sex addiction, it’s time to get help. Treatment is available and can be very beneficial. The road to recovery won’t be easy, but regaining control of your life and putting an end to destructive behaviors that may hurt you or others is definitely worth the effort.