Facing up to any addiction can be frightening. It can be difficult to open up and tell someone about your problems, but the associated stigma and having trust issues may stop an addict seeking help.
Relate, the relationship counselling advice service to defines sex addiction as any sexual activity and feels out of control. The addiction may involve sex with a partner, but may also include (but not be limited to,) masturbation, using the services of prostitutes, pornography or having cyber/phone sex. Sex addicts are unable to control their impulses and urges despite the detrimental effect it may be having on the rest of their lives.
Addiction to sex is similar to drug and alcohol abuse because it is caused by chemical substances called endorphins that are released during sex. Sex addiction is often a result of problems stemming from childhood or young adulthood. Depression and sex addiction are often linked.
If you are worried you may be suffering from sex addiction then answer the following questions truthfully. If you answer yes to one or more of the questions you may have problems sex addiction and should seek professional help immediately.
Is your sexual behaviour causing problems in the rest of your life?
Have others voiced concern about your sexual activity?
Have you indulged in unsafe or unprotected sex even though you know it could be dangerous?
Have you ever slept with someone you barely know?
Have you ever been paid for sex?
Do you believe that your addiction to sex stops you from having long term relationships?
Has sex become a way for you to avoid your problems?
Do you feel that your sexual behaviour is not normal or out of control?
Have you neglected other areas of life because of your obsession with sex?
Do you have regret any aspect of your sex life?
Do you look for no strings sexual encounters online?
Have you ever hurt anyone emotionally or physically with your attitude to sex, attitude or sexual behaviours?
When you have sex to you feel depressed although afterwards?
Do you feel your life is ruled by sexual desire?
Have you heard multiple sexual or romantic relationships at the same time?
Have you attempted to give up some of your sexual activity and failed?
Do you regularly use phone sex lines or prostitutes?
Have you stayed in relationships that are emotionally and sexually abusive?
Have you ever traded sex for money, any other goods or material gain?
Do you regularly indulge in sexual behaviour such as sadomasochism, swinging or BDSM?
The consequences of sex addiction are wide and far reaching. Sex addict may suffer from low self-esteem, relationship and intimacy issues. Typically, the all-consuming sex addiction can also affect finances, career, physical health, and personal life.
Recovery for sex addiction is very similar to the treatments used in rehabilitation of substance addictions. Addressing the reasons behind the addiction is very important in order to be able to identify and change destructive behaviours. There are different types of help available and extreme cases may benefit from residential rehabilitation. It may also be possible to carry out rehabilitation on an outpatient program. Each case of addiction and subsequent bespoke specialist is as individual as the addict in question. .
You can see the results of our recent 2013 sex addiction survey here.