SIGNS OF SEXUAL ADDICTION:
While sexual addiction is not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), many experts refer to the disorder as Hypersexual Disorder. While there is no consensus in the mental health field about the diagnosis of sexual addiction, those attempting to classify it as such have outlined a number of signs and symptoms.
The Signs of Hypersexuality
A recent study suggested hypersexuality is not a true addiction based on what happens in the brain. However, many experts agree that certain patterns of behavior may be indicative of hypersexuality.
Preoccupation with Sex
People with sexual addiction may experience a pattern of sexual preoccupation including sexual thoughts, fantasies, and pornography use. Other issues related to a preoccupation with sex surround trying to control sexual behaviors, including:
Multiple unsuccessful attempts to control sexual thoughts and behaviors
Breaking promises to self or others regarding sexual behaviors
Persistently thinking about sex over other important things in your life such as work, family, or school
Feeling angry or irritable when trying to change sexual behaviors or when unable to engage in sexual behaviors
Experiencing feelings of guilt and shame associated with compulsive sexual behaviors
Likewise, a person with sexual addiction may display a number of sexual behaviors, including:
Engaging often in sexual activities with more partners than intended
Sexual activities taking over a significant portion of your life to the detriment of your other activities or obligations
Continuing sexual behaviors in spite of negative consequences that may be associated with them such as broken relationships or sexually transmitted diseases
Engaging in more or riskier sexual behaviors to satisfy desire for sexual fulfillment
Spending an increasing amount of time pursuing sex
Need for more frequent sexual behavior or more sexually intense experiences to achieve the desired effect
Like other addictive behaviors, someone with hypersexual disorder may experience a "high" when engaging in sexual activities or fantasies. The behavior is then driven in search of the "high."
Unfortunately, once the euphoria fades, the person struggling with a sexual addiction will start the cycle anew, seeking another experience. In some cases, the need for the euphoria is progressive, so what once caused the high no longer does and the addict may need to seek more intense, frequent, or riskier encounters to achieve the same result.
Additional compulsive behaviors may be signs of sexual addiction, including:
Having multiple extra-marital affairs
Having sex with commercial sex workers
Engaging in cybersex
Having many one night stands or multiple sex partners simultaneously
Compulsively watching pornography
Excessive amount of time spent preparing for sexual activities, recovering from sexual activities, or engaging in sexual activities
Diminished effect from normal sexual activities
Emotional detachment from sex partners
Frequent unprotected sex
Regularly engaging in sexual behaviors that are counter to one's values, religious beliefs, or morals
Sexual fixation on an unobtainable person