Sex Addiction: Effects, Signs, Cause and Treatment

Being a sex addict is not an incurable condition, if you look for treatment and try to adopt a healthy outlook on life. Read to learn all about sex addiction.

Sexual activity is something that is essential for procreating and carrying on the human race. Like eating, drinking water and breathing, sex too is a necessary activity for a human’s survival. Species which do not have a tendency to procreate usually end up becoming endangered, and later extinct. However, sex among human beings is something that is considered more a matter of choice than an essential activity, owing to a number of reasons.  

Sex is a taboo topic in many cultures, while in other liberal societies, it is talked about freely. You should however, have some understanding of the subject, since it is the only way that will become aware of complications or problems associated with it. These might include STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and sexual addiction.

What Is Sex Addiction?

Sexual addiction is a condition in which people cannot be in full control of their sexual desires. They find themselves craving sex at odd times and they also find it hard to control themselves. In most scenarios they think about it compulsively. There are many names for this condition such as compulsive sexual behavior, sexual dependency, "nymphomaniac", a term used for women and "satyriasis" for men, sexual compulsivity and hyper sexuality.

When an individual starts becoming obsessed with sexual thoughts and activities and this obsession starts affecting their day to day life, his or her condition can be termed as a sexual addiction. Some people also recognize sexual addiction as a spectrum of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Is It a Real Health Condition?

It should not be ignored but yes, sexual addiction is a very real and tangible condition. Some people believe that it is not something substantial and is only used as an excuse by people who just are interested in sex. However, this should not be seen as an excuse, but rather something that needs to be worked on, and which cannot be helped without proper consultation.

Some people crave sex because of underlying reasons such as shame, depression, stress and anxiety. Their emotions give way to risky and even life threatening sexual behavior. Just as most people start eating when they are depressed or resort to other habits when avoiding something, sex addicts concentrate their energies towards sex when something goes wrong in their lives. However, just because sex is a taboo topic in most societies, this condition is not given the attention it merits.

What Are the Signs of Sex Addiction?

An increased sex drive could be due to a variety of reasons and even though there is no official diagnosis for the condition at the time, many medical experts have gotten together to list down the signs and symptoms regarding the condition. Here are some behaviors that may denote a person is suffering from sexual addiction:

  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Unsafe sex
  • Cybersex
  • Prostitution or solicitation of sex
  • Having a lot of love affairs or multiple sexual partners
  • Having a lot of one night stands
  • Using alcohol and drugs along with sex to stimulate pleasure and get away from worldly problems
  • Exhibitionism
  • Persistent watching of pornography
  • Voyeurism
  • Molestation, incest and sexual harassment
  • Rape
  • Detachment from the world and feeling guilty or shameful
  • Emotional unavailability
  • Lack of control
  • Thinking about sex majority of the time
  • Giving up day to day activities
  • Sexual rage disorder


If the condition is left untreated, then the person suffering from it can be left feeling guilty and might even commit illegal activities such as solicitation of sex, rape, and so on. Some people even face psychological problems as a result of shame and guilt and might avoid seeking proper medical treatment because of these feelings. This could later lead on to depression, anxiety and even more addiction. A sexual addict could even go on to become an alcoholic or an intravenous drug user.

He or she may even face problems having sex at some point due to their psychological conditions which could worsen their state of mind.

What Causes Sex Addiction?

There is no hard and fast explanation of compulsive behavior and many people are fueled by a variety of reasons when it comes to intimacy. When people fail to get sex education and live in fear of the act and the word itself, they face greater problems. Ignorance and avoidance are things that rile the condition on.

Emotional pain, psychological traumas and the need for intimacy and complete rejection from society are just the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes certain medications also increase sex drive. Growing up in an environment of exhibitionism, prostitution and being exposed to sexual activities at a young age can also be a factor. Sometimes, being an alcoholic or drug addict can also cause a person to crave sex a lot of the time.

What Are the Treatments for the Addiction?

Once a condition has been recognized, the next step is to treat it. Just as there are treatments for other conditions, there are treatments for sexual addiction. There are several things that can be used to treat sexual addiction:

  • In-patient treatment program
  • A 12-step program like Sex Addicts Anonymous (SA) whichs follow the same recovery model as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Medication like antidepressants can help


Sexual addiction is treated differently because it is not possible for human beings to give up sex for the rest of their lives. If alcoholics need to give up alcohol and drug addicts need to give up drugs, sexual addicts have to adopt a healthy lifestyle, balancing sex with other daily activities in their life.

The outlook of a sexual addict is similar to a compulsive eater. Their battle is to figure out a healthy balance between healthy eating and compulsive eating. Similarly, sex addicts have to find out what amount of sex is healthy and what is dangerous. There are many factors that can trigger a relapse, so it is best for friends and family to keep these in mind while helping a sex addict recover from the condition.

From Experts – Sex Addiction: Is It Real?

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