Sex addiction is defined as a lack of control over sexual thoughts, urges, and impulses. While sexual impulses are natural, sex addiction only refers to behaviors that are done in excess and significantly impact one’s life in a negative way.
A person with sex addiction may have a compulsive need to be sexually stimulated. This desire often interferes with their ability to live their daily life. Sexual addictions can come in many different forms, including addiction to:
- Sexual acts
- Watching or consuming pornography
- Masturbation or sexual fantasy
- Exhibition or voyeurism, the act of gaining sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity
Sex addicts may alter their activities to perform sexual acts persistently, unable to control their behavior despite any consequences.
This compulsive sexual behavior can have serious personal consequences. Like drug or alcohol addiction, sex addiction can impact physical health, mental health, personal relationships, and quality of life.
Signs of a Sex Addict
- Obsessive Sexual Thoughts
- Spending Excessive Time on Sex
- Feeling Shame or Depression
- Loss of interest in activities
- Masturbating Excessively
- Engaging in Risky or Inappropriate Behaviors
- Cheating on Partners
- Committing Criminal Sex Offenses
Treating Sexual Addiction
Can a sex addict change? Yes, although it may require treatment from a medical professional like a psychologist, psychiatrist, or sex therapist. Depending on the underlying cause and how it manifests in someone’s personal life, treatment may vary. If the sex addiction presents alongside another underlying mental illness, the treatment plan may also include medications.
Forms of treatment can include:
- One-on-one therapy with a mental health professional
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Group therapy
- Support groups
- Inpatient treatment
- Couples counseling or marriage counseling