At this time, clinicians and researchers are still trying to determine a definitive approach to defining a diagnosis for sex addiction using various criteria similar to those used to determine other forms of addiction, but there is no official diagnosis of sexual addiction. However, that does not mean that men and women who experience hardships and challenges as a result of their sexual behaviors may not be suffering from a real, legitimate problem. The signs of sexual addiction, though not 100% definitive, tend to revolve around a strong desire to have sex, masturbate or take part in other sexual activities such as flirting or watching pornography.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, displaying signs of sex addiction does not necessarily make you a sex addict but there could be signs indicative of compulsive sexual behavior if a desire to take part in sexual activity has interrupted regular functioning in your life. This isn’t an open opportunity to scream addict when you’ve just cheated on your spouse, but if sexual desire is so robust and difficult for you to control, if your sexual behavior is impinging on your life in a not so good way, you just may be a sex addict.
Sex addicts tend to take part in similar behaviors as those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. For instance, a sex addict may have sex more often or with more partners than he or she intended to or they may be preoccupied with sex. These behaviors, the inability to control cravings or activities, are similar to those of a substance abuser. If you can identify with more than three of the following signs of sexual addiction, you may be suffering from more than just a desire to seek out sexual gratification and should consider seeking further help.
1. Engaging in Excessive Sexual Activities
Have you tried to stop taking part in sexual activities such as frequently watching pornography, masturbating or being involved with multiple sexual partners? If you’ve made honest attempts to stop your excessive sexual behaviors and despite your will to do better you have failed, you could be a sex addict. Excessive sexual activities that interfere with day to day routines are one of the most common signs of sexual addiction.
2. Neglecting Obligations for Sex
Many signs of sexual addiction revolve around the mishaps or interruptions that occur in regular routines as a result of compulsive sexual behaviors. Neglecting obligations such as work, school or your family in order to have sex, masturbate, watch pornography or otherwise take part in sexual activities could be a potential sign that you’re suffering from more than just a desire to be sexual. Sex addicts, like drug addicts, have a lack of control over their behaviors and often neglect their responsibilities.
3. Engagement in Sexual Activities Despite Consequences
Another one of the more common signs of sexual addiction that many men and women who have a true sexual behavior disorder show is a desire or continued engagement in sexual activities despite the known consequences that result from such behavior. Taking part in sexual activity with multiple partners can lead to health hazards while cheating repeatedly on a spouse or significant other can lead to broken relationships. Taking part in these activities even after you’ve suffered the consequences in the past and know where the actions will lead could be the result of a legitimate sexual addiction problem.
4. Frequently Seeking Sexual Explicit Material
One of many signs of sexual addiction that some people tend to overlook is a preoccupation with sex. If you frequently seek out material that is sexually explicit such as pornography, dating sites or similar materials you could be showing signs you’re a sex addict. It’s important to understand that watching a pornographic show or looking at some pictures once in a while is one thing—seeking out such material in a way in which you don’t care to be active in other areas that are not sexually explicit could be a sign of sexual addiction which requires treatment.
5. Excessive Time Spent Involved in Sexual Activities
One of the most noticeable signs of sexual addiction, but still not a sure sign that you’re a sex addict unless this sign is partnered with other symptoms of compulsive sexual behavior, is spending excessive amounts of time involved in sexual activities. This may include watching porn for hours or constantly being on the prowl for sexual partners. It could also include excessive masturbation or more frequent visits to sexual partners—these are all potential signs you’re a sex addict.