Can You Be Addicted To Sex?

Published on October 20th, 2020

Updated on January 3rd, 2024

Can You Be Addicted To Sex?

Sex addiction is a term used to refer to people who suffer from a constant need to have sex. It may also be referred to as hyper-sexuality. People who struggle with sex addiction struggle with a constant preoccupation with sex. They seek out sexual encounters with others. They also struggle to achieve sexual gratification, even if they can climax.

Mental health professionals define sex addiction as the compulsive need for sex. People who suffer from sex addiction have constant urges for sex. The goal of these sexual acts is to achieve sexual gratification. As the addiction worsens, a person will have a difficult time achieving gratification.

Consequences of Sex Addiction

Symptoms of sex addiction affect a person’s quality of life. The compulsive need for sex can cause people to suffer from:

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Sex addiction can also cause distracting thoughts and powerful urges for sexual gratification. When a sex addict does achieve sexual gratification they will feel temporary relief. The need for sexual gratification will cause behavioral issues like impulsivity and promiscuity. 

Sex addiction will also cause the following symptoms:

A person who suffers from sex addiction will likely feel shameful of their addiction. This can cause them to pull away from loved ones. They may be deceitful and act dishonestly. They may also jeopardize their relationships by having secret encounters with others.

Causes of Sex Addiction

Sex addiction can occur as a result of different factors. Causal factors for sex addiction can be based on biology, brain chemistry, or life stress. It can also be the result of:

The following are common causal factors for people who suffer from sex addiction:

Untreated sex addiction can compromise the affected person’s safety. Their compulsive sexual needs cause them to engage in high-risk sexual situations. Such high-risk situations include:

These situations are high risk because they can compromise the safety and well-being of:

Untreated sex addiction can also lead to health, legal and occupational issues that are challenging to recover from.

The cause of sex addiction is unclear, but there are treatment options for the condition. With proper treatment, a person can learn how to manage their sex addiction so they can live a fulfilled life.

Treatment Options for Sex Addiction

Sex addiction can be a challenge to treat, but there are treatment options that can be effective with the right motivation. For a person to recover from sex addiction, they will need to commit to therapy. Sometimes treatment is not successful on the first try, so it is important to stay motivated, even when feeling discouraged. 

Treatment options for sex addiction are similar to other forms of addiction treatment. A mental health professional can recommend the most effective form of treatment. Therapy will be a key component to recovery. Common types of therapy that are used to treat sex addiction include:

Support Programs. Support programs aid in the treatment of sex addiction. 12-step programs like sex addicts anonymous have been effective in helping people learn how to cope with their condition. Having the support of people with similar struggles can help motivation during treatment. It also helps by holding the affected person accountable for their decisions while in recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT has been helpful with teaching coping skills to manage sexual urges. It also helps the affected person understand the causes of their sex addiction. CBT targets unhealthy thoughts that can trigger addictive behaviors. The process teaches a person in treatment how to think in a healthier way. This minimizes problem behaviors.

Long-Term Treatment Programs. Both residential and outpatient treatment programs have been effective in treating sex addiction. Treatment programs require a long-term commitment to the program. It may include a combination of therapy and medication.

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