Negative consequences of sex addiction
Unhealthy sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors can lead to pain and negative or self-destructive consequences. In fact, sexual addiction can get in the way of the many benefits that healthy sexual relationships have to offer: intimacy, respect, nurturing, support, peace and self-enhancement. But how can you identify signs of sexual addiction? And how do you know if you or a loved one are a sex addict?
Sexual addiction is progressive
Many different kinds of sexual activities are red flags for sexual addiction. Sex addicts can be involved in a wide variety of practices and many have trouble with just one behavior or with many. Furthermore, sexual addiction can be progressive, meaning that a sex addict starts with one behavior (masturbation) but over time eventually engages in increasingly dangerous activities (sex in public, masochistic or sadistic sex, multiple partners, etc.). Although the following list is not complete, it helps give you a guide of what to look for.
1. Avoiding emotional involvement in sexual relationships (wanting to get away from a sex partner right after sex)
2. Having multiple sexual partners, anonymous partners, prostitutes, with someone you do not care about or extramarital affairs
3. Using euphoric recall while being sexual
4. Sexually acting out against your values
5. Frequent use of pornographic materials
6. Using phone and internet sex services
7. Excessive masturbation
8. Fixating on an unattainable sex partner
9. Practicing masochistic or sadistic sex
10. Practicing exhibitionism (indecent exposure)
Am I a sex addict?
If you suspect that you are a sex addict and want help, contact your doctor, psychiatrist or a sex specialist for an assessment. You can also take an online sex addict questionnaire for self diagnosis (see below). Once assessed and ready for the next step, you can find a sex addict treatment database or a sex addiction therapist at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals or The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health. Treatment for sex addiction is best supplemented by attendance at support group meetings, such as twelve step groups for sex addicts.
40 questions for self-diagnosis of sex addiction
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