According to an article published in the Huffington Post by Léonor Bruny, a clinical psychologist specialised in trauma, addictions and LGBT issues, sex addiction is a known condition linked to excessive sex. So how do you know if you are a sex addict?
1) An addict: a slave to sex
Addiction is generally defined as an inability to abstain from something, which is why we describe addicts as slaves to certain substances or behaviours.
Sex addiction can manifest in several ways:
- excessive or uncontrolled surfing of pornography sites
- compulsively indulging in sexual adventures
- permanent lack of sexual satisfaction, even after orgasm
- a need to have sex many times one after the other, etc.
Internal forces lead the addict to resort to sex very frequently, generally several times per day or per week, depending on the level of the addiction. It is almost impossible for the addict to resist.
It becomes a vicious circle, as sex is a response to a feeling of dissatisfaction which eats at the addict, and they are seeking immediate relief from this feeling rather than pleasure from the act of sex.
2) The addict may be suffering due to their condition
The sex addict’s irresistible compulsions can sometimes become a source of suffering, of feelings of shame, guilt or despair in the face of their inability to change their own behaviour, which can hurt their partners.
3) The addict is sometimes plagued by feelings of need
When an addict does not manage to have sex, they feel the symptoms of a powerful physical and mental need, such as:
- feeling they are going crazy
- losing control of their emotions
- very frequent or almost permanent thoughts about sex
- hot flushes
- clenched jaw
- nightmares, insomnia, etc.
4) Their addiction evolves over time
According to psychologist Léonor Bruny, “addictive behaviours often emerge in adolescence and tend to evolve over a lifetime”. For example, a person can be addicted to video games in adolescence, to cigarettes and to sex in early adulthood, and then later become addicted to gambling and alcohol. Addictions evolve gradually as people get older. “Addiction is a well anchored, self-destructive process”, according to Léonor Bruny.
5) Their addiction takes up (almost) all of their time
Depending on the severity of the addiction, more vulnerable people can isolate themselves from their social circles, their families and from helping professionals.
Sex is the addict’s priority, and they can concentrate on nothing else. This is why they end up spending most of their time trying to seduce people and having sex.
6) Fantasies escalate
The sex addict generally finds an escalation in their sexual fantasies.
For example, they quickly tend to start looking for increasingly hardcore pornography, or looking for more extreme and novel types of sexual practices. As long as such desires are reciprocated, it is necessary all the same to remain vigilant and not to cross the limits imposed by the law for the respect of others and public decency.
As soon as the addict starts to worry they may pass these limits – psychological or legal – they should immediately contact a professional (a doctor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, etc.) in order to find help and support with resisting their urges to break such limits or laws.
In any case, if the person is suffering as a result of their sex addiction, it is recommended that they contact a profesionnal for support and guidance around the evolution of their addictions.