Sex Addiction: What are the Signs?

By: Michelle J. Hong

Sexual addiction is when an individual has a[ File # csp0297286, License # 1699973 ] Licensed through in accordance with the End User License Agreement ( (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / wackern unceasing desire to participate in sexual activities that intensifies as it progresses because the addict wants to achieve higher levels of euphoria. It is not about intimacy but about seeking pleasure or avoiding problems, so the addict usually does not try bond with his or her sexual partner.

Unfortunately, there is no one factor that can cause sexual addiction but there are possible biopsychosocial factors that can contribute to these disorders. Since sex affects the brain’s survival and reward systems, the brain sends distorted messages that sex is good to a sex addict the same way the brain tells you that food is good when we are hungry. This biological explanation can help people understand why anyone can be occupied with sexual addiction. A few psychological risk factors for this addiction include depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive inclinations. Individuals with a history of addiction are more susceptible to develop sexual addiction as well. Individuals addicted to sex seem to have been sexually abused when they were young or come from broken families, and these families are more prone to substance abuse. Because of all these biopsychosocial factors, sex addicts have insecure, impulsive and compulsive personality characteristics and tend to isolate themselves from society. They have unstable relationships and have difficulty dealing with their emotions.

The DSM has yet to give definitive criteria for sexual addiction, but there are signs that people can recognize in which when to indicate whether an individual has this disorder. These signs may not be clear in the earlier stages of sexual addiction, but they will eventually become more prevalent and transparent.

Some of these signs include:

  • Compulsive masturbation or stimulation
  • Extra-marital affairs or multiple affairs in a non-married relationship
  • Multiple one night stands
  • Excessive and consistent use of pornography
  • Practicing unprotected, unsafe sex
  • Cybersex either over the phone or online
  • Prostitution or purchasing the services of a prostitute
  • Dating excessively in order to have multiple sexual partners
  • Voyeurism or watching others have sex
  • Rape, molestation, sexually harassing others

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from sexual addiction or sexual abuse, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit for more information

Image copyright: (c) Can Stock Photo Inc.
“Sexual Addiction – AAMFT Therapy Topic.” Sexual Addiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2015.
“Sex Addiction.” Addictions. N.p., 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 05 June 2015.
“What Causes Sexual Addiction?” Psych Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2015.


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