A Non-Profit Drug & Alcohol Rehab Referral & Placement Service
Let Us Help You. Call Now. 1-800-895-1695

5 Signs Your Loved One is Addicted to Sex

In today’s modern world, addiction has taken on a plethora of new areas and activities. Gone are the days where drugs and alcohol predominate the realm of addiction. Not surprisingly, sex addictions have entered the mix.

With all the sexually explicit commercials, movies and “extracurricular” activities made available today, it’s really no surprise that it’s possible to become addicted to sex. This wide range of outlets has also prompted a range of ways a person can become addicted to sex.

Sex addictions run the gamut, with two basic types or forms –

  • Non-paraphilic
  • Paraphilic

Non-paraphilic types prefer conventional forms of sex on an unusually frequent basis. Paraphilic types lean more towards unconventional sexual activities, such as exhibitionism, sadomasochism and sex with objects. In both cases, being addicted to sex becomes a means for coping with the stressors and pressures of everyday living.

While not intentional on the part of the addict, the behaviors and consequences that result can cause real problems in a person’s daily life. With most any addiction, the addict is usually the last one to notice his or her activity as being problematic. Likewise, someone addicted to sex may well consider this behavior to be perfectly normal; especially within the context of today’s “free-spirited” culture.

If you suspect a loved one may be addicted to sex, here are five signs to watch out for –

1. Increasing Frequency of Sexual Interactions

sex addiction

For an addict, sex causes chemical changes in the brain that create a ‘high’.

Psychological dependency lies at the heart of any type of addiction problem, whether it be drugs, being addicted to sex or gambling. While a person may become physically dependent on a substance or activity during the early stages, an actual addiction doesn’t take hold until a person believes he or she needs to engage in the behavior in order to make it through the day.

Like the “high” brought on by drug use, sexual activity produces chemical changes in the brain that closely resemble those brought on by drugs. As with continued drug use, people addicted to sex will start to engage in the activity on a more frequent basis much like a drug user develops stronger and stronger cravings for more, according to Semel Institute.

Someone struggling with a sex addiction will show an increase in the number of sexual encounters had per day or week, and may also require increasingly more intense or exciting sexual experiences. These cravings will continue to increase for as long as he or she continues to “nurture” the addiction.

2. Withdrawal Effects

The brain chemical changes brought on by compulsive sexual activity have a cumulative effect that ultimately takes a toll on the brain’s ability to maintain normal functions. Once brain chemical functions reach a certain state of decline, someone addicted to sex will start to experience withdrawal effects when he or she is unable to engage in sexual activity for prolonged periods.

Withdrawal effects may take the form of –

  • Problems getting to sleep and/or staying asleep
  • Bouts of depression
  • Changes in appetite
  • Anxiety episodes
  • Noticeable mood swings

These effects result from the growing chemical imbalances taking place in the brain.

3. Feelings of Guilt & Shame

As a person falls deeper and deeper into the addiction cycle, feelings of guilt and shame over his or her behavior start to surface. At this point, someone addicted to sex has lost control over the urges that drive the behavior. Consequently, negative consequences resulting from a sex addiction start to impact a person’s overall quality of life.

Feelings of guilt and shame over being addicted to sex have as much to do with the loss of control as they do the negative consequences brought about by the behavior. Likewise, the effects had in the lives of loved ones, such as significant others, children and friends can also feed into feelings of remorse. In effect, the sex addict loses all sense of boundaries to the point where he or she may well cross many lines of impropriety.

4. Psychological Problems

Once addicted to sex, brain chemical functions skew further and further out of balance to the point where a person may become susceptible to developing a psychological disorder. This process works both ways in that someone already struggling with psychological problems can easily become addicted to sex as a means for gaining relief from symptoms brought on by an existing disorder.

Ultimately, psychological problems stem from chemical imbalances in the brain. This means, someone who develops a psychological problem as a result of being addicted to sex will likely experience a worsening of disorder symptoms. As symptoms of the disorder grow worse, he or she may well increase sexual activity in order to counteract the effects of worsening symptoms. In effect, this becomes a vicious cycle in itself, with one disorder feeding into the other.

5. Lifestyle Disruptions

More than anything else, lifestyle disruptions brought on by being addicted to sex are a clear indicator that a person has a serious problem. Lifestyle disruptions may entail –

  • Problems on the job due to inappropriate sexual behaviors
  • A decline in work performance
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Financial problems
  • Declining health
  • Loss of interest in important life areas

In most cases, these disruptions happen gradually over time as the addiction grows stronger. In essence, being addicted to sex drives a person’s motivations, priorities and behaviors to the point where the addict starts to neglect anything and anyone that’s not related to fulfilling this need.

Treatment Considerations

Today, the adult entertainment industry reins in an estimated $4 billion in profits every year, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine. Couple this with the day-in-day-out use of sex as an advertising ploy and someone addicted to sex doesn’t stand a chance of overcoming this problem.

As with any addiction, signs, symptoms and the resulting consequences will continue to get worse for as long as a person continues to engage in rampant sexual behaviors. Without needed treatment help, your loved one stands to experience the same rate of decline as someone who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol. Likewise, breaking an addiction to sex requires many of the same interventions used in a substance abuse treatment program.