When sex becomes an addiction
Still, plenty of questions surround sexual obsession: Does it mean you're addicted to sex if you're doing it three times a day? How do you separate the addicts from otherwise healthy people who just happen to really, really love having sex? Relationship expert Amanda Kane explains the difference: "Generally, a person with a sex addiction gains little satisfaction from the sexual acting-out and forms no emotional bond with his or her sex partners." So if you find yourself using men just for sex, you might have an addiction problem. For some addicts, it is the only way they know to relieve anxiety and cope with stress. This is very different from super-passionate couples who link sex with love and emotional connection.
Another key point is compulsion: "Sex addiction has the hallmarks of other addictions (i.e. alcohol or drug addiction) because it involves a recurrent failure to control sexually acting-out," stresses Kane. It's a red flag if you engage in multiple behaviors (having risky, casual sex, watching pornography, masturbating) constantly despite harmful consequences. Sex addicts often experience intense highs followed by a big low point with feelings of guilt and shame, and in order to cope with these low points, they seek out even more sexual experiences. Which inevitably leads to a dangerous vicious cycle.
Signs of sex addiction
But unlike physical conditions (such as heart problems or diabetes), mental health disorders like this can be difficult to diagnose. Still, there are some tell-tale signs: According to SASH, you likely have an issue with sex addiction if you have out-of-control repetitive behaviors such as:
Frequent casual sex
Having numerous affairs whilst in a relationship
Craving "risky" sex
Using pornography on a very regular basis
Using sex as a way to deal with problems and stress
Feeling unable to control sexual behavior even if you want to
Requiring increasing amounts of sex to achieve the same "high"
Lack of intimacy during sexual encounters