Sex addiction might have some detractors, with many wondering if it’s just an excuse some people use to avoid responsibility of cheating or causally having sex. However, regardless of what your stance is on sex addition, one thing’s clear: it’s a mental issue that many people can’t overcome, and it can distract them from everyday activities, cost them relationships/friendships and even ruin careers.

As someone who once believed he was a sex addict, I can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed with the feeling of (and usually getting) sex. That’s not something that’s supposed to come across as bragging, but, instead, something that I’ve learned from over years of self-reflection and personal growth. While in that state of mind, there was lots of manipulation, lying to myself and others, exposure to unsafe sex and plenty of other negative things. I overcame it by simply focusing on other things that interested me, avoiding the trap of feeling isolated and feeding the urge of someone else’s dependancy.

That said, there are still millions of people out there who think they may have a sex addiction. They spend money on things like prostitutes and online dating. They watch porn at an unhealthy rate. They have multiple partners a day because they don’t feel fulfilled otherwise. For those who may be in that dark place, it’s important to talk to a counselor and get help, for that’s the only way to help your mental state and rise above such behavior.

Unsure of what sex addiction actually means? We researched some information to educate you a little more, giving you a few signs and symptoms to look for in behaviors to determine if you’ve gone from enjoying sex to the dangers of sex.

How is sex addiction defined?

In essence, sex addiction is defined as being a range of behaviors that are done in excess and significantly impact one’s life in a negative way. Although sex addiction isn’t recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-5) as being a diagnosable condition, there are signs and symptoms that show it has similar traits to other chemical addictions.

Are there different types of sex addiction?

Yes. As mentioned above, sex addiction is any behavior that is done in excess and can impact a person’s life in a negative way, so that can be shown in various ways. Since sex addiction isn’t yet classified as a diagnosable condition, there aren’t any cut-and-dry categories. However, here are several different types of conditions most associated with sex addiction.

  • Pornography
  • Prostitution
  • Masturbation or fantasy
  • Sadistic or masochistic behavior
  • Exhibition/Voyeurism
  • Other excessive sexual pursuits

Physical signs of sex addiction

There are few, notable physical signs of sex addiction. However, some physical things to look for are, of course, any pain associated with sex — like scratches, bite marks, etc. — if having intercourse that involves BDSM. Other physical signs could be immobilization due to sexual or emotional obsessions.

Emotional signs of sex addiction

While physical signs of sex addiction may not be prevalent, the emotional impact is where it really consumes someone. Whether it be a person being addicted to porn or sex, sex addicts often feel alienated, unwanted, depressed, angry or humiliated, among other things, and often find themselves codependent — meaning they need acceptance or attention from another person to feel fulfilled. Oftentimes, sex addicts are afraid to commit to relationships that aren’t purely physical, fearing the emotional detachment of a healthy relationship. They also may sexualize feelings and, while they have a desire to be with someone, typically feel happiest when they get sex without attachment. Sex addicts can also, on occasion, feel guilt for their actions.