Sex addiction: How to tell if you have an unhealthy obsession with sex

Do you love sex a little too much? Here's how to tell if your obsession is healthy or not.

Sex addiction
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Sex addiction

Whether sex addiction should become a diagnosable condition is a heavily debated topic, with professionals backing both sides of the argument. But various surveys and studies have found that there is a significant number of people who do struggle to control sexual thoughts and behaviours.

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Obsessed with sex?

It is important to note that thinking about sex and participating in the act is an incredibly natural part of being a human—some people do it more often than others. However, it does become an issue when your need for sexual gratification becomes so obsessive that it gets in the way of your relationships and your everyday life in general.

Spotting the signs

According to experts at WebMD, sex addiction can present itself in different ways. Some people may have an uncontrollable desire to watch porn, masturbate, or indulge in the act itself, and others may constantly be fantasising about sex. But how can you tell if you’re addicted to sex?

Thaddeus Birchard, a psychosexual and psychotherapy consultant, tells Men’s Health that there are four main signs. He says:

The sexual behaviour is out of control or preoccupying; though the victim has tried to, they cannot stop; they continue with their actions despite the [often terrible] consequences; and the sex has an anaesthetising function–it takes away the pain in the same way a gin and tonic might for an alcoholic.

Another indication that you may be dangerously dependent on sex is if you feel guilty, ashamed, or depressed because of your obsession. A study published in Taylor & Francis Online reported that 28% of men that had compulsive sexual behaviour showed signs of depression, compared to the 12% in the general male population.

Excessive masturbation, to a point of physical discomfort and pain, could also be another sign that you are addicted to sex.

As of now, sexual addiction is not a diagnosable condition, like drug, alcohol, or tobacco addiction is. However, a medical professional will be able to help you get the treatment you require to fight your addiction.

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