What do you think of when you think of sex addiction?

Many people have stereotypes in their minds and, as a result, are hesitant to admit that this could be a problem for them.

The fact is, sex addiction is a lot more prevalent in our world than what it may seem to be at first glance.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some sex addiction facts so that you can have a better understanding of what an addiction to sex is, what it looks like, and what sorts of things that you may expect if you or a loved one is working through this addiction.

1. It can cause as much destruction as drug and alcohol abuse

All of these types of abuse can do a number on the body as time goes on, and the individual continues to try and get their fix from more intense or more dangerous ways to have sex.

It can end up causing a lot of issues in relationships and it makes it difficult for someone to be able to function in their jobs and in other things that they may be doing on a regular basis.

While some people believe that it isn’t harmful, it can cause long term harm that is difficult to recover from later in life.

2. Both men and women are affected

If you ask someone what they think of when they think about someone that is addicted to sex, they usually start with “they’re a man”.

This isn’t true at all! Sex addiction is something that both men and women alike deal with, even though they do manifest a bit differently between the genders.

It’s estimated that approximately 1/3 of all people who are diagnosed as sex addicts are female – that’s probably a lot more than you ever realized that there were.

3. Sex addiction is not necessarily related to sex drive

Just because someone is addicted to sex doesn’t mean that they have a high sex drive.

There are a lot of people out there that have high libidos that are able to live perfectly functional, normal lives outside of their sex lives.

It’s when your relationship to sex becomes dysfunctional that it starts to become a big problem.

Using sex as a “drug” to get away from unpleasant thoughts or feelings, or getting into increasingly risky behavior in order to get a fix, are big red flags in terms of whether we’re looking at an addiction to sex or a high libido.

4. It is not necessarily related to internet porn

Many people make the false assumption that internet porn is one of the biggest reasons that sex addiction is a problem today.

The fact of the matter is, while it does make it easier for those addicted to sex to access ways to get their fix, if someone is addicted to internet porn, it doesn’t necessarily correlate with an addiction to sex in general.

Many times, sexual acts are what indicate the difference between sexual addiction and an addiction to pornography.

5. Sex addiction is, ultimately, an addiction to how sex makes us feel

As you can probably tell from the previous facts, this makes a lot of sense.

It’s not necessarily all about the act of sex.

Instead, sex addiction is about how sex makes us feel.

If someone is looking for a way to get a high and they turn to sex, that’s about the feeling, not the act.

The problem is, people start to miss the original high that they got from the sexual acts that they’ve tried, so they try different things, or more dangerous things, in order to try and get that feeling back.

6. Over time, sex addiction can cause shame

Like many forms of addiction, being addicted to sex can actually be something that makes people feel a lot of shame for what they’ve done.

While they are constantly looking for that next high, they may do things that, without the addiction, they would have never considered or felt right about doing of their own volition.

More often than not, this shame is what causes people who struggle with an addiction to sex to shy away or live a hidden life.

They don’t want anyone to find out the thing that they’re most ashamed of.

7. Anxiety and depression are common in people with sex addiction

An addiction to sex, like many types of addiction, rarely stands alone.

Many times, it is correlated with other emotional and mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.

Many people turn to sex in order to try and self medicate, thus causing the negative feelings associated with depression and anxiety to go away temporarily.

More often than not, treating the anxiety and/or depression in conjunction with the sex addiction is the most effective way to prevent a relapse.

8. Identity confusion (in regards to sexual orientation) is sometimes a cause of sex addiction

Teenagers and adults that are seeking answers in regards to their sexual orientation are disproportionally more likely to struggle with a sex addiction than those who are confident in their queer identity.

There are a few reasons why this may happen: they hide in the closet so long that their relationship with sex becomes dysfunctional; they continue to hide in the closet but engage in sexual behaviors via the web in a dysfunctional way; or they have sex with people who aren’t their preference in an obsession to “fix” their sexual orientation.

9. Those with bipolar disorder are more likely to engage in high risk sexual activities in manic periods

Manic periods are closely associated with increased sexual behavior in those who have bipolar disorder.

This is, usually, because the sex drive in those with bipolar disorder is increased during manic periods and they are more likely to follow through with poor decisions because of an increase in impulsivity.

In some cases, this results in an individual that has bipolar disorder struggling with sexual addiction during manic periods as well.

10. Sex addiction is not listed in the DSM or able to be diagnosed at this time

Every time that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (which is the big book used to diagnose mental health problems of all sorts) is reevaluated, sexual addiction and/or hypersexuality is brought up and discussed.

To this date, it is still not in the DSM, thus making it difficult for professionals to diagnose it and, in turn, making it that much more difficult for them to treat it as well.

While there is a lot of research associated with sexual addiction’s existence, those who work on the DSM have not considered that evidence to be quite enough as of yet.

11. Self-help groups and treatment centers are available

Thankfully, even without the label being in the DSM, there are a number of treatment options available for those who are trying to work through the issues that are associated with an addiction to sex.

There are a number of self help groups, both online and offline, which can help sex addicts to work through their problems and find solutions that work for their purposes.

There are also treatment centers (both residential and non-residential) that sex addicts can turn to so that they can get the help and treatment that they need to live their lives again.

12. The internet has made sex addiction much more prominent

This is not only due to porn, however.

While it provides easier access to sex addicts, there are other things associated with the internet that make sexual addiction that much harder to work through.

There are people who go through and read stories that are sexually charged to help them get the feelings that their addiction brings them, and there are also a number of ways to have anonymous cyber sex (role playing sex in chat rooms and forums).

These are where the biggest issues lie for sex addicts.

13. Engaging in high risk sexual behaviors may be linked to sexual addiction

If someone is going for the next “crazy thing” that they can do in the bedroom, or trying to brag on how many people that they’ve slept with within a certain period of time, they may be struggling with sexual addiction.

Trying out the high risk sexual behaviors so that they can “test the waters” and get the high that they are looking for from sex is a huge red flag and means that the person who is dealing with those behaviors is at a point where they should be seeking out assistance.

14. Sexual rage disorder is linked with sexual addiction

Sexual rage disorder is, in short, a disorder that is linked directly with sexual addiction.

If someone with sexual rage disorder is unable to get sex (which is, in fact, feeding their addiction), then they are going to be that much more likely to get angry, restless, and even violent in those instances.

This is similar to the rage that you may see with drug and alcohol addicts where they are irritable or dangerous when they are not able to get their high when and where they want to do so.

15. Being addicted to sex doesn’t mean a person will cheat on a partner

Those who are addicted to sex are not necessarily unfaithful.

Many times, they will try to fulfill their addictive need with the sexual partner that they currently have.

The problem with this is that, often times, their partner can get stuck in a cycle where they feel like they have to fulfill every need that the person addicted to sex may have.

This unhealthy relationship can be dangerous and may likely, in time, fall apart as a result of the untreated addiction.

16. Those who have been abused in the past are more likely to deal with sexual addiction

We’ve all heard that those who have been abused in the past are more likely to be abusers.

But did you know that they are also more likely to deal with sexual addiction as well? This is especially true in people who have been sexually abused.

Those who have been abused as a child often have unhealthy sexual development as a result, making it a situation where becoming a sex addict is more likely to happen over time.

17. Chasing after increasingly risky and stimulating situations is common

We’ve all read the stories and seen what people have to say about risky sexual behaviors.

Many times, the people who take these risks and try to work out ways to be more involved in risky sexual behavior are dealing with some level of sexual addiction.

Like with drug addiction, they are constantly looking for the next high, trying to ensure that they can get their fix and, as a result, they end up trying riskier things that give them the adrenaline rush plus the chemicals that are produced during orgasm.

18. Consistent failure to control behavior can be associated with sex addiction

Sometimes, people who cannot control their behavior or that feel like their lives are out of control will often turn to sex addiction in order to get their fix.

Whether it’s about the compulsion of sex, or the fact that they can feel like they are actually controlling the sexual situation that they are in, it gives them a feeling of control and comfort that they can’t really find in any other area of their lives.

19. Social, recreational and/or occupational activities are reduced

This is a common problem for people who struggle with any sort of addiction – as they continue to look for their next high, they are constantly looking to the next “big thing” that can give them that hit.

That makes them struggle in other areas of their lives, like hobbies, social activities, or activities that are based on their careers.

This can be a big issue and is usually a red flag when you’re trying to determine if you’re dealing with an addiction.

20. Sexual addiction can be treated, but as with other addictions, it takes time

Our last sex addiction fact is going to give you a bit of hope – as with any addiction, sexual addiction can be treated.

It takes time to work through whatever it is that may be involved in the addiction, but it’s also going to go a long way if a person is willing to try.

It can be treated and, as time goes on, a person can find ways to get back to the life that they lived and enjoyed before sexual addiction became a very large problem in their lives.