What Are The Signs Of Sex Addiction?

According to reports, the World Health Organization will recognize "compulsive sexual behavior disorder" as an impulse control disorder in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). This is following the recent classification of compulsive video gaming as a mental health condition.

It is hard to pin down the exact signs and symptoms of sex addiction as there are no official set of guidelines to deal with the condition. It has been subject to much debate among experts, with some even suggesting that it does not qualify as an addiction.

When the criteria are vague, it can be hard to differentiate between a sex addict and someone who just happens to love sexual activities. Nevertheless, here are a couple of signs to keep an eye out for.

1. Compulsive masturbation

Keep in mind that "compulsive" is the key word here as masturbation is perfectly fine and can even provide a few health benefits. But it might signal an underlying problem if it starts to interfere with your daily life. Experts have stated that there is no specific number where they recommend drawing the line.

Rather, if someone is constantly ignoring their responsibilities (masturbating in the office bathroom when they should be working) or neglecting their relationships (ignoring the needs of their partner), the compulsive act could be a sign of sex addiction or other mental health issues.

2. Putting oneself in dangerous situations

Uncontrollable sexual urges can be marked by regular involvement in practices that endanger the addict and others around them. Engagement in illegal sexual activity (indecent exposure, sexual activity involving minors, upskirting etc.) can occur despite the fact they bear serious consequences.

Even on the legal side, an addict can have several extramarital affairs, have sex without protection, or spend excessive money on pornography. "With a sexual addiction, the addict feels desperate to have his or her sexual outlet, no matter the cost," said psychotherapist Dr. Tina Tessina.

3. Feeling highly irritable without sex

When sex dominates a person's life to the extent that everything else fades into the background, it is unsurprising that they feel tormented without it. 

"A healthy sexual appetite can be controlled. If sex is unavailable, it is disappointing but not devastating," Tessina stated. This may happen because the person develops a habit of using sexual behavior as a form of escapism or a coping mechanism to deal with loneliness, stress, depression, etc.

Those who are experiencing or suspect that they are experiencing sex addiction can seek guidance from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or sex therapist. Treatment typically involves cognitive behavioral therapy to address the underlying cause of the addiction.

Support groups are also available as organizations like Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) can help people through a 12-Step recovery program.