Below are 8 symptoms of sexual addiction. To make this article more personal, I’ll provide examples from my history and how it applied to my flavor of sex addiction. That being said, please keep an open mind and try to draw parallels with other forms of sexual behavior. Behaviors might differ for different people, ranging from online pornography to sex with prostitutes and other illegal acts. Underlying symptoms, however, remain the same.
1. Using sexual behaviors to escape stress and other problems of life
I remember when I was in college and active in my addiction. I would push myself really far to try to get the best grades I could. I would stay up long nights attempting to study for my exams. In reality, however, I would hit a point every night where I would snap and go into countless hours of pornography and masturbation.
2. Returning often to a particular sexual behavior and seeking more intense experience
Another symptom of sexual addiction is adaptation to current sexual behavior and seeking out more intense ways of sexual stimulation. In my experience such escalation happens much faster with online pornography than other forms of sexual acting out.
My pornography use began with mildly erotic videos. They, however, quickly became boring and I moved on to more violent and stimulating videos. In the worst part of my addiction I would spend many hours each day watching some of the dirtiest and sickest pornographic videos that I could get my hands on, and still all of that pornography would not be enough for me.
Once even the sickest forms of pornography has stopped to produce a desirable result for me, my mind began to wonder towards other ways of sexual acting out, such as anonymous hookups and hiring a prostitute.
3. Lying to family, co-workers, friends and others to hide your sexual activities
My addiction began to take so much time, that I was constantly running late for things such as family dinner, classes or work, forcing me to make up all kinds of lies and excuses for my behavior. I constantly felt like I was always living a double life.
4. Constant preoccupation, can’t stop thinking about sex
I remember one day my wife was getting ready to leave for work at 6am on Saturday morning. Instead of helping her get ready, or getting up to say goodbye, I pretended to be asleep. I couldn’t contain my excitement, because I knew that after she’ll leave I’ll have 8 hours of unrestricted acting out.
When I caught myself thinking that and got really scared by my feeling. Unfortunately, such feelings were very common for me. Everything else in life seemed to fade away compared to the excitement I felt when I thought about acting out.
5. Seeking out sexual activities for longer periods of time and more often than intended
I don’t know how many times in my past I have told myself that I am just going to visit an adult site for 15 minutes to take a break, only to find myself at 2am still browsing for pornography, wondering what just happend.
I also had many experiences where I would go to a strip club with some friends, and once there I would lose any sense of time and would always feel a strong pull to stay there for just “one more dance” feeling that next girl could be “the one” act that I was looking for all night.
6. Trying and failing to limit or stop a particular sexual behavior
There has been hundreds, if not thousands of times that I swore off particular behavior. For example, I would tell myself I would never watch certain kind of hardcore pornography, only to find myself visiting all of my “favorite” sites a week or two later.
7. Discomfort and irritation when trying to stop a sexual behavior
Whenever I realized that I had a real problem, and tried to stop, I found myself feeling very irritated. I’ve quit smoking before, and the feeling was very similar, but actually stronger. It felt like a very important part of my life was missing. As a result I felt very grampy and would often snap at my loved ones and other people close to me.
8. Crossing accepted boundaries or committing illegal sexual acts
Up to this point, I mostly shared stories related pornography use. Unfortunately, pornography was not my only ways of sexual acting out. I did try to control my addiction, by only acting out through pornography. I was successful at it for the most part, but sometimes I ended up cheating, having unprotected sex, and performing sexual acts in public, risking getting arrested.
Thankfully I realized that I had a problem and got into recovery. There is no question in my mind that if things went on the way they did, me getting arrested for some sort of illegal sexual behavior was just a matter of time.
If you find yourself identifying with many of these symptoms of sex addiction, I would highly encourage you to look honestly at yourself. It is not about putting labels on people, but rather about finding help, if help is needed.
If you would like to learn more about sex or pornography addiction make sure to check out our free recovery course.
In any case, thank you for reading, and please let me know if you have any feedback in the comment area below.
P.S. Recommended Resources:
- Sex Addicts Anonymous
I cannot imagine my recovery without this program.
- Mindful Habit Course by Coach Craig
Great advice from a great person.
- Free Podcast and Mini Course from Candeo Can
I owe my first 90 days of continuous sobriety to this program and highly recommend it.
- Internet Accountability Software
Using this software allowed me to get truly honest with my internet usage for the first time in my life. For some reason knowing that my every step was being observed and reported on, made it really easy to use internet only in a healthy way.
- Treating Pornography Addiction by Kevin B. Skinner Ph.D.
I have read over 15 books on Pornography and Sexual addiction and this truly is one of the best books on the subject. The reason is I recommend this particular book is because it is full of excellent actionable steps. Other books do a good job describing the problem, but don’t really offer a realistic solution.
- Your Sexually Addicted Spouse – How Partners Can Cope and Heal by Barbara Steffens Ph.D.
I know that about half of visitors to our site are spouses of people who might be suffering with pornography and sex addiction. To the best of my knowledge this book is one of the most helpful books for the partners.
- Free Consultation from Coach Craig
Coach Craig has been a good friend and supporter of this site since January 2013. He has worked with people from all over the world, including famous musicians and other high profile individuals. Yet, he is only a phone call away and would be glad to give you a free consultation. Call him anytime, with any question you might have, and I am know he will be extremely happy to help in any way he can.
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