Identifying Sexual Addiction

Sex and the desire for sex are both a part of the normal human experience. From the time we hit puberty it’s common to crave and fantasize about it. Like anything pleasurable, though, the desire for sex can be taken too far, even becoming an addiction in some people. So how do you know what is healthy and what isn’t? How can you identify sexual addiction?

Many of us think about sex several times per day. It is normal to let your mind drift while you work, drive, or relax. You may fantasize about your partner, someone you know, or a celebrity. But when you have a task we must focus on, you should be able to shake off those thoughts and get to work. The inability to think about things other than sex might imply there is an issue, especially if it begins to affect your productivity at home or at work.

If you’ve spent your day thinking about a special someone, it’s also natural to crave a little relief when you’re alone. Masturbating in the comfort of your own home is an acceptable way to relieve that pressure. Masturbation can be can also be a good stress reliever, and may even help you fall asleep faster. But it can be done in excess. If you have the desire to masturbate or have masturbated in the restroom at work, in you car in the parking lot, or in other public areas, these may also be warning signs of sexual addiction. It is also worth noting that if you are spotted masturbating in public, it’s very likely you’ll be confronted by an officer of the law. Masturbating in public may get you arrested, fined, or placed on a sex offender list. It is a serious symptom not worth ignoring.

Masturbating to the point of soreness can also point to a problem. Many people do have “marathon weekends” with themselves, so some occasional discomfort if nothing to worry about. However if you are regularly masturbating to the point of pain, or if you are leaving bruises or abrasions on your body, this may also be a sign of sexual addiction.

Does the act of, or the desire for sex control your life? If you find yourself neglecting other responsibilities, calling into work, or ignoring your family in the pursuit of sex, this is another serious symptom. Blowing off work to watch pornography becomes a costly habit very quickly.

Cheating on a partner or having multiple partners is not a sure sign of sexual addiction, but it is commonly reported among those who seek treatment. Their current partner may not be able to keep up with their desire, so they turn to another person who can. This can lead to risky behavior, like unprotected sex with new partners. It can also tear apart an established relationship.

Partaking in dangerous or illegal sexual acts may be the most concerning sign of sexual addiction. Like drug addicts, they may find that more common forms of sexual release lose their appeal, and turn toward more extreme forms of sex or masturbation. Some sexual addicts may use public indecency or sexual assault to fulfill their needs.

None of these signs are a surefire way to spot a sexual addict. However, they may be symptoms of a larger problem. If you see these signs in yourself or someone you care about, talk to a doctor or therapist about your concerns. There is hope for those who suffer from sexual addiction.

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