8 symptoms of a sex addiction – from thinking about romps to losing control
Worried you might have a sex addiction?
According to the NHS, experts disagree about whether or not it's possible to become addicted to sex.
Relationship counselling service Relate describes sex addiction as any sexual activity that feels "out of control".
While the NHS says these behaviours "doesn't cause any serious problems" for most people, there may be some side-effects that impact your life.
So what signs and symptoms should you look out for? The experts at Delamere Health Cheshire recently put together a handy list.
From obsessive thoughts about sex to feeling out of control, these could be potential warning signs.
1. Obsessively thinking about sex
Persistent and overwhelming thoughts of sex to the extent that a sex addict will have difficulty concentrating on anything else.
These obsessive thoughts are only relieved (albeit very temporary) by engaging in the sexual act they are obsessing over.
2. The compulsion to engage in sex
A sex addicts brain compels them to engage in sex, even when there is a high probability of negative consequences.
The compulsion to engage in sex will also disrupt other areas of a sex addicts life.
3. Spending excessive time engaging in sex
A sex addict's dependence on sexual pleasure could disrupt relationships, work or education, finances, personal health and mental wellbeing.
They may miss necessary appointments, neglect their responsibilities and personal relationships to engage in sex.
4. Loss of control around sex
Their behaviour will often lead them to feel overwhelming feelings of shame, regret, powerlessness, anxiety and depression.
Often a sex addict will lead a double life and have an immense fear of being caught out.
Wearing contact lenses in the shower could 'increase risk of becoming blind'
5. Excluding other activities
Their behaviour will become all-consuming to the point that they will lose interest in hobbies or activities they once used to enjoy.
They could withdraw from family and loved ones due to their preoccupation with sex and their feelings regarding their behaviour.
6. Continuation despite negative consequences
They could suffer negative consequences as a result of their sexual behaviour.
Examples of common negative consequences include contracting an STI, accidentally falling pregnant and losing a job or relationship.
Despite suffering negative consequences resulting from their sexual behaviour, they will not be able to stop, even if they want to.
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7. Progression of sexual behaviour
Overtime an addict will find that they need more kinky sessions to satisfy their needs or forms of more risky sex.
What used to satisfy them will no longer suffice.
They may find themselves excessively watching or engaging in more extreme forms of porn, having sex more often, committing criminal sexual offences, paying for sex, prostitution or engaging in forms of high-risk sex.
8. Engaging in sex to the point of feeling pain
A sex addict may masturbate so frequently that it becomes painful or have so much sex or types of rough or sadistic sex that they suffer physical pain as a result.
Yet this will not stop them from engaging excessively in sexual activity.
If you think you're suffering from a sex addiction, or someone you love, there is plenty of support out there.
For more information, visit the NHS website.
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