What Is A Sex Addiction, And Is It A Real Thing?

Last updated by Katie M.

When we hear about sex addiction, Michael Douglas, Tiger Woods or Leïla Slimani’s novel “Adèle” come to mind. But what really is sex addiction? How can it be defined? Can we compare it to drug, gambling or alcohol addictions? Having sex how many times per day constitutes a sex addict? We’ll answer all your questions.

What Is A Sex Addiction, And Is It A Real Thing?
Contents: 

What is sex addiction?

Definition of sex addiction

According to the dictionary, “addiction is a process by which a human behavior allows access to immediate pleasure by reducing a feeling of internal discomfort. It is accompanied by an inability to control this behavior despite being aware of its negative consequences.”

An under treated addiction

The concept of sexual addiction was introduced in the mid-1970s in Boston by a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. This illness was later the subject of a book by Patrick Carnes in 1980 called Out of the Shadows. Today, it is still much debated and influenced by religious beliefs.

>>> Discover how narcissists behave sexually

Understanding sex addiction

The behavior of an addict

A real addict can’t stop thinking about sex all the time and performing sexual acts with a partner or with themselves through masturbation. We talk about an addiction when this behavior prevents them from living normally or from having a normal professional and social life. For example, as soon as they have a few spare minutes, a sex addict will always look for a place to masturbate, a person to have sex with or will watch pornography.

Sex addiction takes several forms:

  • compulsive masturbation
  • addiction to pornographic websites
  • debauched visits to swinging or strip clubs
  • addiction to dating apps
  • use of cyber sex

Sex as a way to calm down

As with every addiction, the aim is to chase away anxiety and calm your mind. The search for pleasure is a way of thinking of something else and occupying your mind positively in order to calm yourself down. It’s this constant search for calming down that pushes you to constantly repeat a sexual act, but once this feeling of calming has disappeared, a feeling of something missing remains, which is typical behavior for an addiction. This lack translates into despair, sadness, depression and emptiness.

The difficulty defining a sex addict

The problem with defining sex addiction, unlike addictions to smoking or drugs for example, is that it’s difficult to quantify. If a couple agrees to have sex more than 3 times per day, that’s fine. However, if one partner only wants to have sex 3 times per month and the other 3 times per day, that’s where they will have a problem and one of them may accuse the other of being addicted to sex.

To summarize, sex addiction is characterized by:

  • A loss of control over sexual behavior
  • sexual dependence expressed by a compulsive need to act despite the potentially negative consequences
  • Psychological suffering linked to this dependent behavior (guilt, shame, depression…)

>>> Find out why sex is so hard to talk about


Note: Sex addiction never leads to aggressive behavior. This addiction leads to the consumption of sex, flirting, seduction, but never aggression. Predators or rapists aren’t sex addicts.


Curing a sex addiction

Behind this addiction, there is mainly a problem of anxiety (even generalized anxiety disorder), stress and anguish. Sex addiction can also stem from a trauma, it’s a way of disconnecting from your emotions. Another cause to be treated may be attachment disorders. Sex then becomes a means to fill this void in many ways. In short, there are many possible causes of the addiction and only a professional analysis can determine them. These deeper problems can be treated with psychotherapy, psychoanalysis or with the help of a sexologist. It’s therefore work to be done with a professional, and it can take time. Like with all addictions, the patient must admit their dependence and want to be cured. Without the will of the addict, there can be no cure.

Editor’s note – Don’t be afraid to talk about it

Taking the first step and making an appointment for a consultation about a sex addiction can be very difficult. The fear of being judged often prevents addicts from getting treatment. But sexologists are there to listen to the person suffering. An addiction is the result of great psychological suffering, whatever the type of addiction. You therefore shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it and seek help.
🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe


More content:

Article presented by Katie M.

Discover the world through my eyes.

Read our latest articles here:

Emotional Blocks

I feel like I run into walls a lot in my life and even get them stuck in my head! However, even if I manage to pick myself back up, some of them seem insurmountable. Feeling paralyzed by a situation or an experience is called an emotional block. Many of us encounter them in our lives because of a negative experience. They prevent us from living life to the full, from having balance, and from being truly happy. So how do we get rid of them? The good news is that we can jump over these walls. Here’s how.

I’m Always Angry, Why? What’s Behind It?

The pressure builds up quickly, and then suddenly you’re telling them where to get off. Anger washes over us like a wave, an uncontrollable tidal wave. Even though it sounds impressive, it’s normal to feel angry. Everyone experiences it. But where it becomes problematic is when it’s constant and violent. Why might we feel angry all the time? What’s behind it? When everything’s getting on top of us, we need to go back to the roots of our anger to get rid of it and live more serenely.

Somniloquy: Why Do Some People Talk In Their Sleep?

“You know you told me your life story last night?” Of course, telling your partner what you’ve been up to is pretty cool. Except if you do it in your sleep… Some people can talk in their sleep! So if you live on your own, no problem, but if you sleep with someone, it immediately becomes more annoying. Why do we talk in our sleep? Is it something that can disturb our sleep? What can we do to stop it?

Why Do I Feel Like Stay Home All The Time?

I like being and staying at home. It’s almost unthinkable to say that, having lived through a year of the pandemic and lockdowns, yet I’m one of those who doesn’t get bored at home. And I confess, I’m sometimes reluctant to leave the house. Blasphemy! Being a home bird is often perceived badly, but I’m ok with it, and I’m not as anti-social as it seems…

What's The Point In Getting Married Nowadays?

Now there’s a good question! Personally, I’d never dreamed of getting married, but all of that changed rather recently. The princess dress, the veil, the first dance, all that seemed a bit overwhelming for me. And yet, do you know what? I’ve been married for just over 3 years now. So, why did I make a U-turn on my opinion towards this commitment? The answer is; purely because of love.

Is It Time For You To Change Jobs? Will This Make Your Life Better?

I’m 30 years old and I can’t imagine myself doing the same job my whole life. Sometimes I dream of simple things like working with flowers. I keep this idea in the back of my head; becoming a florist would one day be a great adventure! Because yes, changing jobs isn’t impossible! Sometimes we get bored of our everyday routine, we don’t identify with what we do anymore, we no longer like our job, etc. So many reasons can lead to a career change!

6 Differences Between Being Self-Centered And Being A Narcissist

When it comes to mental health disorders, the parameters of each condition often seem blurry, and this explains why many of us have trouble identifying them. Plus, certain disorders frequently encompass similar symptoms and traits, making recognizing and therefore understanding them even more complicated. Let’s take being selfish and having a narcissistic personality disorder, for example. Because they overlap on such a huge scale, upon first glance, they do in fact seem indistinguishable to many of us. That being said, when you dig a little deeper, the differences do become more and more apparent.

How Do You Know A Narcissist Is Cheating?

Narcissism is wholly incompatible with healthy relationships, which goes some way in explaining why people with this personality disorder always believe the grass is greener elsewhere. Indeed, fidelity isn’t something they excel in and adds to their exhaustive list of weaknesses alongside their love of manipulation and dishonesty. However, they are so cunning and crafty that catching them out and confirming your intuitions is no easy feat. To make things easier for you, here are the 10 signs you need to look out for if you believe your narcissistic man is cheating on you.

10 Signs The Narcissist Discarding Phase Has Been Activated

The most important thing to understand when dealing with a narcissist is that their reign of terror won't last forever. Now, whilst their torment underway, it will no doubt be one of the most harrowing things you can mentally go through. However, when the abuser decides they've had enough of you, they'll halt their horrific abuse in a heartbeat and look for someone else. People with narcissistic personality disorders are constantly on the lookout for new prey and when they find someone who fills their criteria, they'll move into the discarding phase of their plan. After all, they aren't very eco-friendly, their motto is out with the old, in with the new!

8 Dangerous Mind Games That All Narcissists Play

People with narcissistic personality disorders love playing games because it reinforces their sense of control and validates their need to pull the strings. Now, the idea of playing games may seem fairly harmless and innocent, but the truth could be further away from the reality when these manipulative personalities are involved. Indeed, narcissists are always one step ahead of the rest of us, which makes it difficult to recognize when they are toying with people. So, to open your eyes to what they are truly capable of, discover the lengths they’ll go to, to remain on top.

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

How to detect a narcissist


"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde


How to soothe an anxiety attack