Signs of Sexual Addiction — 4 Questions to ask Yourself

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed what is not a sign of sexual addiction. While one person’s sexual preferences or sex drive may be different from another’s, this does not mean they have a sexual addiction. However, as with most types of addiction, there are some clear signs and symptoms of sexual addicting. If you have been struggling with things that may be signs of sexual addiction, such as infidelity, cheating or use of hook up apps for meaningless encounters, you may begin to wonder if you have an addiction.

If you’re still wondering if your behaviors are a sign or symptom of sexual addiction, there are a few clarifying questions you can ask yourself. Those with signs of compulsive sexual behavior will answer “yes” to some or all of these questions.

Is it a secret?

Think to yourself if you’re keeping this behavior a secret for anyone, be it your partner, friends, coworkers or other people in your life. Anything that cannot pass public scrutiny, especially among the people you care about most, is a red flag.

Is it abusive?

This question can be posed outward or inward — is the behavior abusive to myself or someone else? If you’re practicing behaviors that you know are abusive or hurtful will activate addiction. This could be to yourself — say, for instance, your addiction to pornography has lost you work or relationships — or to someone else, if you know a partner would be hurt by your actions.

Is it used to avoid painful feelings?

Much like alcoholics who use substances as a coping mechanism, some sexual addicts lean on their addiction to alter their mood. This does not mean that having healthy, consensual relationships make you feel happy long-term, but instead, that you turn to something like hook up apps for a momentary release of endorphins when you’re feeling down. 

Is it empty of caring or compassion?

In its most basic form, the concept of addiction is void of healthy human relationships. If you are not forming healthy, respectful bonds, but instead are devoid of emotions such as caring or empathy, the behavior may be an addiction.

How can I know for sure?

If you’re unsure if your actions or habits are an unhealthy sexual addiction, schedule an appointment with a licensed therapist. This is the first step in recovery  and can help you begin working toward a more healthy life.