Sex is a perfectly normal and healthy part of human nature. Indeed, an active libido can often be considered a positive sign of sound mental health. There is, however, a critical point where your sexual desires can overtake healthy levels and be classified as a behavioural addiction.
Whilst most people enjoy a healthy, active sex life, it can sometimes be self-evident when someone is addicted. Healthy sexual desires, when unfulfilled, will be disappointing rather than devastating to the individual. Support becomes necessary when your sexual appetite and actions start to affect your personal and professional life.
Sexual Addiction and Mental Health Conditions
Sexual addiction is oftentimes a symptom rather than a condition on its own. It is estimated that many individuals suffering from sex addiction also have a history of previous trauma or other mental health conditions. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Mood disorders, including bipolar disorder.
- Anxiety disorders.
- History of suicide attempts.
- Childhood Trauma.
- Personality disorders.
- Other addictive disorders.
- Impulse control disorders.
- And more…
So What Signs Are There of Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction can present in many ways, the following list is not exhaustive. Like any addiction, how it affects one individual will vary between every person with this condition. It is important to speak to a professional if you feel that you or one of your loved ones has a sexual addiction.
- Obsessive sexual thoughts. Chronic thoughts and fantasies about sexual situations can be one of the first signs of a sexual addiction. This is especially the case when they become obsessive and/or interfere with other responsibilities.
- Spending Excessive Lengths of Time Engaging in Sexual Activities. An example of this frequently viewing pornography, or excessive masturbation. Alternatively, frequently searching for sexual encounters, can be a sign of this.
- Feeling Shame and/or Depression Because of your Sexual Appetite. This can be especially poignant when individuals feel shame about their ability to control their sexual urges. These feelings can have an incredibly negative impact on one’s mental health.
- Excluding oneself or avoiding other activities. One might find themselves fixated on sex to the point where they avoid their responsibilities or prioritise their sexual appetite over their loved ones.
- Cheating on partners. When one’s sexual appetite leads them to regularly search for stimulation outside their relationship, this can be a big sign of an addiction.
- Engaging in increasingly risky or inappropriate behaviours. Like many addictions the ‘high’ one receives from each encounter with their addiction slowly becomes harder to achieve. Thus, leading individuals to seek out more risky or inappropriate behaviours to achieve their high. This can lead to disruption of lives alongside potential criminal actions. This can become concerning when your behaviours start to go against your regular personal values or religious beliefs.
- Committing criminal sex offenses. This is a serious sign that one has a dangerous sexual addiction. If you or anyone you know is considering or already committing criminal sex offenses, then please seek help immediately.
- You can’t stop these behaviours despite negative consequences. Sexual addictions can have a dramatic effect on anyone’s personal and professional lives. We understand that not everyone has the capability to curb their sexual desires when an addiction goes too far. This can be incredibly demeaning, especially when oneself or one’s loved ones are getting hurt.
A sex addict may feel:
- Guilt, shame, or remorse.
- Hopelessness or powerless over their addictive behaviour.
- Depressed and lonely.
- Fearful or anxious.
- Even potentially suicidal.
Even if you don’t feel like you can attribute any of the previous signs to yourself but feel like your sexual desires are having an adverse effect on you, please get in contact. No situation is too small, too simple, too personal, or too big for us to help.
Get Help Today
If you, or someone you know is struggling with over-stimulated sexual impulses, New Leaf Recovery are here for you! We advise that you seek professional support as soon as possible to help you through your addiction. Contact us today through our online contact form or give us a call at 0330 999 0330.