Understanding Sex Addiction
Because sex addiction is often hidden from family and friends in a shroud of shame or denial, it has the capacity to endure and escalate over time. For those of us grappling with sex addiction, it feels like an overwhelming and unstoppable impulse. Secrecy, shame, guilt and fear can feel like insurmountable barriers to seeking help and these feelings can be compounded if the addiction occurs alongside infidelity or confusion over sexuality and/or gender identity.
When Does Sex Stop Being Healthy And Become An Addiction?
When clinicians talk about sex addiction, we're referring to a wide range of behaviours, including excessive masturbation or excessive use of porn, hookup apps and sexual acts of increasing intensity or frequency.
It’s important to understand that humans have diverse sexual tastes, practices and libido levels. However, sexual behaviour can become problematic when it becomes obsessive or compulsive, meaning we become preoccupied with these activities and find it difficult to stop. We may start to notice mounting negative consequences in our lives and, regardless of these negative impacts to ourselves and those around us, we continue these activities.
Specialists In The Field
South Pacific Private pioneered the treatment of sex addiction in Australia. We know the courage it takes to make that first step and reach out for help. And are committed to the highest levels of sensitivity, confidentiality and compassion.
We understand that for most people, sex addiction is not actually driven by sexual desire but by issues related to intimacy, the need to numb emotional pain, assert control, avoid emotional connection, balance moods or reduce anxiety. Sexual arousal may become a replacement for emotional intimacy. Cravings can be intense, can escalate, and we may suffer from symptoms of withdrawal if we abstain, just as happens with a substance addiction.
Indicators of sex addiction:
- Feelings of shame, despair, regret, confusion and denial following sexual encounters
- Excessive use of internet or mobile phone, pornography, or sex toys / dolls
- Excessive use of internet chat rooms or ‘hookup’ applications
- A strong preference for anonymous or impersonal sexual encounters, including blindfolds, gloryholes etc.
- Use of prostitution, escort services or cruising areas
- Escalating sexual fantasies, dependence on sexual kinks or boundary-pushing desires – A preference for significant age differences between you and a sex partner – Aggressive sexual behaviour, frequent sexual advances or high levels of sexual confidence
- Excessive time thinking about or planning sexual fantasies
- A high frequency of sexual encounters or numerous regular or irregular sexual partners
- Losing interest in a person after having had sex with them
- Mixing sex with pain, control or humiliation, either inflicting or requesting pain during sex, or seeking to be dominated or to dominate during sex
- Exhibitionism, voyeurism or sexual arousal related to the vulnerability or exploitation of another individual
If you’re concerned you may have a problem with sex addiction, you can use our self-assessment tool here to gain a better understanding of whether key indicators of sex addiction apply to your situation. To schedule a free, confidential, professional phone assessment, call our team seven days a week on 1800 063 332.