Understanding Sex Addiction Symptoms And Knowing When To Get Help

Updated January 30, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Debra Halseth, LCSW

Pretty much everyone loves sex, and it’s normal to want to seek out sex because it makes you feel good. However, there are millions of people who struggle with sex addiction, and they seek out sex in unhealthy ways. Sex addiction is something that can ruin lives if people don’t get help. There are various sex addiction symptoms that you should look out for if you’re worried that you or someone that you care about might have a problem. Understanding sex addiction symptoms and knowing when to get help could help you to keep your mental health from getting too bad.

Extreme Sexual Cravings

One of the most common symptoms of sex addiction is having extreme sexual cravings. Someone suffering from sexual addiction might desire sex a lot more than normal. They could think about sex all the time instead of just having a normal sex drive, and this shows that you’re having a mental health issue. This could lead them to seek out sexual encounters more often, and they might even make unsafe choices just to satiate their cravings. People with sex addiction want to have sex constantly, or they want to participate in sexual actions constantly.

It’s important to recognize that someone can have a sex addiction without having sex all the time, too. Some people are addicted to sex in different ways, and they don’t have access to sexual partners that others do. In cases like this, a person might become addicted to other types of sexual behavior. Compulsive masturbation and excessive pornography viewing could be used in place of having sex. Behaviors like this can also be detrimental because they can take someone’s attention away from their responsibilities.

The extreme sexual cravings experienced by sex addicts will make it tough to get through the day. People going through this have mental health problems that need to be appropriately treated. Without mental health treatment, it’s going to be tough for someone to get through life normally. Sex addiction will often cause people to miss work or lose important relationships due to making poor choices. These sexual addiction issues can cause someone’s life to become chaotic, and this can be hard to deal with.

Engaging In Unsafe Sex Practices

Many people with sex addiction wind up engaging in unsafe sex practices, too. They desire sex and want it so bad that they don’t take the time to think about their actions. Instead of seeking out safe and meaningful sexual encounters with others, they will turn to have sex with strangers and putting themselves in danger. When you have a sex addiction, using protection is also not going to be something that crosses your mind often enough. The urge to seek out sex might be so strong that you just can’t bring yourself to worry about things like condoms or birth control. This can lead to many health issues and unwanted pregnancies.

People engaging in these unsafe sex acts might deal with complex emotions as well. It isn’t unusual for some with sex addiction to feel shame or self-loathing after coming down from a sex high. Sex addiction is a mental health issue, and it needs to be treated properly. If you find yourself engaging in unsafe sex practices often, then know that you can break the cycle. There are people out there who understand what you’re going through, and you can get help whenever you’re ready.

Missing Work Or Other Important Events To Have Sex

One common thread among people who have sex addiction issues is that they might miss work or other important events to have sex. Have you ever called into work or failed to show up because you were trying to have sex with someone? Sex addiction can cause people to make poor choices, and this can cause them to lose their jobs if they don’t get help. A sex addict might not have the best mental health, and this could make them not consider the ramifications of missing work to pursue some type of sex act. It’s best to speak to a mental health professional to get this under control before it gets too bad.

Escalating Sexual Behaviors

Another symptom to look out for is the need to escalate your sexual behaviors. Sex addiction is just like other forms of addiction in many ways. It causes those who are addicted to sex to want to seek out more sex, and sometimes they want to escalate those behaviors to get more enjoyment. Someone might start getting interested in kinkier sex acts than usual due to having sexual addiction issues. This sex addiction could cause them to seek out more unsafe sex acts, and this could put them at even greater risk of having health complications. There are both mental health and physical health complications to consider when you’re engaging in unusual sex acts.

Your sexual behavior can change when you have a sex addiction. You might find yourself doing things that you’re not proud of because you can’t help the way that you feel. Many people get themselves in situations that they regret due to sex addiction issues. Mental health professionals can work with you to ensure that you get the treatment that you need. If your sexual behavior has become problematic as of late, then know that it’s not too late to seek help for what is going on in your life.

Constant Cheating

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that one of the most common symptoms of sex addiction is constant cheating. You might have someone in your life that you love very much. Despite this, you could be so compelled to seek out sex that you will constantly cheat on your spouse or partner. This could ruin your relationship with someone that you respect and cherish, but you can’t consider the consequences because you’re blinded by your sex addiction. Sexual addiction issues like this can be problematic, and mental health professionals will need to work with you so that you can get things under control.

Sex addiction makes you feel like you have no impulse control, and your mental health will suffer due to your actions. If you can’t seem to stop making poor choices and you’ve had multiple affairs, then you need to consider getting help. Getting through sex addiction by yourself is not easy, and you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re alone. Finding a mental health specialist will make it possible to move forward once again. You can stop feeling ashamed about sexual addiction and start feeling like you can take control with the help of mental health professionals.

Developing Depression And Other Problems

It’s also common for individuals with sexual addiction to develop other mental health issues. For example, someone who has sex addiction might feel bad about themselves due to the things that they’re doing. They might know in their heart that this isn’t who they are, and this could cause them to feel shame. Sex addiction can cause people to become depressed and develop self-esteem issues. This can create emotional scars that will be tough to heal, and getting the assistance of a mental health expert is recommended.

Feeling guilt is normal when you have a sex addiction, and you might not cope with that guilt in positive ways. Your mental health could continue to suffer if you don’t seek out treatment options. Some even turn to use drugs or drinking heavily to try to cope with the pain of sexual addiction. Don’t let yourself suffer and know that sex addiction is just like any other illness. It’s something that can be understood, and you can overcome sexual addiction with the help of a mental health expert. Your mental health can improve, and you can get through the depression that you’re experiencing right now.

When Should You Get Professional Help?

Knowing when to get professional help is important when you suspect that you have a sex addiction. If your mental health is suffering due to your sex addiction, then it’s probably best to look into treatment options now. As a general rule, you should consider mental health treatment when your sex addiction starts to negatively impact your life. If your performance at work is slipping or if your relationships are suffering due to your sex addiction, then you should see a mental health specialist. Getting an appointment with a therapist won’t take long, and it’s best to recognize when you have a problem sooner rather than later.

Some people have a hard time recognizing that they’re having mental health issues, though. You might need a family member or your spouse to step in and let you know that you have a problem. If someone has noticed your life spiraling out of control due to sex addiction, then try to take their concern to heart. Your friends and family want to see you get better, and they want your mental health to improve. This might take time, but you can get help for your mental health with your support system by your side.

Getting Treatment For Sex Addiction

Getting treatment for sex addiction is going to help you to feel better about your life. Your mental health might not be in a good place right now, but there are things that you can do to get help. The most common treatment for sex addiction is to speak to a therapist. Therapists will be able to help you work through your mental health issues at a steady pace. They will try to figure out what is causing your sex addiction and will work to understand your mental health issues completely. It can take time to get better, but you can make use of behavioral therapy to make huge changes in your life.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has helped many people to overcome sex addiction. This has been used to treat various mental health conditions for a long time, and it can work to help you get through sex addiction. Your mental health matters, and you can improve things by working with a skilled therapist who understands sex addiction. Behavioral therapy is great at helping patients get through mental health issues, and you can start to take steps toward curbing your sex addiction. It isn’t always going to be easy, but having the support of a therapist will make a world of difference when it comes to your mental health.

You can go to a therapist at a traditional office location, or you can try online therapy. Some people with sex addiction prefer online therapy because of how discreet it is. It’s simple to get mental health help without having to leave home, and online therapy is very affordable, too. You can choose whichever therapy option you think will work best for your situation. The important thing is to recognize that you need help with your mental health and to know that it’s possible to recover even when your sex addiction is extreme.

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