What Are The Signs That Someone Has A Sexual Addiction?

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated May 3, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Tanya Harell, LPC

Sex is definitely an important part of life, and many people feel that it’s one of life’s greatest pleasures. It’s normal to desire sex, and everyone has a sex drive. However, some people become addicted to sex, and they seek it out to the detriment of their own health. There are many people out there who don’t take sexual addiction seriously enough. Having a sexual addiction is very tough, and it makes it so that a person has a hard time focusing on anything except sex. As you might expect, this can lead to various problems in life, and some have even ruined relationships due to sexual addiction.

If you’re wondering whether you have a sex addiction or if you’re worried that someone you loved might be dealing with sex addiction, then it’s good to be informed about the topic. There are certain signs that someone has a sexual addiction that you can look out for. Keep reading to learn about the behaviors that are associated with sexual addiction and what you can do to get help. Sex addiction is not easy to cope with, but people can overcome it with the help of professionals.

Compulsive Sexual Behaviors

One of the most significant signs that someone is a sex addict is that they will be very compulsive about sex. Compulsive sexual behaviors can involve many different types of sex acts. Some sex addicts might compulsively masturbate while others might seek out unsafe sex with various partners. Sexual behavior like this can have a very negative impact on someone’s life. These are normal urges where someone just feels like masturbating sometimes. Compulsive sexual behaviors like this are extreme, and it might be as if someone can’t help but to do this act no matter what the situation is.

For some people, compulsive sexual behaviors are so strong that they will just focus on them to the detriment of their responsibilities. Some can become so addicted to sex that they will forget about the need to go to work or do other important things. Some people have lost jobs because of having a strong sexual addiction. Many have ruined relationships due to sexual addiction as well, and it’s something that requires treatment to get better. Sexual addiction is stronger than most people know, and unusual sexual behaviors could be the first sign that someone has a sex addiction.

Having Affairs

Many people who have a sexual addiction of some kind wind up cheating on their spouses or partners. This is why having affairs could be considered a sign that someone is a sex addict. Having an affair doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a sexual addiction, but it could be a sign that something is amiss. If someone has had multiple affairs and just can’t stop cheating on their spouse or partner, then that’s a sign that they’re addicted to sex. A strong sexual addiction like this can cause common sense to fly out the window, and a person might continue to seek out sex no matter what the consequences are.

If you have felt compelled to seek out sex partners even though you’re in a relationship with someone that you love, then you might have a sexual addiction. It is possible to get treatment for this sexual addiction, but you’ll need to reach out for help. If you feel like you can’t control your sexual urges, then that is a problem that can turn your life upside down. Just know that there are people who care about you and that you can get well again. If you have a supportive partner who doesn’t want to leave you and wants you to get well, then consider taking the time to talk to a therapist about what is happening.

Seeking Out Sex With Strangers

Another sign to look out for is when people seek out sex with complete strangers. Some people semi-regularly try to pick up others at bars and who are promiscuous by nature. Not everyone who is promiscuous indeed has a sexual addiction, but many people who make unsafe sex choices are sex addicts. If you or someone you love often seeks out sexual encounters with strangers, then they might need help. Some sex addicts even turn to prostitutes to satiate their sexual desires.

You can understand that this situation is very unsafe for everyone involved. Seeking out sex with strangers will put an individual at a much higher risk for contracting STDs. If the person with a sexual addiction still has a regular sex partner or spouse, then it’s possible that they could pass this STD on to them as well. There are physical health implications for these unsafe sex choices to consider. This is why it’s such a good idea to seek out help if you’re worried that you or someone you know is showing signs of sexual addiction.

Watching Pornography Constantly

It’s also worth noting that sex addiction and porn addiction can go hand-in-hand. You might feel very compelled to watch porn all the time because you can’t get enough sex in your life. This sign goes along with the compulsive sexual behavior mentioned earlier. An individual might feel like watching porn at inopportune moments, or they might not be able to focus on life responsibilities due to thinking about sex and porn. If someone watches porn much more often than normal, then that’s a sign of sexual addiction or porn addiction.

That isn’t to say that watching porn is a completely bad activity or that people who enjoy porn are sex addicts. Some people use porn as a simple aphrodisiac, and others find it entertaining to watch when they’re in the mood for something sexy. This is different from watching porn constantly and being addicted to all things sex-related. Your porn viewing habits could be an indicator of a sex addiction if you’re incapable of controlling your urges.


Exhibitionism is another troubling sign that someone has a sex addiction. Those struggling with sexual addiction might try to put themselves in sexual situations. For example, they might get very turned on by putting themselves in positions where they’re being exposed. Some people expose themselves in public due to having these uncontrollable sexual urges. In modern times, people have taken to online exhibitionism as a safer and legal alternative. However, the act of posting lewd pictures online can be very damaging to your life, and it can also hurt your relationships.

If you or someone you love is showing signs that they might be an exhibitionist, then this could be related to sexual addiction. Some people spend an inordinate amount of time posting pictures online or seeking out sexual validation. This can be harmful in a lot of ways, and talking to someone about what you’re going through might be useful. If this behavior is paired with other behaviors from this list, then it’s most likely going to be good to work with professionals to try to get your sexual addiction under control.


Voyeurism is another behavior that is commonly associated with people who struggle with sexual addiction. This is a paraphilic disorder that involves a person feeling a strong urge to look at people who don’t know they’re being watched. For example, a voyeur might try to look at someone while they’re taking a shower or while they’re undressing. This is actually illegal, and it’s violating someone’s rights to try to look at them while they’re doing activities that should be kept private. A person who does this has strong sexual urges stemming from having a sexual addiction.

Sex Addiction Can Lead To Depression

It’s also worth noting that sex addiction can lead to depression, anxiety, and other types of pain. Many people who have a sexual addiction wind up turning to substance abuse to try to dull the pain that they’re feeling inside. It isn’t unusual at all for someone to struggle with alcoholism on top of having a sexual addiction. Drug abuse is also common for those with sex addiction, and it can be a wicked cycle.

This is why getting the help of a professional is so important if you suspect that you or someone you love has a sex addiction. Sex addicts need to have the support, and a professional can help to determine the best way to treat things. Most people are going to need to work with a therapist to overcome their problems. It can take time, but help for sex addiction is available.

Many Types Of Therapy Can Help

Many types of therapy can help those with sex addiction problems. You can turn to a therapist who will make use of cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques to help you change the way you’re doing things. You can retake control of your life, and you can get ideas back on track. It’s normal to feel lost when you’re struggling with sex addiction, but you don’t have to face things alone. A therapist will help you to find the therapy style that will work best for you, and you’ll be able to find a happy place in life once more.

It’s also possible to get help online without having to leave home. Online therapy is an affordable, discreet, and convenient way to get the therapy that you need. Whether you want to find an in-person therapist or if you’d prefer to seek out discreet online therapy options, you’re going to have allies in this fight. Reach out whenever you’re ready and know that sex addiction can be beaten.

Helpful mental health resources delivered to your inbox
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.