Is Sex Addiction Real?

Some might chuckle at the thought of a sex addiction and surely that topic will bear the brunt of many jokes but it really is a cause for concern for some. The funny thing is that sex addiction is not even truly about sex at all. The sex addict suffers from depression, stress, and anxiety and this is what fuels their sexual behavior. The biggest numbers of sex addicts are gay males but anyone can be a sex addict.

The DSM-5 does not recognize sex addiction as a real disorder but that does not lessen the fact that it is a very real issue. Sex addiction is defined as people who continue to partake in sex acts regardless of the consequences involved. They just don’t care who gets hurt.

Some examples of sex addiction are the man who solicits sex from prostitutes all too often, an obsession to porn, consistent masturbation, repeated affairs, and exposing themselves in public without any regard at all about getting fired, arrested, caught or catching a sexually transmitted disease.

It is difficult for sex addicts to maintain any relationships because they are riddled with guilt and shame since they cannot stop what they are doing so they live a life of loneliness and seclusion. It usually takes something drastic for a sex addict to seek help, like getting caught or arrested.

Treatment for sex addiction consists of individual counseling and support groups so these people can get a clearer perspective from others who are also struggling. Getting a sponsor is often a good thing so when the urge to act seems overwhelming a simple phone call can possibly change their direction.

It is not difficult to see the strong link between sex addiction and even drug addiction. There is such a strong pull that these folks get fixated on one thing, be it drugs or a behavior, and nothing else matters. If you know someone that is obsessed with risky behavior will you talk to them and see if you can help?

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  • I agree it's real and I agree that it often manifests in different ways. The motivation behind sex addiction is also different from the usual physiological needs.  What's also quite surprising is that sometimes, those people who are experiencing this kind of problem are the ones least expected, because it may not always show in their personality.  Overall, just like other types of addiction, sex addiction needs professional help as well as a process of therapy to find out what's actually causing it.
  • Sex addiction is very real for the people suffering from it. Actually, even "ordinary" people can destroy their lives due to failing to remain faithful to their partners due to sex addiction , so it affects a whole spectrum, not only those recognized as mentally ill.

    We must separate addiction from behavior though. Even if sexual addiction is declared as not real by a medical consensus, this does not mean that sexual behavior is never a problem for the people feeling affected by it. A person engaged in sex with multiple partners wanting to quit, may have a very hard time when actually doing so, but this may be more related to not having anything to fill his/her life.

    When sexual addiction is correlated with the abuse of drugs or alcohol, if such addiction is controlled, the 'addiction' to sex also disappear, so it might be worthy to dig deeper in the cause of the emerging symptoms.
  • Where exactly are you getting data that demonstrates gay males are the most prone to sex addiction? That sounds more anecdotal than anything. If you are basing it off of statistics such as arrests, you need to take into consideration that gay men are often more targeted for these types of arrests to begin with. I saw this happen quite frequently in Pittsburgh and Cleveland gay bars, where the police actively patrol the areas trying to bust people for hooking up or making out in their cars and try and accuse them of prostitution and other charges. How often do you hear of cops strolling through "lovers lane" breaking up straight couples and sending them to court over disorderly conduct charges or indecent exposure? It happens much more frequently to gay people.

    In addition, it's not as easy to just "get a room" or have sex at home with their partners if they live in households where others don't approve of their sexual orientations. I'm a gay male, and I can tell you, you never know what type of response you are going to get when trying to check into a hotel/motel with another male - I've been turned away by establishments in the past or got push back from the staff over getting a single-bed room or even a room together at all. Some landlords will not even rent to gay couples, and they can also face difficulties looking for real estate together.

    That said, one of the people in particular that I know of who is constantly obsessed with sex is actually a heterosexual female, and former friend. She was on Plenty Of Fish every day trying to get guys to come over. There were some days she was hooking up with more than one guy in a single day. You couldn't even carry a conversation with her because she was too busy hitting people up on there with her phone. Then she would start crying and having emotional breakdowns if she couldn't get one of these guys to come over on a given night.

    There were times she would call me to come over and hang out, and within minutes of me getting there she made arrangements for some guy to come over and hook up with her, and she would be sending me on my way. I got sick of her blowing me off (figuratively, lol) and only talking about sex 24/7, so I cut her out of my life. She wasn't a friend to me at all, she just wanted someone to unload all her emotional baggage and insecurity issues on, in between her trying to get screwed every day.
  • I think it's real especially among men. Not to say women aren't addicted it just seems it's mostly men. I have heard stories, and actually seen guys that will hunt for any female to sleep with. The guy didn't care about looks or anything just wanted sex.
  • Yes. Sex addiction is real and everyone can be a victim of this. Sadly, not all people understand it or just in denial of this, and they will just sometimes shrug it off, laugh, and say, "Hey, you're just jealous because I have an amazing sex life."

  • It is a very real issue and addiction....and causes those suffering from it real pain, and extreme damage in their life. Its not the same as other addictions but definitely does the same amount of damage. 
  • I agree that sex addiction is a real thing, just like nicotine and alcohol addiction. I happen to know a girl who is a sex addict, I used to be friend with her until some things happened, she was telling me about her experiences and how she's done it all day from the age of 13 or so. I think she was psychologically disturbed by some facts, that's the only explanation I've been able to find so far.
  • What's too much is definitely toxic and lethal for everyone, regardless if they actually notice or not, which concludes the fact sex addiction is real. Having sex 2-3 times per week is quite usual among people in their 20s, but 9-10 times per week is definitely unproductive and nocive for both parts involved.
  • The thread is superb and is informative. As you say, sex in itself is not the problem but obsessive thoughts about sex are. The problem sex addicts face is that society alienates them and looks at them as inherent danger. This compounds their problem, but yes every problem has a solution and one needs the right bent of mind to overcome it.
  • I think the issue here is that sex becomes an outlet for one's frustrations, anxiety, depression, etc. Everything that gets suppressed needs to come out in one way or another eventually. Some drink, others overeat, take substances, or engage in excessive sex. It's all a form of dealing with deeper seated psychological issues. So, in my opinion, there is no doubt that sex addiction is real. It's just that it's a lot more than it seems. 
  • I agree that it is VERY real and can be heartbreaking and can destroy a person or a relationship. The thing that just really bugs me besides it not always being recognized as an addiction is that it's not widely recognized among women. I see girls labeled as sluts all the time that may actually have a problem and need help. *points to self*
  • It doesn't matter what type of addiction it is. Addiction is real and it comes in all forms and gradations. Rather than deny its existence, we should accept the fact that humans as we are, we have weaknesses and lose our way sometimes. It's more important to be accepting of our weak sides because by accepting these weaknesses, we understand and love ourselves better. Once we get a grip on who we are, little by little, we stop making excuses for ourselves and start living lives free from addiction (whatever that may be).
  • In some ways a sex addiction may even be worse than a drug addiction. Assuming you don't charge or pay for sex, it seems like it would be easy to say no one is getting hurt, it isn't illegal, and it doesn't cost every penny of every paycheck
  • This is quite a thread but for the sake of addiction, may I post my addition.

    There was this actress who acts in B movies, not a porno though. Let's call her RR. In a stroke of luck, RR got popular in the mainstream and even won some awards. A friend in the movie industry told me that RR was a sex addict. Pardon me for the vulgarity but may I relate what a film editor told me. He was editing a sex scene of RR with an upcoming hunk. But before cutting the vulgar portion of the film footage, the editor heard and audio. When he magnified the volume, it was loud and clear that RR was telling the hunk to insert his weapon. So that's clearly sex addiction. Right?
  • I can only think of one actress with those initials. But she doesn't do a lot of sex scenes, as far as I know.
    That doesn't make anyone a sex addict. Maybe RR is into being naughty when its in everybodys face, but no one can see it. Or maybe the two of them have has sex before. Or maybe someone slipped her some raw oysters.
    The thing about it, in my opinion, is addiction has to be a pattern of behavior. There's no way of knowing if RR does this regularly.
  • I definitely believe it's real, but I think from what I've read about it it seems to be the manifestation of other feelings (I guess that's like all addictions to a degree). It might be filling a void because of loneliness, sadness, previous trauma, unfulfilled relationships with others - it's hard to say because I feel like the reason why would differ a fair bit from person to person. I do think though that it's a real thing and does need to be treated with the same seriousness that other addictions are.
  • @karmaskeeper, there's a saying that the plural of anecdote is not data. There's a dividing line between someone who has a lot of sex, and someone with a real compulsion that continues despite real negative consequences. The Mayo clinic considers sex addiction as a form of OCD, and the reality of the research is that when looking at sexual compulsivity men have been vastly overrepresented in the studies, so there is no way to accurately assess how it breaks down along gender lines.
  • I saw a show once where a totally normal woman had been in some kind of accident. I can't remember if was a wreck or what. Anyway she had hit her head and after that accident she was a sex addict. Even her husband spoke about it. She would see random men on the street and approach them. I hate sex lol but I do know the feeling of OCD I have an obession with picking at sores. It sucks I really can't stop I drives me insane.
  • Sex addiction in our world today is very real. A large percent of people watch porn on their phones. When a person keeps engaging in sexual activities that is destroying his life and that of his family, that can only be known as sex abuse. A person addicted to sex craves it all the time, thinks about it all the time, and sees the opposite sex as a sex object.
  • Sex addiction is pretty much real and can take people to the most abominable crimes. We don't need to commit crimes to be addicted to sex, anything that is too much is simply not healthy. 
  • It's very real, I have a friend in college, he just never get enough !! he is having sex with girls all the time, he don't get tired ! it's something about physiological and psychological problems I guess
  • I don't personally believe that sex addiction is a real thing. As much as I love sex, and I'm polygamous so I partake in sexually activities with a wide range of people, I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

    The only time it comes into play as being wrong is when affairs happen. Saying you have a "sex addiction" isn't an excuse for that, and I think a lot of people try to use it as such. 
  • yes, it's real. when one uses sex (or anything) to get that fix...or to feel valued or worthy, and cannot get is an addiction.
  • I guess I just find it hard to believe that people could become addicted to sex. Yes, I think you can love it a lot, but I've never looked at it as an addiction.
  • I have a friend who is addicted to sex. He works in town and during lunch breaks, he goes to brothels to have sex. He confided in me he thinks of sex all the time and that he cant do without it. And the most interesting thing is that he has a steady girlfriend.
  • People can become addicted to it just like drugs. It makes you feel good and improves the mood and it's like a natural high. It's like getting high without drinking or drugs. Although a lot mix drinking and drugs with sex and get into a lot of risky activities.  So yeah it's a real addiction just like drugs, alcohol or food. 
  • I'm curious as to what you guys would all consider to be sex addiction then. 

    Is it when you hit the point that you're willing to pay for it? Is it when you cheat? Is it when you want sex all of the time, or when you have a really active sex life?

    I almost see this as people thinking that sex is to make babies and that you shouldn't get pleasure out of it or something.
  • I feel that my addiction to sex is related to my OCD. I feel this way because sex has become a compulsion for me. In all its graphic ways, shapes, and forms, I find that it is one of my many poor coping mechanisms that have become something I can't shake. I have found myself in so many bad places in order to feed this particular addiction, and it is one of my most shameful vices. I care very little that if it is placed among the disorders of the DSM-5, people who suffer from this, know it. We are all well aware that engaging in the behavior that we do, is not "normal" and is indicative of a bigger issue. 

  • I agree that it is real. Too much of anything can be bad as I always like to think. 
  • i do not agree with with the concept that sex addiction should not be categorized. Yes, some people label themselves as sex addicts and probably not just as some would consider themselves alcoholic and probably aren't. Sex addiction goes beyond the act of sex. Not everyone who has sex with multiple partners is a sex addict but a sex addict may be having sex with multiple partners if that makes any sense. More is explained on my blog
  • I definitely believe that it is real and like any addiction, can be dangerous. 
  • It seems to be more prevelant among men because women withhold it from men so much and make it to where their needs are largely unmet anymore. That becomes a problem when it's a part of your biological design as a male to need it, be it for pleasure or procreation. Couple that with the fact that feminism and insulting men at biological levels has become commonplace and even backhandedly socially "acceptable", sex addiction is very much a real thing for this reason as well as many others, but for this reason especially. It is said that prostitution is among the oldest of industries of mankind, and when it comes to marketing: "Sex always sells". These things are true, but I don't feel it's because of the nature of man as much as it is the cruelty of women toward man by majority to make it a problem for the long run.
  • Yes of course it's real, I'm surprised the medical community does not say the same thing.
    Sex releases similar chemicals as do drugs, which is why I would say it's a very real problem.
  • I think sex addiction is real. I must say that it is hard to really know whether a person is addicted to sex in an unhealthy way. So maybe if that person cannot deal with day to day life without sex, that's the point that they're addicted, much like any other addiction. Or maybe if they can't help themselves and have sex with other people even though they do love their partner. Or they can't have one partner because they have sex with other people and just cannot stay monogamous. 
  • While a sex addiction might sound strange to some, I've no doubt that for some people it's very real.

    An addiction is something you can't stop doing that as a negative impact on your life causing adverse effects, so in that respect anything that fulfills them requirements can be classed as an addiction and that includes sex.
  • It's interesting that you only mentioned males, but it's also a really common thing on females. And yes, as you've said not a lot of people see sex addiction as a "real" one but I think that almost every activity can cause addiction, it just depends on the person.
  • Oh it is very real ! I was addicted at 22. And I didn't even know it. I mean it was "fun" for me, but as I grew older, and my relationship with my then girlfriend matured, I realized that I had spent my college days creating this addiction that was literally about to take my life in a bad direction.

    Of course, instead of succumbing to it, I fought and won that battle. But boy was it hard. Sex addiction is dangerous, and that is what people don't realize.
  • A sexual addiction is very real, however not everyone who engages in pornography has a sexual addiction. It also involve many different types of acting out including: escorts, massage parlors, same-sex attraction, and more. An important key is to understand that is nearly all cases, a sexual addiction is not about sex but instead is about dealing with an underlining anxiety or trauma. I wrote a brief article on several causes of sexual addiction. You can read it at:  
  • It is truly an addiction. This is one of the toughest addictions to let go. The main problem with sex addiction to sex is the guilt that is caused in the individual's mind. He keeps thinking that he is guilty and his friends and family would reject him if they were to find out. He secretly suffers the pain of  helplessness to not be open about something and his issues. I think the best thing he should do was to be open about it. He might disappoint them but they are the only group of people who are capable of solving this. 
  • I think the problem is the fear that some may use sex addiction as an excuse for wrongful behaviour.
    Some people are just selfish jerks or narcissistic and their actions which has nothing to do with addiction.
    To say that there is no such thing as sex addiction is wrong and very harmful though.
    People can become addicted to anything, and not providing help leaves an addict to walk a very destructive path.
    Its important to recognise that sex can and does become addictive and to ensure there are methods out there to help someone recover.
  • It is not a real disorder. It doesn't have anything to do with addiction.
  • Sex addiction is real. In a relationship, if the partners do not have same kind of interest for sex, it can be a grave problem. Marital rape is also a result of some kind of sex addiction. Watching porn and masturbating are also the results of sex addiction. 
  • Sex addiction is real. I remember one of my dad's friends was so addicted to having sex, that it harmed his partner's sexual organs due to repeat sex every day. It can become a very serious problem if repeated and needs a break!
  • I'm a sex addict. Some days I go to 2 hookers it's that bad. totally ruining me right now. got to stop doing it and go to a sex addict meeting to talk to a fellowship and start back up a road to recovery and healthier lifestyle.
  • Sex and porn addiction are behavioral addictions much like gambling addiction. They vary from more traditional substance addictions such as alcohol and drugs.

    I would tend to agree that sex addiction and porn addiction has it's roots and causes in some other underlying issues, concerns or trauma from the past. That doesn't change the fact that if we try to numb the pain of our past with porn, sex, alcohol or drugs that we can become addicted to acting out in those unhealthy ways. Then as a result of the acting out we become addicted and have all kinds of other problems. In my opinion, porn use can be a symptom of something underlying, that is used can lead to an addiction with a host of other problems. The key to breaking the addiction for me was to figure out what the underlying things were that needed to be addressed in more appropriate and healthy ways so that I could learn to not turn to porn numb out. Once I was able to do that I could break the cycle, the problems that came from porn addiction started to go away, and I naturally had less of a desire for porn because I was getting those needs met in appropriate ways. If you get a cold, you'll have the symptoms of a runny nose and cough. Focusing all your efforts on what kinds of tissues to buy or which cough drops you need misses the mark. You need to get at the underlying cold and then the nose will clear up and the sore throat will go away.

    Great article on the basics of sex addiction and how there are underlying and root issues that we sexualize and put porn and masturbation on top of to try to address which can lead to addiction and host of other problems from the addiction:

    Some other helpful sex and porn addiction resources:

  • Sex addiction is very real and has ruined many people's lives. I know a man that has been afflicted with this addiction since his late teens. It started with spending large amounts of money on sex lines and progressed to porn addiction. His porn addiction lead to him losing his job, marriage and children. One women is never enough and he cheats, betrays and lies to every women he professes his "love" for. He leads a double life and enjoys manipulating and deceiving these women into believing that they are his soulmate and he theirs. He gets a high by getting away with it time and time again. He always has several women that he is pursuing (saying the same thing to all of them) on dating websites, as well as using prostitutes, mocospace and Craig's list for hook up. He does not care what the hook ups look like, he just needs to get off. He does care about what the women he is pretending to be in a relationship with looks like. The women he shows to the world in order to hide his double life...his true self. They are beautiful, intelligent, successful, independent, loyal, loving and kind. He loves dangerous sex and does not care if he passes diseases on to these women he says he loves. He surrounds himself with what I can only imagine to be other sex addict. They set each other up with other women, their own girlfriends or wife's. They drug and rape them and this poor women have no idea what has happened to them. Once they are knocked out, he takes all his frustrations out on them. He has a large collection of photos of women being drugged and raped and he thinks its so hot. He also has some child pornography and lots of anal sex porn. He drugged his last girlfriend of 2 years (they lived together and were planning to get married by the end of the year) in order to rape her anally for over a year. She has snippets of this happening and now suffers with PTSD. Her life will never to the same because of this horrific addiction that she had no knowledge of. I've been reading about sex addiction and I have yet to come across a story of the sex addict raping or raping the women they are concealing their sex addiction from. Does anyone think that this man is suffering from more than a sex addiction?
  • Yes, sex addiction is real, it is in anyone at anytime. It is not so good addiction for anyone because more sex addiction make a man cruel.  
  • Lots of people are suffering with that problems. Many of them are attend in the rehabilitation center to get good results.
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