What is Sex Addiction?

Sex addiction is an escalating obsessive preoccupation with sexual fantasy and behavior where seeking sexual fantasy and sex has become a primary life focus. Over time, casual sex and porn escalates into addiction as the addict struggles to gain control over repetitive and compulsive involvement with strip clubs, prostitution, sensual massage, affairs, anonymous in-person sex, app based hooks-ups, etc.  As a result, active sex addicts often lose precious relationships, beloved families and marriages, friends, hobbies, jobs, career and other life goals,  due to their highly shameful and  hidden addiction. 

In today’s digital world, some self described “porn addicts” addicts never actually move beyond ‘pixel sex’ into ‘people sex.’ Such people are addicted to the same fantasy-fueled, sexual intensity based problem as are typical sex addicts, but these folks tend to be younger, more socially isolated and unable to form meaningful sexual or intimate relationships because of their obsession with porn and online sex. 

All sex (and porn) addicts use the intense feelings generated by increased sexual fantasy and behaviors to emotionally escape from stress, anxiety, shame, loneliness, social discomfort, boredom, and other uncomfortable feelings. Sex addicts use the excitement of sexual fantasy to ‘escape’ from life the same way, and for many of the same reasons as drug addicts and alcoholics abuse substances.  In this way, sex addiction is more about seeking emotional stability, soothing and escape via sexual fantasy, than it is about the sexual act itself. Thus a sex addict can spend days, even weeks preoccupied with planning a sexual escapade, only to have the act itself take a few minutes. 

Sex (and porn addicts) inevitably evolve secret compartmentalized lives meant to hide the addiction, but that simultaneously exhaust and depress them. Ultimately, living a ‘double life’ leads to social and emotional isolation, diminished self-esteem, depression, relationship problems, trouble at work/school. 

Sexual addiction is far more than a pop culture concept. The World Health Organization formally defined it as a defined mental health disorder in 2018 (Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder), a problem requiring expert evaluation and treatment. Addiction is a puzzle that no one solves without support, direction and meaningful accountability. If you think you or a loved one might be sex or porn addicted, we suggest you take this anonymous 25-question sex and porn addiction screening test. You can also contact us with questions via email or phone us at (747) 234-4325.

Speak with a Seeking Integrity Staff Member Regarding Treatment. Call (747) 234-4325
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