What Is Sex Addiction? What Are Its Signs And Symptoms?

Are you aware that there are 21 million Americans who suffer from addiction? Whether drugs or alcohol or something else, these addictions destroy lives and the people around them. The positive news is that you are never alone, and professionals are here to help.

What if you suffer from something as pleasurable as sex? Well, as a sex addict it may not be so pleasurable after all. What is sex addiction anyhow?

In our sex addiction guide, we unlock this puzzling question. We seek to understand its signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment. Keep reading to learn more.

Sex Addiction

What Is Sex Addiction?

When breaking down the question “what is sex addiction?” there are many parallels to clinical addiction.

Sex addiction is the compulsive behavior of sex even though it has negative ramifications. For a sex addict, the act of sex isn’t fulfilling at all—it’s quite the opposite and emotionally painful.

While it may not always be deemed as a diagnosis, the negative consequences are very real in relationships and one’s mental health.

Signs and Symptoms

A person with sex addiction will view sex as a form of escapism from psychological issues or painful emotions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and isolation.

Not all in the medical field see sex addiction as a diagnosis. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) doesn’t even list it as a clinical diagnosis.

The current stance on sex addiction is that it is subjective and vague. With that said, there are commonalities and traits to look out for:

  • Engagement of other forms of sex when alone (pornography, phone sex, etc.)
  • Habitual masturbation
  • Domination of sex in one’s life
  • Risky and/or inappropriate activities (public, exhibitionism, sex clubs)
  • Multiple partners and/or affairs

Hypersexuality and low-self esteem are two of the main culprits. When answering “what is sex addiction?” we often see that the cycle is short-term relief followed by feelings of regret and shame.


When seeking out sex addiction advice, you’ll want to understand what’s causing the issue in the first place. One theory is that it is an obsessive-compulsive behavior. Another is that it is a way of dealing with or coping with early traumas (that may or may not include sex).


A sex addict won’t be able to stop the behavior on their own. There must be an intervention of some sort on their behalf.

If you are suffering as a sex addict, know you are not alone. We strongly advise you to seek out professional help (psychologist, psychiatrist, sex therapist) in addition to joining S-Anon.

Continue Your Sex Education

Sex Addiction

Answering “what is sex addiction?” isn’t always so plain and simple. With so many people dealing with addictions, there is strength in numbers.

For more intel on sex, health, and the like, we advise you to peek through our blog. The more you can understand your negative patterns, compulsive behaviors, and disorders, the better off you’ll be at rising above them.