7 Signs of Sex Addiction

February 12, 2015 Becky Doyle

Some people believe that adding the word “addiction” to any vice is a cheap ploy to excuse bad behavior. But the fact is, that any dopamine-releasing activity can be addictive, and this includes sex. Here are seven signs of sex addiction.

[caption id="attachment_2837" align="alignright" width="300"]Sex addiction is more common than many people think. Read these 7 signs of sex addiction to see if you may be addicted to sex. Courtesy of, Creative Commons license[/caption]

There are several types of addictions: substance, behavioral, and impulse control disorders recognized by the treatment community, but not all are recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Sex addiction is among those conditions not yet acknowledged by the APA.1

Sex addiction is not just an excuse created by cheating spouses to beg for clemency.

Seven Signs of Sex Addiction

Like with most addictions, a sex addict's life has become dysfunctional on some level, because of any combination of the following seven symptoms.

Sex Addiction Sign #1: Sex is almost all you think about.

Addicts often obsess over the focal point of their addiction, in this case, sex. Sex addicts may often find themselves preoccupied with sexual thought, even when they are supposed to be doing something else.

Sex Addiction Sign #2: You engage in sexual activities in high-risk situations.

Sex addicts may engage in any number of illegal activities which could lead to arrest or other adverse consequences, such as ruining relationships or being fired from a job. Addicts of all kinds often take these types of risks in pursuit of their addiction.

Sex Addiction Sign #3: You want to cut back on the amount or type of sexual activity, but cannot.

A classic symptom of addiction is trying to limit or control a behavior unsuccessfully. Drug addicts and alcoholics find that after the first drink or drug, they cannot reliably predict how much they will use or for how long. The same is true for someone addicted to sex. If you cannot control how often you engage in sexual behavior, where, or with whom, you may have a problem.

Sex Addiction Sign #4: After sex, you feel depressed.

Addicts chase substances to change the way they feel by altering their brain chemistry. After that high passes, addicts often plummet into a depressive state. Imagine the burn-out sensation you have after an hour-long sugar rush, it’s very similar.

Sex Addiction Sign #5: If you don’t get sex when you want it, you are angry or irritated.

Instant gratification is what drives most addictive behavior. As addicts, we become used to getting what we want whenever we want it. Must like a spoiled child who has always been given everything they demanded, addicts tend to become unpleasant people if their cravings are denied.

Sex Addiction Sign #6: You spend a considerable amount of time and money on strip clubs, adult bookstores and movie houses.

When a habit infringes upon your livelihood, (the ability to pay bills on time or meet other obligations) then you have a serious problem. If you are more willing to spend money on sexual activities or materials than you are to keep a roof over your head, your priorities have been misaligned by addiction.

Sex Addiction Sign #7: You need to engage in sexual activity more often or with multiple partners in order to achieve a desired effect.

At some point for all addicts, it becomes increasingly more difficult to achieve a desired level of ecstasy. For an alcoholic, this when his or her tolerance increases and more alcohol is needed to achieve the same effect as before. As a result, a sex addict may increase the frequency and risk level of their behaviors in an effort to get the high they are chasing.

These seven signs of Sex Addiction were compiled from information found in Symptoms of Sexual Addiction, by Dr. Michael Herkov.

APA Reference
Doyle, B. (2015, February 12). 7 Signs of Sex Addiction, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Becky Doyle

Millie Hue
June, 22 2018 at 6:42 pm

A friend of mine talked to me yesterday telling me that she might need to undergo counseling because of her current condition. I appreciate her for being brave enough to voice out what she's been going through. It appears that she might have a sex addiction. After hearing about this, I decided that I will search for the signs of a person having that condition to make sure that she really needs counseling. It seems that a lot of the things that are listed here in your article is present in her as what she has shared. One of the things that she really experiences is what you said about being depressed after sex. As you mentioned, addicts will have a change in their emotions during the process but after it, they will be in a depressive state just like having a burn-out sensation after the sugar rush. Thanks for the information!

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