/ By Recovery Expert

While sex addiction isn’t listed as a diagnosable medical condition in the DSM-5, every therapist has encountered a sex addict, and more importantly, many sex addicts understand they’re grappling with a real problem that threatens their peace and stability. At some point, many sex addicts will need to check into an in-patient sex addiction rehab facility such as Desert Solace, where a highly qualified staff can guide them away from destructive behaviors and patterns and help them rebuild their lives in a positive way.

But as with any addiction, the first and most important step is to acknowledge that you have a problem. And sometimes it can be tough to tell if you have a sex addiction.

Defining Sex Addiction

To put it simply, a sex addict is a person who doesn’t have control over their sexual thoughts and behaviors. Contrary to the arguments of some critics, this is not an anti-sex position; sex is a natural, healthy behavior. Sex addiction is when the sexual impulse escapes individual regulation and takes over your life and thoughts in a disproportionate and negative manner.

A sex addict constantly craves sexual stimulation, just as a drug addict may crave their high. This uncontrollable desire begins to negatively affect their day-to-day life, and leads to behaviors such as compulsive sexual acts, pornography addiction, excessive sexual fantasies and indulgence in exhibitionism or voyeurism.

When a sex addiction becomes severe, the addict may have no control over their compulsive sexual acts. At this point, the sex addiction has the same negative impacts as a drug or alcohol addiction and requires sex addiction therapy.

So how do you know if you’re just sexually enthusiastic or a full-blown sex addict?

  1. Compulsive Sexual ThoughtsA sex addict often thinks about sex every waking moment of every day. Obsessive thoughts will begin to interfere with job or family responsibilities and will alienate the sex addict from friends and family.
  2. Attacks of ShameOne of the telltale signs of a sex addict is that they feel great shame about their sexual compulsions, or their lack of control over them. If you start to feel shame about behaviors, you have no control over — whether those behaviors are sexual or not — that’s a telltale sign of addiction.
  3. Depression or RegretSimilar to shame, wishing that you hadn’t indulged in a certain behavior is an indication that your behavior is out of your control. A healthy person understands and anticipates the consequences of their sexual impulses before they act on them; if you find yourself constantly racked with regret, that’s a red flag that you may be dealing with a sex addiction.
  4. Sexual Tunnel VisionSex is just one element of a diverse, healthy lifestyle. But if sex becomes an obsessive point of focus to the point where it crowds out everything else — socializing, family time, exercise and hobbies, even employment — then it has become a problem. If sex is the only thing that animates your day-to-day activities, you’re likely a sex addict.
  5. Excessive SexThis is an obvious one, but it’s true — if you spend an excessive amount of time pursuing sex, having sex or recovering from sex, you may have a sex addiction. Clearly, “excessive” is a relative term, but if your sexual pursuits are affecting other parts of your life — if you have to cancel social engagements to accommodate your sexual lifestyle or if it’s beginning to affect your work — then you’ve moved into the realm of potential sex addiction.
  6. Excessive MasturbationA lot of people think sex is exclusively defined as something done with another person, but solo sex counts toward addiction too. The same standards for sex with another person apply here; if you masturbate to a degree that it negatively affects your life, or if you’re doing it to the point of physical discomfort, you likely have a sex addiction.
  7. Compulsive, Risky or Inappropriate BehaviorsA sex addict will often go beyond pursuing conventional sex and begin to pursue risky behaviors like sex with prostitutes, sex in combination with drugs, unprotected sex, or exhibitionistic/voyeuristic sex. Many of these behaviors verge on illegality and can have a hugely negative impact on your life.
  8. Compulsive Cheating on PartnersThis is a big red flag for sex addiction: If you intend and desire to have a faithful, monogamous relationship but find yourself repeatedly giving in to desires for novel or risky sex outside the relationship, you could be a sex addict. If your cheating becomes a source of suffering, anguish or regret for you and your partner, you almost certainly are a sex addict — at least to some degree.
  9. Engaging in Illegal Sexual ActivitiesThis last one is a huge red flag. If you find yourself compelled to engage in illegal sexual activities such as sex with prostitutes or committing sexual crimes such as stalking, harassment, rape or molestation, you are likely struggling with more than a sex addiction that needs to be addressed immediately.

Sex Addiction Counseling & Rehab

If you don’t feel in control of your sexual behavior, or if your sexual behavior is negatively impacting your life, you may need sex addiction help.

The best solution is sex addiction therapy at a full time, in-patient clinic like Desert Solace, where your addiction can be handled by seasoned, qualified psychological professionals. Here, you will join sex addict support groups and attend sex addiction meetings, both of which help tremendously with recovery, including helping you feel like you are not alone in your struggles. The team at Desert Solace knows how to treat sex addiction, pornography addiction and many other conditions. We can help you get your life back on track.