Sexual Addiction: Is It A Problem For You?

Sexual addiction is becoming more of a problem every day. According to Dr. Patrick Carnes, Ph.D, about 8% of the total population of men in the United States and about 3% of women are sexually addicted.

Dr. Carnes was instrumental in the identification and treatment of sexual addiction. He is responsible for getting the correct information into the hands of professionals as well as the public.

Sexually addicted individuals have become addicted to the neuro-chemical changes that take place in the body during sexual behavior like a drug addicts with drugs. They have learned to rely on sex for comfort and relief from stress.

Sex addiction may cause many problems socially, legally, and personally. So how do you know if you are addicted to sex? Here are a few signs:


1. A pattern of out of control behavior.
2. Severe consequences due to sexual behavior.
3. Inability to stop.
4. Persistent pursuit of high-risk behavior.
5. Sexual obsession as a primary coping strategy.
6. Increasing amounts of sexual experience.
7. Severe mood changes around sexual activity.
8. Inordinate time spent in obtaining sex.
9. Neglect of important social, occupational, or recreational activities.

Sexual addictions are also usually combined with other addictions such as drug, alcohol, compulsive working, and eating disorders.

Behavioral types: There are at least eleven behavioral types of sexual addiction.

1. Fantasy sex: thinking and/or obsessing about sexual adventures.
2. Seductive role sex: using seduction to gain power over someone else.
3. Anonymous sex: engaging in sex with anonymous partners.
4. Paying for sex: paying for sexual phone calls or using an escort service. Paying for sex.
5. Trading sex: exposing yourself for hire or pimping others.
6. Voyeuristic sex: using binoculars or telescopes o watch people. Looking through windows.
7. Exhibitionist sex: exposing yourself in public places. Belonging to a nudist club to look for sex.
8. Intrusive sex: inappropriate sexual advances or gestures. Touching or fondling others without permission.
9. Pain Exchange: receiving physical pain during sexual activity to increase sexual pleasure or to cause pain during sexual activity.
10. Object sex: masturbating with objects or cross-dressing to add to sexual pleasure. Sex with animals.
11. Sex with children: sharing inappropriate sexual information with children, exposing children to sexual activities, forcing sexual activity on a child, engaging in sex with a minor consenting or not. Watching or producing child pornography.

Job unmanageability: The obsession with having sex or performing sex in whatever fashion will cause major job loss of function.

1. Lost jobs due to involvement with coworkers.
2. Masturbating on job.
3. Excessive tardiness.
4. Excessive personal phone time. Calling lovers or making arrangements for sex.
5. Leaving work undone or abandoned.
6. Exhausted, angry, or full of shame.
7. Work suffering from lack of sleep.
8. Unable to keep appointments or late for appointments.
9. Increase use of sick leave due to physical problems such as illnesses caused by sex.

High Risk Occupations: Some jobs and careers are more prone to be at risk for sexual addictions.

1. Clergy
2. Health care professional
3. Entertainment industry
4. Sales
5. Legal Profession
6. Any unstructured job

Warning Signs of Sexual Addictions: There are several warning signs of sexual addictions if you know what to look for.

Excessive use of sexual humor
Inappropriate dress
Patterns of short term relationships
Large amounts of time and/or money unaccounted for
Living on the edge and in the extreme
Seductive or charming personality
Emotionally distant
Extreme over or under achievement

Diagnostic Criteria

Sexual obsession and fantasy is a primary coping mechanism, sexual behavior is a central principle of daily life, there are sever mood shifts around sexual acting out, and an inability to stop inappropriate behavior. Also, a pattern of alternating out of control and control behavior in at least a five year period, important social and recreational activities reduced because of sexual behavior, and an inordinate time spent in obtaining sex or being sexual. Any five of these is sufficient for diagnosis.

Commonly found to be related to sexual addictions are extreme sexual abuse, other addictions, depression, codependent personality disorder, has been or is a victim of sexual abuse, and has been or is a victim of emotional abuse.


There is hope for those who want help. There are agencies and support groups all over the country and the world for those who want to help themselves. There is help for those who want to conquer their addiction. Below are a few of the agencies.

Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA)
P.O. Box 1585
Old Chelsea Station
New York, NY 10011
(212) 340-8985

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
P.O. Box 300
Simi Valley, CA 93062
(805) 581-3343
(818) 704-9854

Sex Addicts Anonymous (SSA)
P.O. Box 3038
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 871-1520
(612) 339-0217

For further information you can go to the web site and look for all kinds of information and assistance.

What ever you do please get help. If you aren't sure you need help at least call someone and find out. Save your peace of mind and your family's peace of mind. This addiction is just as destroying as alcohol or drugs.

Overture Search the Web.
Type it and go!

The Musician's PlaceTo Shop!
Instant Gift Certificates!

© 2001-2005 Issues Magazine.
All Rights Reserved.

Get 15 FREE prints!