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Are your sexual behaviors 'normal'? While there is clearly an enormously wide range of behaviors that would fit within the normal spectrum, if you recognize in yourself many of the behaviors that are listed below, you may have a sexual disorder.

Some warning symptoms of sexual addiction include:

  • You feel like you can’t resist your sexual impulses
  • Although you feel compelled to act out sexually, your sexual actions do not necessarily bring you pleasure or satisfaction
  • You do not feel emotionally connected with your sexual partners
  • You continue to act out sexually, even after suffering serious adverse consequences from your behaviors
  • You act out sexually as a way to manage negative feelings
  • You try to cut down on your sexual acts, but are unable to do so
  • You need progressively more ‘extreme’ sexual acts to feel satisfied
  • You experience preoccupied thinking about sexual activities – you feel like you can’t control your sexual thoughts1

Some common behaviors associated with sexual addiction include:

  • Having frequent different sexual partners, or frequent affairs
  • Using prostitutes
  • Frequent or compulsive masturbation
  • Paying for sexual services
  • A need to view pornography regularly
  • Paying for phone or internet sex
  • Engaging in sexual acts that are taboo or illegal

Losing control over your sexual behaviors puts you at increased risk of sexually transmitted disease, relationship difficulties, work and even legal problems. Although sex is a normal and healthy part of the human experience, compulsive behaviors are rarely enjoyable.  If you cannot control your sexual behaviors, treatment may be your best option.

How Many Americans Have Sexual Addictions?

According to the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), between 3% and 5% of Americans meet the criteria for sexual addiction. This number may be conservative, they say, as it is based on the number of people that seek treatment. If sex addiction is anything like other addictions, the percentage of addicts that seek treatment is small compared to the numbers that suffer the disorder.2

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Page last updated Aug 19, 2010

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