9 Signs Someone Might Be A Sex Addict
Some people really love sex, and they may even do not-so-awesome things to get it (i.e. lie, cheat, and manipulate). But there's a difference between someone who acts selfishly to gain sexual satisfaction and legitimate signs of sex addiction. And if you're concerned about the behavior of a friend or loved-one, it's an important distinction to make.
In a piece for Psychology Today, social worker, author, and addiction expert Robert Weiss said, "sex addiction exists, just like alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive gambling, compulsive shopping, eating disorders, and other addictive/compulsive issues." Weiss noted that often times sex addicts are people who have experienced trauma early in life, and turn to sexual pleasure as a means of soothing anxiety and self-medication — much as many addicts do with drugs and alcohol.
And much like with other forms of addiction, it can sometimes be difficult to identify the problem. Much as an alcoholic may go undiagnosed for years, those around sex-addicts often dismiss their behavior as normal or just part of their personality. We've all known serial daters, people who love watching porn, and the guy or girl who just "can't settle down," so sometimes it can be easy to assume that's all that's going on.
If you're concerned that someone in your life may have a sex addiction, here are nine signs that they may genuinely have a problem.
1. They're Secretive About Their Computer Use
In a piece for The Huffington Post written by recovering sex addict Brian Whitney, Whitney noted to watch out for someone who is secretive about their computer use. Whitney said to look out for little details like always minimizing their screen when you get close, always logging out of email and Facebook even when they step away for just a moment, and always taking the time to log out of everything before allowing you to use their laptop. These little details can at least mean they have something to hide.
2. They Masturbate, Even After Sex
Whitney noted that if you wake up and find your partner masturbating only a few hours after you've had sex, there could definitely be a compulsive element to his or her actions. He also stressed not to take this personally, as it often has very little to do with you and your partner's attraction to you, and everything to do with their compulsion.
3. They're Constantly Running Late
According to Mike Weiss, a certified addiction therapist and founder of The Sexual Recovery Institute in an article for The Fix, always running late and losing track of time can definitely be a sign of sex addiction. This is because — as with any addiction — everything else in life comes second.
4. They Love Unsafe Sex
Weiss also noted that a sex addict often engages in unsafe sex without any of the usual concerns for their health and safety. And I know, I know — you're probably thinking a lot of people enjoy unsafe safe. But it's important to remember that it's often many behaviors combined that can reveal an addiction, and not necessarily any one of them in isolation.
5. They Pay For Sexual Satisfaction
In a piece for Everyday Health, Kathryn A. Cunningham, PhD, director of the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Texas, noted that sex addicts often pay for sexual satisfaction, often in the form of phone sex, online pornography, or prostitutes. If a friend or loved one doesn't seem satisfied by merely "playing the field," there could be more going on.
6. They're A Serial Dater
Cunningham noted that sometimes sex addiction can go unrecognized because friends and family just think the person is a serial dater. This is again one of those behaviors that might not seem like a big deal until you think about it in the context of the person's other patterns.
7. They're Irritable When They Haven't Had Sex
A piece in PsychCentral by Michael Herkov, Ph.D, listed "feeling irritable when unable to engage in the desired behavior," as one of the top signs of a sex addict. Does the person in question get extremely edgy or irritated when they don't have sex? If so, they could be relying on sex for more than just pleasure.
8. They Lie
Whitney also stressed the fact that sex addicts will often lie or be evasive about where they've been or where they're going. He noted this is because most addicts are keeping a secret and living a double life in order to maintain their addiction, and so their stories often don't hold up under scrutiny.
9. You're Wondering If They're A Sex Addict
If you're already feeling like something is up with a friend or loved one in terms of their relationship with sex, odds are it might be because something is up. If you're feeling the need to do research on sex addiction, or read up on worrisome sexual behaviors, it stands to reason the person is giving you a reason to do so. Listen to you instincts.
Sexual addiction, much like any addiction, isn't an easy subject to broach. And worse, it can be extremely difficult to diagnose since it can look like so many other non-addictive behaviors. If you're worried about yourself or a friend, never be afraid to reach out for help. You can visit sites like Sexhelp.com and SmartRecovery.org to find support and mental health resources in your area.