The emergence of sex addiction into mainstream consciousness may make some people worry about their partner, partner, family member or close friend. With confessions of having a sex addiction by several well-known celebrities, most often after being caught cheating on their partner, the lines between addict and cheating partner are starting to blur. You may wonder if there are any signs you should look out for. It is important to understand that there is a difference between an unfaithful and untrustworthy person, and a person who is actually dealing with a sex addiction.
Maybe it’s not your partner that you’re worried about, but a family member or friend or partner of a friend. Maybe you have a vague feeling that something is not right and you don’t know enough to approach it with your concerns; again, are there any signs you should watch for.
If any of the scenarios above describe your situation, read on. There are signs you can look out for, behaviors that can be red flags to suggest that sex addiction may be involved.
1. Fun with Sex
A person with a sex addiction will have an unusual preoccupation with sex and their own personal sexual fantasies. While it is healthy and normal to think about sex and maintain a healthy libido, a person struggling with addiction will be preoccupied with sex to the exclusion of other things. In the end, sexual thoughts and activities will become the most important part of their lives.
If the man or woman in your life is addicted to sex, how can you realize this preoccupation? The person may have magazines and pornographic films lying around. You may notice during the conversation that they seem to constantly focus the conversation on sexual activity or other sexual topics. He may be interested in or point out adult bookstores and movie theaters, strip clubs and massage parlors. If this person is your partner, you may notice extreme sexual desire – either constantly asking for sex or never wanting to have sex at all.
2. Mood Changes
Individuals struggling with sex addiction may suddenly begin to act distant and withdrawn as they become more preoccupied with their sexual activity. As addiction progresses, addicts will be faced with shame, guilt, and fear of being found out, which leads to mental and physical withdrawal from those around them. Their work, social circle, family, and normal activities will begin to lose their attention.
The addiction cycle generally begins with the addict acting withdrawn because they are preoccupied with their fantasies. This is followed by the excitement of ritual or sexual pursuits, the height of acting (acting on their fantasies), and finally shame and guilt after the fact. To family and friends, this cycle of sex addiction will look like depression and mood swings. Many times sex addicts will be tired, sick and cranky due to lack of sleep and the after effects of spending their time in their sexual behavior.
3. Reactionary Response
Individuals dealing with sex addiction go to great lengths to avoid getting caught, and develop complex defenses. If you ask questions about a story you’ve told, or get too close to the truth, an addict can become very irritated and create elaborate stories, lies, or simply denials. A simple question or statement or event that seems unimportant can elicit a disproportionately angry reaction from an addict.
People with sex addiction are not open to constructive criticism, and may feel challenged or threatened by increased scrutiny.
4. Sexual Humor
Those who are addicted to sex may often use a form of sexual humor, often teasing or telling sexual jokes. People dealing with these addictions tend to sexualize most situations and find humor in them. If someone in your life is a sex addict, you may notice that he or she often makes statements with multiple meanings, phrases that can have two meanings, one of which is sexual.
Sexual jokes can also be used to find new sexual partners. Individuals with a sex addiction can see a person’s reaction after hearing their sexual jokes and, if the reaction is favorable, they can increase their level of sexual involvement.
5. Inappropriate Sexual Behavior
Those who are addicted to sex are not hard to spot if you know what to look for. They always tell sexual jokes, or touch people in an inappropriate way. They are overly affectionate and always on the lookout, especially in attractive people.
Sex addiction is a progressive behavior that increases the longer the disease lasts unaided. Over time, those dealing with this addiction can be very direct, coming to you to talk about sex or inviting you home with them. As the disease progresses, the inappropriate behavior will get worse, as will the consequences of the behavior.
If your partner is an addict, he or she is likely to be increasingly frustrated with sexual activity in your marriage/relationship. This can lead to sex avoidance in an effort to reduce frustration, or because sexual needs are met outside of marriage. A person with a sex addiction may make more and more demands for sex and for certain types of activity or may suddenly not be interested in sex at all.
6. Life’s Difficulties
As sex addiction develops, addicts spend more and more time thinking about and trying to get sex. This leaves less time available for all other areas of life, including work, family, friends, sleep, and other obligations. If you start to notice that these activities are being neglected, you can rest assured that the energy that would normally be spent in this area is being used elsewhere.
Over time, there may be a loss of work and income. Social relationships and friendships that were once important can be jeopardized. If illegal behavior is involved in an individual’s sex addiction, there may be arrests and time spent in prison.
7. Live Evidence
Eventually, as the disease progresses, you are likely to be faced with some kind of direct evidence of the problem. This could be a credit card bill with a company name you don’t recognize, a phone bill with a 900 number, pornographic material, evidence of infidelity, unexplained time away from home or work, working late at night, extended hours at the computer with the door closed or locked and so on.
If, after reading the above, you believe that someone in your life is battling a sex addiction, there are things you can do to help. Dealing with individuals, offering help, and taking steps to discourage negative behavior are all ways to deal with sex addiction in a friend or loved one.
OnSexAddiction helps individuals struggling with Sex Addiction, Porn Addiction, Compulsive Masturbation, other harmful sexual behaviors, and the consequences of those addictions, become aware and recover so that they can live richer, fuller, more successful and healthier lives.
Read also 12 Steps To Recovery From Sex Addiction