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What is sex addiction?

The simplest definition for sex addiction is that it is any form of sexual behaviour that feels out of control and that is causing problems in someone’s life. 

There are many different types of sexual behaviour that people can become “addicted” to.  The most common is pornography but other common ones include phone sex or cybersex, visiting sex workers or having multiple sexual relationships. 

These behaviours are, for some, normal and healthy behaviours but when they begin to impact on your life and when you want to stop them but find you can’t stop or can’t stay stopped that makes it an addiction.

Am I a sex addict?

Clients who come to see me, often are unsure whether they are addicted to sex or not.  Sometimes, they think they should just be able to get in control of these behaviours themselves.  The following questionnaire is one I give to clients to help them decide whether their behaviour falls under the category of sex addiction.

Take a bit of time to read through the following questions.  If you answer “yes” to five or more of the statements then you might have a problem with sex addiction.

  1. Does your sexual behaviour have a negative impact on other areas of your life such as relationships, spending time with family, work, finances, health?
  2. Do you find yourself struggling to concentrate on other areas of your life because of thoughts and feelings about your sexual behaviour?
  3. Does your sexual behaviour contradict your own personal values?
  4. Does your sexual behaviour limit your goals in life?
  5. Have you noticed that you need more and more stimuli or risk in order to get the same level of arousal and excitement?
  6. Have you tried to limit your sexual behaviours or stop it altogether, but failed?
  7. Are you more tempted to engage in sexual behaviour when you’re sad, lonely, stressed, anxious, angry, depressed?
  8. Are you secretive about your sexual behaviour and afraid of being found out?
  9. Have you ever thought that there might be more that you would be doing with your life/time if you weren’t so driven by sexual pursuits?
  10.  Do you feel as if your sexual behaviour is out of control?
  11.  Do you currently, or have you in the past, struggled with any other addictions, compulsive behaviours or eating disorders? (e.g. compulsive gambling or gaming, work or exercise, alcohol or drug addiction?

The Good News

If you have answered “yes” to more than 5 of the above questions, the good news is that you can recover from sex addiction.  Sometimes, all people need is to realise that their behaviour has become addictive and accept that they need to stop.  Some people can do this themselves. 

There is also a lot of help available on the internet. 

Paula Hall, a UKCP registered psychotherapist specialising in sex and porn addiction, has produced a free online resource to help individuals struggling with sex and porn addiction:

We also offer a free 15 minute private and confidential consultation so that you can find out if therapy is right for you.