Defining and Diagnosing Sex Addiction

Defining and Diagnosing Sex Addiction


Despite the fact that it is universally acknowledged that sex addiction is both real and a growing problem, it still remains one of the most challenging of all addictions to identify and treat. The reason being that actually going about a comprehensive and accurate diagnosis of sex addiction remains extremely difficult. Not only are experts still unable to draw a line under exactly why some people are more likely to develop sex addictions than others, but it is also difficult where to draw the line between a genuine sex addiction and something of a fixation.

Nevertheless, by gaining a better understanding of what exactly sex addiction is and how it manifests, it becomes much easier be to know when and where the time comes to seek professional assistance. Working with an experienced counsellor in Canterbury can help transform even the most desperate of situations, though it’s only ever possible to make progress after bringing the problem to the attention of the professionals.

Defining Sex Addiction

As already mentioned, it is extremely difficult to define sex addiction as a whole given the way in which it affects adults of all ages in a variety of different ways.  One of the most common misconceptions is that which assumes that sex addiction and pornography addiction are in fact one and the same. In reality, while it’s true to say that addiction to pornography can be extremely harmful, there is a big difference between the two conditions. Being addicted to pornography doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual in question will be compelled to do anything physical, which is why it is important to draw a line between the two.

What also complicates the subject even further is the way in which sex addiction represents a category of addictions, as opposed to one specific addiction itself.  The same could also be said for drug addiction, which covers addictions to an endless variety of drugs. In the case of sex addiction, it is important to identify the specifics of the addiction in question, in order for the most appropriate method of treatment to be identified and provided. A few examples of the more common sex addictions include excessive or compulsive masturbation, masochistic or sadistic behaviour, harmful voyeurism or exhibitionism, seeking dangerous or illegal sexual pursuits, prostitution and so on.

Identification and Diagnosis

Identification of sex addiction can be extremely difficult due to the way in which it presents entirely differently from one person to the next. Not only this, but what one individual considers to be a very normal and healthy sex life may by someone else be considered extremely dangerous and compulsive. With every individual having their own unique attitudes toward and opinions on sex, it can be very difficult to know when and where there is an addiction to be addressed.

As is the case with all other addictions therefore, professionals recommend immediately seeking advice and assistance when and where your activities or behaviour begin having a detrimental effect either on your own life, or the lives of those closest to you. The very definition of an addiction is the compulsion to continue behaving in a certain way, despite the fact that you know it is causing you harm or putting you at risk. If you have tried to stop something and found yourself unable to do so, this represents one of the strongest symptoms of addiction.

Symptoms will always vary from one person to the next, but generally tend to include seeking or taking part in sexual activities compulsively and without pleasure. It may also be that gratification only becomes possible by seeking increasingly dangerous or perhaps even illegal sexual activities, or finding yourself in a position where you are unable to say no to any offer that comes your way. The moment sex becomes an obsession, a chore or the reason other areas of your life are suffering, it’s advisable to seek a professional consultation.


Exactly how any case of sex addiction will be treated will of course be determined entirely in accordance with the unique circumstances of the individual in question. More often than not, a professional counsellor will attempt to identify the root cause of the addiction in the first place, in order to determine the most effective course of treatment. Sex addiction can be triggered by loneliness, depression, drug or alcohol use, issues with self-confidence, underlying physical or psychological health problems and more. If it is possible to identify the cause, providing an effective solution becomes exponentially easier.

Needless to say, it is entirely inadvisable to simply overlook or ignore the problem until it becomes dangerously exacerbated. If there’s even the slightest hint of concern that something may be wrong with your own sex life, it is a good idea to seek professional advice as early as possible, rather than waiting for things to hit crisis point.