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Sex addiction is a taboo subject and very often misunderstood. We all have a different relationship with sexuality and our needs are just as different. In such a context, it is difficult to understand alone if the number or the sexual relations experienced are in the “norm” or if, on the contrary, the intimate life hides a real addiction to sex or a sexual behavior disorder.
Some people tend to call themselves “sex addicts” because they experience compulsive sex, but what is it really? What are the signs that indicate a sex addiction?
What is sex addiction (Nymphomania and Satyriasis)?
Nymphomania is a sexual addiction that psychologists and psychiatrists diagnose as a real psychological disorder.
In popular culture, the nymphomaniac is represented as a woman, endowed with an insatiable sexual appetite and a sexual obsession that would make everyone in her neighborhood green with envy.
For some, nymphomaniacs are people of little virtue, with very questionable moral values, and whose only occupation is to practice sexual activities that go against societal norms. For still others, the nymphomaniac woman and her overflowing hypersexuality is a real fantasy.
All these prejudices will unfortunately lessen the gravity of this obsession which is a real addiction.
The person is in the grip of sex addiction, just as they could be addicted to substances such as tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or even certain medications... Nymphomaniacs are people with psychological suffering (and sometimes physical) that should be taken seriously.
5 things to know about nymphomania:
- A nymphomaniac woman is a person in constant search of coitus;
- She is obsessed with the idea of getting sex and goes to great lengths to achieve it;
- She is not in search of the physical pleasure potentially received during a sexual relationship but only by the need to satisfy her psychic need;
- A nymphomaniac woman can practice numerous sexual relations without ever having an orgasm or having one on every occasion, the notion of pleasure is independent of nymphomania;
- It is common that she also suffers from other psychological disorders
And the men in all this? We rarely talk about male nymphomania and for good reason, it does not really exist. We will rather speak of satyriasis to define a man whose relationship to sex is pathological.
How to recognize sex addiction?
To speak of sex addiction, it is estimated that it is necessary to observe repeated sexual relations and/or the practice of compulsive masturbation for more than 6 months. Other signs are added to these first two symptoms:
- You are obsessed with sex
- You constantly seek sexual stimulation
- You practice compulsive masturbation
- Have you ever had risky sex?
- You feel guilt
- You isolate yourself socially
- You can't stand the lack of sex
- You meet the clinical criteria for sexual addiction
Sign 1: You are obsessed with sex
The first and most obvious sign of detecting a sex addiction is, of course, your thoughts.
If you're used to thinking about sex for a large part of your day and you subconsciously or consciously think about your past or future sexual relationships all the time, your sex drive is now obsessed.
It is difficult to put a threshold or a barrier to "too much" desire, but it is obvious that if the situation bothers you on a daily basis, makes you ruminate for entire days, or disturbs your life, it is essential to speak to a psychologist or to a doctor.
Sign 2: You constantly seek sexual stimulation
In addition to obsessive thoughts, you may also be plagued by compulsive behaviors to support yourself.
This can be the daily viewing of pornographic videos or the incessant exchange of sexual text messages with your partner. For some, it can also be sexually stimulating activities such as pornographic video games, daily or weekly visits to swingers' clubs or cyber sex sites, frequenting saunas or nudist beaches, intensive use of dating apps...
It is also possible that you have set up daily rituals related to sex: you plan your sexual relations or your masturbation sessions, or you perform certain routine acts that allow you to continue to maintain these obsessive behaviors. It's possible that these ritual acts keep you aroused all the time.
Sign 3: You practice compulsive masturbation
Compulsive masturbation is an intense need to masturbate, usually several times a day (5 to 15 times a day) regardless of the situation in which you find yourself: at work, with friends, at the cinema...
You may have already masturbated in a public place to immediately meet your need. It is also possible that you have already had genital injuries due to this compulsive masturbation (burns related to friction, scratches with your nails, etc.)
The important point of compulsive masturbation is not so much the frequency of masturbation but rather the feeling: if you masturbate out of "need" and not out of "desire" it is a real addiction.
Compulsive masturbation is often the indicator of a much deeper evil such as anxiety, depression, and great stress...
Don't be afraid to talk to a healthcare professional about it. They are fully aware that this is a difficult subject and you will not be the first or the only person to share this problem with them.
If you are too afraid to face a doctor or a psychologist face to face, do not hesitate to consult an online psychologist who can answer all your questions, start a follow-up and guide you in your support. This will prevent you from feeling shame or blockages during discussions, which will not take place in person or face to face.
Sign 4: You have already had risky sexual practices
It's normal to have many sexual fantasies whether you're a sex addict or not. For people addicted to sex, an important sign to detect is the escalation in the severity of their fantasies.
If in the beginning, you went to watch some pornographic videos to relieve yourself, you gradually slipped towards fantasies that were always more daring, more violent, and sometimes, at the limit of legality.
If a simple video of a sexual relationship was enough at the beginning, today you watch more intense videos, involving more extreme practices.
You have been swept away by a wave of a violent and/or disturbing sexual universe that allows you to satisfy your fantasies that are ever more difficult to satisfy. For some people, the severity of these fantasies is such that they come to view child pornography.
It is usually at this moment that the breaking point is reached and they feel compelled to go to a specialist to cope.
Apart from the risks of going to prison, you may have found yourself in uncomfortable or physically and psychologically painful situations due to compulsive sexual practices.
These practices generally made you realize that you might be a victim of sex addiction.
- You consume a lot of pornographic content;
- You've watched videos before that you might find very disturbing once the urge has passed;
- You have noticed an escalation in your fantasies;
- You have ever engaged in risky sexual practices due to a compulsive attitude towards sex;
Sign 5: You feel guilt
After having sex or after consuming sexual content, you feel a sense of shame or guilt.
It is essential to understand that your addiction to sex pushes you to perform compulsive acts that give you a strong feeling, a "high point" in your emotions and feelings, a great intoxication that fills you for a moment.
It is this intense lack or emptiness that you feel that causes you to act in totally inappropriate ways or to do things that could put you, your partner, or even your health at risk.
Once the high point is reached and the descent, you regain your senses and it is at this moment that shame and guilt invade you.
Remember that you are a victim and not the culprit of your addiction. It's normal for you to feel shame and guilt, it's part of the pattern of sex addiction.
If your practices make you feel guilty because of the great dangers you take to meet your needs, do not wait to consult a psychologist or a doctor.
Sign 6: You isolate yourself socially
As the addiction worsens and a veritable downward spiral sets in, you isolate yourself more and more socially to cope with your addiction to sex.
Sex addiction is an addiction that we never talk about. We can talk openly about addiction to cigarettes, alcohol addiction, food addiction, or sports addiction, with more or less ease, but sex addiction is an absolute taboo. This addiction is, therefore, carried out in secret.
This way of relieving yourself in secret and remaining alone with your problem only increases the degree of your addiction and makes it even more difficult to bear.
You consume sex intensively, whether in video, photo, audio, in clubs or in exchange for money, in a totally impersonal, disconnected way. Your social life is strongly impacted.
Some worrying signs of social isolation due to sex addiction:
- You feel like your addiction is controlling your life and your schedule;
- Your partner makes remarks to you about your “insatiable” needs;
- You miss work days or important appointments to perform sexual acts;
- You avoid social events with your friends or family to be alone with yourself and be able to satisfy yourself as soon as the need arises.
Sign 7: You can't stand the lack of sex
Sex addiction is hard to control, just like food addiction or tobacco addiction. The most significant sign of this form of dependence is therefore the fact that the lack of sex is badly experienced.
The more intense the addiction, the more the person will feel the effects of the lack of sex, which they may find more or less bearable. Sex withdrawal is the same kind of withdrawal you might find in an alcoholic, there are side effects and consequences.
For a person whose sexual addiction is not too severe and who attempts a period of sexual abstinence, the effects of the withdrawal will be mainly anxiety and stress which do not prevent him from continuing to live normally (go working, shopping, etc.).
For a so-called severe addiction, the effects of the lack will be felt on the psychological level with again, anxiety, but this time unbearable anxiety and a feeling of annihilation. A feeling of intense loss of control and feeling of going mad/crazy may occur.
On the physical level, one can also observe cold sweats, tremors, weight loss and/or loss of appetite, disturbed sleep with insomnia and nightmares, psychosomatic pain...
A person under the influence of sex addiction cannot stand the lack of sex, and therefore finds himself in a situation of great suffering.
Sex addiction is hard to control. There are several degrees of severity in sex addiction.
It is normal to feel the physical and psychological effects of lack of sex or abstinence, which can be described as withdrawal, just as there are stages of withdrawal from alcohol or drugs. For some people in the grip of sexual addiction, sexual abstinence is a real ordeal very badly experienced, similar to a feeling of imminent death.
It is very common to observe relapses in sexual addiction. It is important to consult a specialist (psychologist or psychiatrist) before suddenly starting a withdrawal from your sexual addiction.
Sign 8: You meet the clinical criteria for sexual addiction
Finally, the person addicted to sex responds to many clinical signs, allowing the psychologist or sex therapist to recognize and diagnose the addiction:
You subscribe to pornographic content (magazines, websites, social networks, etc.)
- One of your parents had a sexual disorder (or both)
- You have obsessive thoughts related to sex
- You have the feeling that your sexuality is not normal
- Your partner has already expressed concerns about your sexuality (too frequent, too intense, too extreme)
- You have difficulty controlling your sexual urges, including in inappropriate places (public places for example)
- Have you ever sought help for a sexual practice you dislike?
- You are afraid that someone will discover your “hidden life” and/or your sex life
- Some of your sexual activities are illegal (sex with minors, child pornography, etc.)
- You have already tried to make efforts to have a more “normal” sexuality, without success
- You have already had the feeling of being degraded after certain sexual practices that you have carried out
- You use sex as a way to escape your problems and comfort yourself
- You are very often depressed after sex
- You feel like sex is controlling your life
If you answered yes to several of these questions, we advise you to consult a psychologist to diagnose a possible sexual addiction and/or associated disorders.
Sexual addiction is scary and it is perfectly normal to inquire about behaviors or feelings that cause suffering.
On the other hand, it is good to remember that we are all different and that it is not possible to diagnose ourselves entirely alone, through the stories or testimonials that I find on the various blogs and forums.
It is also possible to follow up entirely by text and audio message if you do not wish to be seen. The important thing is to take the first step to get out of this infernal spiral that causes great suffering.
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