Understand If You Struggle With Sex Addiction With These Questions
Are You A Sex Addict?
Sex addiction screenings have value when they are focused on a specific individual and serve a specific purpose. In a treatment process or clinical setting, the assessment helps treatment providers evaluate the severity of the sex addiction issues at hand. Here, the sex addiction assessment questions are provided for informational purposes. You can ask yourself the following questions to better understand if you are struggling with sex addiction.
Everything you need to know regarding having a sex addiction can be boiled down to this question. It comes down to whether or not you have a problem. you can evaluate yourself based on a single question, "Is the sexual behavior causing problems?"
If the sexual behavior is indeed causing problems, then corrective action needs to be taken. Sex addiction is obviously more complex than just "is it causing a problem" as a human behavior.
However, that is a good starting place to determine whether or not to pursue change in your life. Ask things like "are your thoughts about sex and or sexual behaviors causing problems in your life?" How about in the lives of other people involved with you and those who are around you?
Everything beyond the answers to those questions should be geared towards the change process of health-based sex addiction recovery and not the evaluation process. It is as simple as that.
If you think, "I don't think I am a sex addict, and I don't believe that I have a sex addiction. I still feel unnaturally drawn to sexual behavior more than others seem to be. Since sex addiction recovery doesn't apply to me, what should I do?"
Acting with sexual passion, obsession, or compulsion towards a particular sexual event or object does not constitute a sex addiction. Masturbating often to sexually explicit pictures (a.k.a pornography) downloaded from the internet, having multiple affairs in a one year time period, or stalking an ex-wife or neighbor do not by themselves alone determine whether or not you are addicted to sex.
These behaviors may not be healthy and lead to undesirable outcomes including criminal convictions, but that is not the focus of this FAQ. The behaviors also do not prove you have a sex addiction in and of itself. Again, none of these behaviors can determine whether or not you are addicted to sex. To do that, more questions need to be asked including:
- "How long has this sexual behavior been going on?"
- "Do you feel guilty about performing these sexual behaviors including during, before, or afterward?"
- "Have you ever tried to stop the sexual behaviors?"
- "What are the negative consequences (or potential consequences if you were caught) of this behavior?"
- "Are the sexual actions or planning for the actions getting more and more frequent or more involved?"
- "Do you think about the behavior when not engaging in it?"
These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself about the sexual behavior. These topics also go really deep into your thoughts, motives, and spirit. That is why we strongly recommend seeking an experienced professional therapist or counselor to help in assessing where you are in the sex addiction cycle and where you need to go to successfully recover from sex addiction.
Let's touch on what being a sex addict means for a moment. Whether or not you have a sex addiction is completely irrelevant in the process of sex addiction recovery.
For some people, labeling themselves an "sex addict" will create temporary clarification to what is a dark, confusing, and unstable time in their life. This clarity opens the door for a re-evaluation of their life and allows them to make decisions that will enable them to begin the sex addiction recovery process.
For other people, labeling themselves a "sex addict" has a detrimental affect and will only serve to further degrade their self-esteem and self-worth. This label will actually hinder their pursuit of a healthy, satisfying lifestyle. By no longer seeing themselves as normal, individual people making individual choices, they begin to see themselves as "sex addicts".
This can also lead to losses of control and introduce the idea that the labeled people are not completely in control of the decisions they make. Couple that with society's perception that sex addicts rarely recover or change, and these generalized feelings tend to increase the guilt and shame felt by the sex addict.
These feelings can also influence and be a catalyst for increased addictive behavior causing past behaviors to resurface in the present and future behaviors to develop. The results of such an expansion in addictive behaviors and actions can be overwhelming for the person experiencing them. The result can actually undermine their commitment to recovery from sex addiction.
The negative impact component of sex addiction is a very importance aspect of the addiction. What is important to acknowledge here is whether or not you are engaging in sexual or romantic behavior that has a negative impact associated with it. This impact can be currently present or future oriented. The impact is on your life.
If you immediately understand and feel this negative impact from the result of a pattern of sexual behavior, don't waste time wondering whether you should label yourself a "sex addict", or whether or not if your behavior fully qualifies and meets the criteria for a "sexually addictive behavior".
If you are currently struggling with repeated sexual or romantic behaviors, you have the opportunity to change. You have the responsibility for making your life better. This is true no matter how small these sexually addictive behaviors may seem. You must do something about it.
Knowing if you have a sex addiction can be tricky. There are actually no absolute set of rules to go by for every individual. Some people can have extramarital affairs, masturbate, view pornography, and fall "instantly" in love among other things. These people are not actually addicted to those behaviors. There are, however, a clear set of necessary questions you should ask yourself. These questions will help you to determine if you are addicted to sexual behavior and whether or not a problem exists with that behavior. If you are unsure of whether or not you should seek sex addiction treatment for your sexual or romantic behaviors, ask yourself the questions below and note your answers. There are details for each of these questions noted in the next section of sex addiction FAQs.
- Do the long-term effects of the sexual behavior significantly outweigh the satisfaction?
- Have you promised to stop the sexual behavior?
- Is there an element of secrecy to the sexual behavior or do you take steps to keep it hidden?
- Is there a pattern of sexual behavior or cycle to the sex related events?
- Is the sexual behavior not "you" or who you are?
- Is your sexual behavior covered by lies masked by deception, or shrouded in secrecy?
If you answered yes to these questions, you may be dealing with a sexual addiction. Check out the other areas of this website and resources to get your life and relationships back on track.
The Sex Addict Questions
Answering the following questions will help you understand if you have a problem with sexual behaviors and sex addiction. Remember your answers or write your responses down.
Do the potential long-term effects of the sexual behavior significantly outweigh the immediate satisfaction gained from performing the sexual acts? If the sexual behavior appears to be a means of receiving immediate gratification, you should seek help from a counselor or therapist to help you explore the "why" behind your motives.
This answer, of course, comes from your own opinion. Also, ask if the sexual gratification takes place without regard of the lasting effects to yourself or those around you.
Have you promised to stop the sexual behaviors, but keep finding yourself returning to them? If you have thought about or voiced a promise to stop performing a particular sexual behavior, you should probably seek treatment for sex addiction. Do this even if you have not yet had the opportunity to follow through with your promise.
The idea above may seem harsh or conflicting, but the rationale is valid with a purpose. Your promise to stop is a verification of the conflict between what you value sexually and your sexual behavior. This conflict needs to be resolved.
Simply expecting yourself to stop the sexual behavior in question on your own will or volition is unrealistic. You may actually and unintentionally increase the strength of the addictive process. Think about this, can a person permanently cease engaging in the sexual behavior on their own? Absolutely. Yes, they can, but it rarely happens or has a lasting effect.
Seek therapeutic assistance through a self-management program, therapist, or counselor to ensure that your behavior actually changes.
Is there an element of secrecy to the sexual behavior or do you take steps to keep it hidden? Do you do it in secret? Like the promise to stop, as previously mentioned, anyone who feels the need to perform a specific sexual behavior and keep that behavior a secret creates a conflict in themselves. That person knows there is a conflict between what is socially acceptable sexual behavior and what isn't acceptable sexual behavior.
However, the person in question still continues to perform the sexual behaviors that they know are wrong in exchange for the immediate sexual gratification they receive. This indicates a problem with their sexual behavior which needs to be reconciled and dealt with.
Is there a pattern of sexual behavior or cycle to the sex related events? To understand the context of this question, examine other behaviors that you engage in or which are a part of your life. Look for similar compulsive behaviors. These might not just be sexually or romantically motivated behaviors. Look for things which standout and and which could be part of an addictive pattern or trend.
Usually, these behavior patterns will tend to be obvious with focuses in particular areas. They emphasize the ongoing theme of immediate gratification versus long-term satisfaction. This includes behaviors like compulsive shopping, over eating, over exercising, and other things which are over the top or "too much".
These examples of behaviors are just a few of the things that can indicate a pattern of emotional self-regulation is taking place and indicate the need for some type of intervention. This is even more true when the patterns are evident in people's lives in conjunction with compulsive sexual behavior or romantically-based behavior.
Does it feel like the sexual behavior in question is "not you" or who you are? This goes along with the idea that the sexual behaviors appear to be completely of line with your underlying moral beliefs. The sexual behaviors may also be out of character with the "real you" which is who you believe yourself to be. Finally, the sexual behaviors can also be adversarial to the person, character, or image that you want others to think that you embody and represent.
This is a good indicator of sexual addiction. This is because it is a strong sign that you have developed a dual, secret lifestyle when you recognize a sexual behavior pattern that is totally out of context of your known self.
This increases the possibility of having a rather advanced pattern of underlying sexual addiction.
Is your sexual behavior covered by lies, masked by deception, or shrouded in secrecy? Do you try to cover things up when you are about to be caught doing the sexual behavior or be discovered? Do you preplan backstories or alibis? Let's make one thing clear here. Just because someone lies about having an single affair or how a particular pornographic image in their possession was downloaded from the internet does not necessarily indicate a sex addiction problem.
By nature, people try to avoid uncomfortable situations and feelings. This avoidance frequently leads to telling lies, "passing the buck", and dodging the blame. However, the more preconceived, pronounced, and elaborate the falsehoods become, the more potential there is you are facing a sexual addiction. These tendencies indicate subterfuge is taking place and leading to patterns of preoccupation with sexual behavior over truthfulness which creates value conflicts.
The deeper the deception, the more pronounced the sex addiction. In its extreme reaches, the secrecy must be maintained at all costs. This can even lead to murder and suicide as possible solutions to the situation to maintain the aura of secrecy around the sex addiction.
Learn About Sexual Addiction and What It Is
Dive deeper into the topic of what sexual addiction looks like and other aspects of sexually addicted behavior. Understanding sex addiction is the key to breaking the chains of addiction.
Recovery Nation & Other Resources
Recovery Nation offers a host of free resources you can use on your journey. They are a nonprofit and provide sex addiction worksheets, workshops, and support groups.