Sex Addiction is Not About the Sex – Here’s Why

Sex addiction is widely recognized in media and society. However, most people don’t truly understand what it is or how it impacts others. Many think that sexual addicts are in it just for the sex, others believe it’s just a show for attention, but sex addiction actually has nothing to do with sex itself. It is actually triggered and driven by other factors that are beyond the addict’s control.

To learn more about sexual addiction and how it’s not just about sex, keep reading below!

What is healthy sex?

Healthy sex is the ability to engage in sexual relationships with others. It is generally defined by the ability to comfortably discuss your feelings and values, express your desires, and enjoy arousal and orgasm without fear. Additionally, setting healthy boundaries and respecting others in theirs is a big part of engaging in healthy sex.

What is sex addiction?

Before you determine whether sex addiction is about sex, it’s best to understand the addiction itself. 

Sex addiction is a behavioral addiction that focuses on satisfaction through sex or sexual fantasies. It can manifest in many ways, amongst anyone (women included!) and can lead to many negative consequences within an addict’s life.Some sex addicts are addicted to online sexual encounters and pornography. Others seek satisfaction in real-life encounters with partners. Regardless of how it manifests, it’s all dangerous to the addict’s health and safety. 

Signs of sexual addiction

There are many signs to look out for when determining whether an individual is struggling with sexual addiction. Below are the most common behavioral signs:

  • Constantly lying to themselves and others regarding their behavior, actions, and desires. 
  • Engaging in inappropriate relationships with others, including superiors, neighbors, friends, etc.
  • Maintaining a history of short romances with many partners, especially when there is more than one relationship at a time. 
  • Alienating themselves from friends and family for long periods of time.
  • Struggling to keep a job or a steady routine in life.
  • Rationalizing any inappropriate behaviors and trying to project issues onto others.
  • Spending time with others for the sake of their company, not because they genuinely want to be around them.
  • Having sex just because and not engaging in a healthy love or intimacy for partners. 

If you see any of these symptoms in yourself or others, chances are they could be struggling with a sexual addiction. Before you confront the topic, though, it’s best to know that they’re not engaging in sex “just because.” 

It’s not all about the sex

Sexual addiction is not about the sex at all. In fact, most sexual addicts are struggling with factors related to their genetics and psychology, both of which have nothing to do with the act of sex itself. It’s only when these factors are manifesting themselves that they translate into sexual desire.


While it hasn’t been proven in the scientific community that genetics play a role in sexual addiction, studies have shown certain links. For example, studies on sexual addicts have shown a correlation between traits related to emotions, gratification, anxiety, and depression to the increased chances of struggling with addiction. 

Additionally, scientists have looked at hormone levels and found that increased hormones, especially the ones related to sexuality, can put an individual at increased risk of developing an addiction in life. 


In addition to genetics, psychology can play a huge role in developing sexual addictions. For example, it’s been proven that individuals struggling with past traumas and encounters are more likely to develop sexual disorders and addictions throughout their life. These traumas and encounters can be sexually related, like assaults and rapes. They can also be related to dysfunctional relationships with adults. Regardless of the trauma’s origins, they do have lasting effects on people that can then translate into sexual addiction later in life.

As you can see, there are plenty of other factors in life that can contribute to sexual addiction. It can be a response to past traumas and a desire to seek love and affection to fill a hole in their lives, or it can simply be due to hormonal imbalances. Regardless of the circumstances, sexual addiction isn’t just about the desire for sex and intimacy. There is usually an underly motive involved. 

Ask a professional

To learn more about the causes of sexual addiction, consider talking to a professional. At Coeur d’Alene Counseling, we can help you dive into the root cause of your addiction by exploring your past and your health. We’ll help you determine if you have some past trauma that is feeding your addiction so that you can work through it during recovery. 

Don’t trust just anyone with your health and recovery – contact us at Coeur d’Alene Counseling to begin your journey today!