Signs of Sex Addiction

There are emotional and physical signs that indicate the likelihood of a sex addiction.

But first, here’s a question. What exactly is a “sex addict”?

What Determines If You Are A “Sex Addict”?

One peer-reviewed article in World Psychology outlines a possible definition for the disorder:

“It is characterized by a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges, resulting in repetitive sexual behavior over an extended period (e.g., six months or more) that causes marked distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

You may be surprised to find that it’s not formally listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the rationale to some being that a lack of sex does not yield illness or anxiety.

The signals of a sex addiction seem to be primarily emotional and physical. To name a few there tends to be an over-preoccupation with sexual gratification, a need for more sex more often, a degradation of the quality of relationships due to sexual behavior, a lack of control over sexual urges, and other individualistic symptoms.

Sex Addiction Warning Signs

PATHOS is a brief sexual addiction screening questionnaire. A clinical study team lead by Dr. Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. found PATHOS to be clinically significant for effectively classifying patient’s appropriateness for entering treatment as potential sex addicts. It consists of six assessment questions:

  • Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
  • Do you hide some of your sexual behavior from others?
  • Have you ever sought therapy for sexual behavior you did not like?
  • Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
  • Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire?
  • When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards?

Just one “yes” response indicates a need for additional assessment with a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT). There is help! Contact Coeur d’Alene Counseling for more information.