What Is Sex Addiction?

Sexual addiction is defined as any sexually-related, compulsive behavior that interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one's work environment.  Sexual addiction has also been called hypersexuality, sexual dependency and sexual compulsivity. No single behavior pattern defines sexual addiction. Common behaviors include, but are not limited to compulsive masturbation, compulsive heterosexual and homosexual relationships, pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism, voyeurism, indecent phone calls, and anonymous sexual encounters. Just because a person engages in inappropriate sexual behavior it does not mean they are a sex addict. However, if you find yourself willing to sacrifice what you cherish most in life in order to preserve and continue unhealthy behavior you may be a sex addict. In his groundbreaking book on sex addiction, Out of the Shadows (1983), Patrick Carnes defined addiction as a "pathological relationship with a mood-altering experience." Much like those struggling with alcohol, drug, food or gambling addiction, family members of those who struggle with sex addiction are also impacted by this disease