Some clients who are addicted to pornography also become sex addicts.

Perhaps you too have may have sex addiction or love addiction.

Some indications that you have this illness would be as follows:

  • Sexual Behaviour that is out of control
  • Inability to stop despite negative consequences
  • Serious negative consequences (e.g relationship breakdown, loss of work, mood problems)
  • Significant amounts of time spent engaged in thinking about sex/sexual fantasy, and engaging in sexual behaviour.
  • Sex and sexual fantasy used as a primary coping mechanism
  • Mood elevated whilst engaging in sexual fantasy/behaviour, but often experiences low mood/emptiness/despair after sexual behaviour.
  • Having blackouts and memory losses from acting out behaviours.

Sexual Addiction affects all aspects of a person’s life and those who experience it can feel as trapped by it as others do from substance addictions.

The Cycle of Sexual Addiction has been described by Patrick Carnes who describes the following steps:

Preoccupation

  • The person’s mind is completely taken up with thoughts of sex.
  • The person constantly seeks out sexual stimulation/material.

Ritualisation

The person with sex addiction often has particular routines regarding sexual activity which lead up to sexual behaviour. The ritual intensifies the preoccupation, and this adds to the arousal and excitement.

Compulsive Sexual Behaviour

  • The sexual act itself, which is the end goal of the preoccupation and ritualization.
  • Those with sexual addiction find themselves unable to stop or lessen the frequency of this behaviour.

Despair

Often the person experiences feelings of despair and hopelessness regarding their behaviour and powerlessness. The despair of sex addiction can be so difficult that the person begins again to be preoccupied with sexual fantasy, which begins the cycle once more.