Sex addiction is a disorder that is often characterized by compulsive sexual acts and desires. While there's no defined set of symptoms, and some experts even dispute the existence of this addiction, many medical professionals have attempted to form a list of symptoms.
Possible symptoms of sex addiction include frequent sexual intercourse with many partners, being preoccupied with sex for extended periods of time, intense sexual impulses that you feel are out of control, continually engaging in risky sexual behaviors despite the serious risks involved, feeling irritable when you cannot have sex, and lack of satisfaction or pleasure in sex.
Most experts agree that if you have at least three of the signs mentioned above, you likely have a sexual addiction. In time, it can lead to negative consequences such as neglecting your responsibilities and losing your friends and family. Health risks associated with sex addiction include higher chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
The good news is that there are many treatment options available for people with sex addiction. Self-help and support groups such as COSA and Sex Addicts Anonymous can offer the support you need to get through the recovery process. Several different forms of psychotherapy may help you recover, including psychodynamic therapy, which focuses on making you aware of your unconscious thoughts and behaviors, or cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help eliminate negative impulses and replace them with positive ones.
There are also medications that may help control sexual urges, with serotonin inhibitors such as sertraline (Zoloft) and fluoxetine (Prozac) being the most widely used. In men, anti-androgens such as medroxyprogesterone can help reduce the biological effects of androgens, which are powerful sex hormones.
You can also make lifestyle changes to help you through recovery. Avoid risky situations where you could be tempted to engage in negative behaviors, and find healthier outlets for your energy, such as exercise. Stress-management techniques such as yoga, meditation, and tai chi can help you focus on your goals of sobriety.