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What is Sexual Addiction? 

“Before coming to Sex Addicts Anonymous, many of us never knew that our problem had a name. All we knew was that we couldn't control our sexual behavior. For us, sex was a consuming way of life. Although the details of our stories were different, our problem was the same. We were addicted to sexual behaviors that we returned to over and over, despite the consequences.”

— Sex Addicts Anonymous, p. 3

Although sexual addiction can manifest through many forms of acting out behavior, common themes amongst sex addicts include: 

  • Powerlessness over sexual behavior

  • Resulting unmanageability in his/her life

  • Feelings of shame, pain, and self-loathing

  • Failed promises and attempts to stop acting out

  • Preoccupation with sex leading to ritual

  • Progressive worsening of negative consequences

Am I a Sex Addict?

The following questions may help you identify whether or not you are suffering from sexual addiction:

  1. Do you keep secrets about your sexual behavior or romantic fantasies from those important to you? Do you lead a double life?

  2. Have your desires driven you to have sex in places or with people you would not normally choose?

  3. Do you need a greater variety, increased frequency, or more extreme sexual activities to achieve the same level of excitement or relief?

  4. Does your use of pornography occupy large amounts of time and/or jeopardize your significant relationships or employment?

  5. Do your relationships become distorted with sexual preoccupation? Does each new relationship have the same destructive pattern which prompted you to leave the last one?

  6. Do you frequently want to get away from a partner after having sex? Do you feel remorse, shame, or guilt after a sexual encounter?

  7. Have your sexual practices caused you legal problems? Could your sexual practices cause you legal problems?

  8. Does your pursuit of sex or sexual fantasy conflict with your moral standards or interfere with your personal spiritual journey?

  9. Do your sexual activities involve coercion, violence, or the threat of disease?

  10. Has your sexual behavior ever left you feeling hopeless, alienated from others, or suicidal?

  11. Does your preoccupation with sexual fantasies cause problems in your life--even when you do not act out your fantasies?

  12. Do you compulsively avoid sexual activity due to fear of sex or intimacy? Does your sexual avoidance consume you mentally? 

 For more information on sex addiction and recovery, please visit the official SAA website or our Resources page 

From the SAA pamphlet  “GETTING STARTED IN SEX ADDICTS ANONYMOUS, A beginner’s packet for recovering sex addicts                                     © Sex Addicts Anonymous®

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