Sexuality is a monumentally important part of the human experience. It excites us, it connects us, and it enriches us in many different ways. Our need for sexuality goes far beyond the evolutionary drive to reproduce. A healthy sex life is important to maintaining our mental and emotional wellbeing and connection to our partner. A passionate and fulfilling sexual relationship can brighten every aspect of our lives and our selves.
What happens, though, when this healthy activity turns to something more deviant?
Sex addiction is a condition in which an addict’s compulsive sexual behavior begins to negatively impact their life and relationships.
It can manifest in many ways. For some it consists of an unhealthy relationship with pornography. For others, it may cause them to cheat on a beloved partner or bother others with excessive and unwanted sexual advances. It can also manifest as deviant or unsafe sexual behavior or, in extreme cases, sexually based offenses against others.
Even in its most seemingly benign states, however, sex addiction is a condition that must be identified and taken seriously if the addict is to recover to their full functionality and quality of life.
Here are six signs your partner may be a sex addict:
1. You often catch them lying about small things.
Most addicts become prolific liars in order to maintain their double lives. However, even the best are bound to slip up sometimes. Often, when you uncover them, these lies will not make sense on their own. They are likely small strings in a web designed to cover for a much larger and deeper sense of shame.
2. They’re a known cheater.
Just as an alcoholic can not resist the bottle, it is nearly impossible for a sex addict to say no to an offer of sexual activity – even when they have every reason to do so. As such, many of them have engaged in infidelity. They likely have a pattern of doing so that can be seen throughout their dating history.
3. They’ve never been alone.
Most sex addicts feel a need to have a partner – or many – available to them at all times. For this reason, they are rarely without a relationship. This behavior pattern could also come from loneliness or insecurity, but if it’s coupled with other items on this list it could be an indicator of addiction.
4. They don’t like to practice safe sex.
Sex addicts are often less concerned than other people about the danger of STD’s. For them, the sexual thrill of the moment is too much for their reasoned mind to overcome. If your partner refuses to use protection, or complains excessively about doing so, this should be taken as a huge red flag.
5. You don’t understand where their money goes.
Your partner has a respectable job and makes a decent salary. They aren’t a shopping friend or poor financial planner – so why are they always broke? If your significant other can not explain where their money went, it may be because it’s gone to fund a sexual compulsion of which they are deeply ashamed.
6. They have trouble keeping appointments.
Your significant other may be chronically late or flake on plans entirely due to a sexually based compulsion. For example, someone who is addicted to pornography may have a difficult time tearing themselves away from it to meet friends for dinner or make it to work on time.
“Just as a heroin addict chases a substance-induced high, sex addicts are bingeing on chemicals — in this case, their own hormones,” wrote Alexandra Katehakis.
Being a sex addict does not mean someone is a bad person. It means they are suffering from a debilitating disease. If you suspect your partner is addicted to sex, you may want to suggest they engage in a recovery program. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it once they regain their sense of self.