How to Recover from Sex Addiction

Reviewed By Priyanka Bhattacharjee, is a licensed and practicing Clinical Psychologist based in India, who has been working very closely with a variety of mental health issues across different age groups for the past 7 years. Working for the cause of mental health is her passion, and primarily advocates for primary prevention and early intervention. Her professional interest areas include diagnosis and therapy for Addiction, Personality Disorders, Mood and Affective Disorders, Children and Adolescents’ Mental Health, Couple Intervention, and Workplace Mental Health issues.

Recover from Sex Addiction

Sex is perhaps the most natural aspect of all life. A physiological need, sexual activities are woven into the very fabric of our nature. You feel it even if you have never talked about it. The benefits of having sex regularly are many and vary. 

Inherently, it’s a relaxing, healthy activity that boosts self-esteem, happiness and immune system among others. However, engaging with it often may have detrimental effects on you and the ones around you.  

What is sex addiction? ?

An addiction is an inability to stop using a substance or engaging in a particular behaviour. Addicts relapse because they have no control over their urges. They are aware of the harm it does but unable to act on it.  

Though sex is considered healthy, one is an addict if it takes away their focus and time from other activities. Hypersexuality isn’t included in the list of mental disorders but it doesn’t change the fact that it is harmful.  

Listed below are some of the signs that determine whether one is a sex addict or not 

  • Compulsive sexual relationships with multiple partners/strangers 
  • Choosing sex over work, outing, get-togethers  
  • Urges to have/having sex multiple times a day 
  • Risking or putting everything at stake to have sex 
  • Visualizing or indulging in sexual thoughts with most people you meet 
  • Inability to stop thinking about sex 
  • Excessive porn consumption  
  • Indulging in sex outside your relationship 

If you can relate to most of the behaviours listed, you are a sex addict. By now, you are already aware of how your compulsion has been affecting you. It could be in professional and/or personal spheres of your life.  

Sex Addiction Test: A System To Help You Identify The Problem Quickly

Effects of sex addiction 

Sex addiction can result in a lack of energy and motivation. This leads to lower productivity and concentration at work and at home. In many cases, a compulsive sexual habit has ruined relationships.  

Your partner might not always feel aroused as much as you are. This can instill the idea that you want them only for quenching your urges. Or worse, it makes them think you aren’t satisfied with them. 

Either way, being aroused all the time leads you to seek pleasure outside of your relationship. This could be through another partner or watching pornography. Excessive pornographic consumption and masturbation can also lead to P.I.E.D. and other forms of sexual dysfunctions.  

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Compulsive sexual thoughts make one engage in risky and inappropriate behaviours. These might range from sending sexually provocative texts to exposing private parts to unsuspecting strangers. These often lead to repercussions later in their lives affecting socially and professionally.  

A major repercussion of sex addiction is the chance of getting STDs. The more a person has sex, the more they’re likely to catch them. Departmental Management of USDA reports that 38% of men and 45% of women with sex addictions have one venereal disease. 

Unwanted pregnancies are the most reported cases of sex addiction in women, with almost 70% of addicted women having experienced this once in their life. Other negative effects include lower engagement with family and friends, anxiety, guilt, shame and depression.  

Unwanted pregnancies

But like any addiction, being aware of the harmful effects alone won’t help fight it. 

Types of sex addiction (sex addicts addiction warning signs)

There are no set forms of what sex addiction could be. But there are different ways in which a person compulsively seeks sexual pleasure. It can be addiction to pornography, masturbation, seeking sex outside their relationships, exhibitionism/voyeurism and sadistic/masochistic behaviour.  

Porn addiction is often coupled with masturbation and an excess of these can lead to problems in relationships and confidence. Frequent masturbation causes edema and your erections to be weaker and whither in size.  

Pornography creates unrealistic standards of beauty, sizes of genitalia and sexual performance. This can lead to a lower self-esteem and bad body image. This in turn affects your own performance, possibly causing relationship problems among others.  

Some addicts, though necessarily due to no fault of their partners, seek to have sex with others. This could be through online dating apps, revisiting old connections or hiring prostitutes. All of this can be detrimental to your life and cause irreparable damages.  

 Exhibitionism is a form of paraphilia, where intense sexual arousal comes from atypical activities, objects or situations. Exhibitionists get sexual excitement from displaying their genitals to unsuspecting strangers. The act is a crime and frowned upon in almost all countries.  


Voyeurism is the act of watching someone undressing/naked without their knowledge. The voyeur gets excitement from peeping on a regular basis. This might or might not be coupled with masturbation. Either way, it clearly indicates a problem that hasn’t been properly dealt with. 

Sadistic people experience enjoyment from inflicting pain on others. In terms of sex, it could be from tying, spanking, using whiplashes and the likes during intercourse. Masochistic behaviour is the opposite, when someone gets pleasure from derogatory acts performed on them.  

Though both these traits indicate traumas or challenges in one’s upbringing, the topic remains largely controversial. Some claim it puts blame on the victims and many don’t see a problem with these acts as long as they’re consensual. 

Reasons for sex addiction

The causes of sex addiction are subjective as they result from different factors. They vary from physical, physiological or mental. Like substance abuse, most people turn to sex to escape from their realities.  

When realities get unbearable, people tend to find a pleasurable activity to break from it. However, compulsion makes you want to engage with the activity frequently. Although they do it for mental satisfaction, constant engagement makes it unbearable to be without it.  

Androgen is the hormone responsible for arousal. Some people may experience a higher production of this hormone. In such cases, they’re left with sexual thoughts more often than others.  
Sex also generates the chemicals responsible for pleasure, namely oxytocin and dopamine. Frequent intercourse will also increase the number of times it’s produced. This can result in you craving the feeling more often and thereby chasing the high. You use sex as a means to derive the feeling all the time. 

Read About: Psychology behind Porn Addiction

How to deal with sex addiction (warning signs addiction treatment)

Recovery from all addictions start with acceptance. Accept you’re an addict and you have already taken the first step. List down how it has affected you negatively in the past to reinforce why you’re doing this. This will help you take control by skimming through it every time you get an urge.  

Consider removing all triggers from your life. It can be anything that gets you aroused. Delete dating apps and pornography on your devices. Since porn is only a click away on the internet, install BlockerX to prevent you from accessing adult content. Removing all objects (sex toys, posters etc.) that triggers you will go a long way as well.  

removing all triggers

Understanding why you seek sexual pleasure is key to combating your problem. If it is to escape from your reality, replacing sex with productive activities will help. Activities like working, cooking or creating art are pleasurable and help with bettering one’s skills.  

Talk to your partner about your addiction and ask them to help. They may be aware of this already, but being vocal about it shows genuineness and rebuilds trust. This will ensure that you’re accountable for any unwanted action that might arise from your addiction.  

Talk to your partner

Read About: Sexual Anorexia

Have an accountability partner with whom you can share your problem. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your significant other. It can be a friend who you report to every time you relapse or get an urge. It is important that they don’t judge and understand your problem.  

Deleting and blocking contacts of people you have or had sexual relationships with will prevent you from relapsing as well. Like pornography, having contacts of your sexual partners are also huge triggers. Letting them know why before blocking them would be the respectful thing to do.  

Seek professional help if you’re unable to take care of the problem yourself. Going to therapy or even joining support groups will help you recover from your addiction. On top of these, there are medicines that will lower the production of androgen in the body. However, they should not be consumed without a doctor prescribing them to you.  

Seek professional help


Sex is a pleasurable activity that improves your mental well-being, health, self-esteem and general way of living. However, if you put everything at risk for sex, you have a problem that needs immediate attention. 

Recovering from sex addiction shouldn’t necessarily mean that you stop it completely. The idea is to not face negative consequences due to it. You might feel like relapsing, but going through your list and talking to your accountability partner can help.   

In conclusion, sex shouldn’t be causing problems for you, but helping you cope with them in a healthy way. Being addicted to anything has detrimental effects on the body and the mind, therefore one must nip it in the bud. 

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– Improve your relationship

– Stronger and more intense orgasms, increased libido, and other positive improvements

– Better focus on the things that matter

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