Accepting that professional assistance is needed in any area of life is never easy. When it comes to accepting and seeking assistance for what could be a case of sex addiction, it’s an entirely more difficult subject to broach. Not only this, but as there is in a technical sense still no such thing as an outright diagnostic method for identifying cases of sex addiction, it can be one of the most difficult conditions imaginable to identify and address.
Interestingly however, the nature of sex addiction is such that much of the initial diagnostic process comes down to personal identification and acknowledgment of suspected problems. It’s one thing to seek professional sex addiction counselling in Kent, but as you and only you know who you are, how you behave and what you consider normal in a sexual sense, you are technically the best person to decide when and where a professional help is needed.
So while sex addiction identification diagnosis may not even be close to an exact science, there are various signs and symptoms that could indicate a case of sexual addiction.
For example, it’s one thing to be a deliberately promiscuous individual with a desire to sleep with as many people as possible – it’s something else entirely to find yourself inadvertently sleeping with more people than you ever intended to. Interestingly, while it may be the former of the two that would more commonly be identified as a sex addict, the fact that what they are doing is deliberate shows that they have control over their actions. By contrast, those who are routinely sleeping with large numbers of people despite the fact that they have no intention of doing so may show a harmful compulsion.
Failed Attempts to Reduce Sex
The same also goes for those who make concerted efforts to reduce sexual activity or to in some way modify their current behaviours. Being to some extent preoccupied with sex or craving sex on a regular basis doesn’t necessarily constitute addiction. Instead, it’s more generally acknowledged as a sign of sex addiction when an individual finds it impossible to follow through on their self-made intentions to cut down on sex or to change the way they approach sex in general.
Neglecting Other Pursuits
Something else to be aware of is if and when life in general, particularly the kinds of things you previously had an interest in, start being neglected due to your continual pursuit of sex. There will always be those individuals for whom sex represents perhaps the single most important thing in their life and there is in a technical sense nothing wrong with this. However, there’s a big difference between those who get extraordinary pleasure and satisfaction out of sex and those who simply engage in sex routinely at the expense of everything else, without getting any specific pleasure out of it whatsoever.
Obsession with Porn
While it’s important to acknowledge the fact that porn addiction is very different to sex addiction, the development of an obsession with pornographic material can in its own right represent something of a symptom of sex addiction. Once again, the key being the identification of when and where such activities are carried out compulsively and without any real gratification being gained, as opposed to enjoying what it is you are doing.
Another of the most common indicators that a fixation with sex is becoming a dangerous addiction is when issues begin to develop both in an individual’s personal and work life. If for example important obligations at home or in the office are neglected or general workplace performance/family relationships begin to suffer, sex addiction could be the root cause.
Shame or Self-Loathing
There’s also an important difference between gaining satisfaction from engaging in any kind of sexual activity across the board and feeling a general sense of shame, embarrassment or self-loathing over the kinds of sexual acts you have participated in. When and where the sex you are engaging in is triggering these kinds of feelings, it is clear that you are not engaging in these acts because you want to, but rather because you feel compelled to.
The good news however is that in the vast majority of instances, sex addiction responds extremely well to counselling and a variety of treatment methods. It’s comparatively easy to allow sex to take full control over life in general – knowing where to draw the line between healthy sexual behaviour and potentially detrimental sex addiction being of critical importance.