Any person struggling with addiction will begin to notice there is a problem when negative consequences come knocking. Examples include relationship challenges, mood disturbance, poor sleep, poor concentration, inability to quit behaviors despite consequences, financial trouble feelings of shame and disgust.
Sex and the desire for sex is natural and normal, but when we use it to escape our problems, things only get worse. Sex addicts attempt to quit compulsive masturbation, porn viewing, paying for sex, purchasing erotic material, fantasizing about sex with others, with little success without treatment.
The goal for someone in active addiction is to feel less. When you can't stop, you feel trapped. Men tend to objectify the object of their desires. Women often romanticize. If you are a woman, you might even relate more to the idea of "love addiction" better than sex addiction. Either way, no one is immune from sex addiction.
Studies show that addictions have genetic factors, as well as environmental factors which cause someone to become susceptible to any addiction. Behavioral addictions (like sex addiction) do not require ingestion of a outside substance. Sex addicts learn to manipulate the chemicals in their own brains to get high. Addiction is often rooted in early childhood abuse and/or emotional, physical, spiritual, or sexual trauma.
A sex addict is someone who experiences life disruption or dysfunction due to habitual sexual obsessions and compulsions Sexual addiction becomes progressively worse over time. A person engages in sex to "numb out" or feel a high in order to escape problems or avoid intimacy, but the consequences of shame, guilt, or broken relationships incite more and greater acting out behaviors.
A love addict is someone who experiences an intoxicating rush when engaged in seduction or lust. It can also exhibit someone who has a pattern of intense, painful, or obsessive relationships; or who is clinging, desperate, and insecure in a current relationship. A love addict may also be someone who is love-averse or "love avoidant" (incapable of lasting feelings of attachment) but who is either addicted to a pattern of usually unsuccessful relationships, or who has what is termed "emotional anorexia" and may avoid relationship or commitment altogether.