They spend inordinate amounts of time in sexual related activities. They are constantly thinking and fantasizing about how are they going to get their next fix - with whom and how can it be done and how can they get away with it? The more time between their fixes, the more the anxiety builds. The longer they go without sex, they get more and more distressed, agitated, restless. Biting nails, tapping feet, they have to get their fix. They can even become violent.
There is a chemical addiction that comes with it. Part of the compulsion is that as the anxiety builds and builds, their dopamine increases. Thinking about sex, being aroused actually releases dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical that is released from the brain that gives addicts that rush.
Sex addiction is also highly correlated with other addictions. If someone started out as a sex addict, many times they will become addicted to alcohol or drugs to help them deal with the fact that they have a sex addiction. Or they may are already be addicted to something else and adding this addiction is another part of and addiction cycle. This may be a medical problem as they may have a chemical issue, i.e., they are depressed and this helps them feel better.
It's difficult to treat. Unlike alcoholics who can avoid a bar, sex addicts cannot avoid sex. For most people it's a human need. They have to retrain and relearn their sexual behavior. They have to be vigilant against their sexual behavior at all moments.
It's the least acknowledged addiction. Everyone has sex, so it's hard to differentiate between addicts and a healthy sexual appetite. If someone does cocaine it's hard to argue it's in any way healthy. If someone has sex, it's easier to justify.
There are two extreme unhealthy reactions that are common. They can be completely disgusted and take it personally as they would act if it were an affair, discounting the addiction. Or they completely deny the fact that he has any responsibility because he's an addict, essentially letting the addiction justify the actions.
Sex addicts need treatment. They need a rigorous program. It's most likely a 12 step strategy. And they need couples therapy. They don't have any idea how devastating their addiction is to their loved one. Hearing how they've impacted this person that they love helps them to begin the difficult path ahead of them.
To find out the four symptoms of sex addicts, go to PAGE 3.