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Home / Advice / Addiction / Sex addiction, symptoms, cause, effects

Sex addiction, symptoms, cause, effects

By: Sarah Walsh

Updated: 09 August 2016

Sex addiction, symptoms, cause, effects

Sex addiction can result in many complex and serious challenges, not only for the sufferer but for their partners and families.

There is still much stigma surrounding the condition and this can stop someone sharing their concerns and fear about what they’re experiencing.

However, many people with a sexual addiction benefit from talking to a mental health professional about what they’re going through.

What are the different types of sexual addictions?

There are no distinct categories, but sexual addictions can come in different forms, including addiction to:

  • Pornography
  • Prostitution
  • Masturbation or fantasy
  • Sadistic or masochistic behaviour 
  • Exhibition/Voyeurism
  • Other excessive sexual pursuits
Emotional symptoms of sex addiction

If you or someone you love suffers from sex addiction, you might not have healthy boundaries. If your partner is addicted to porn or sex, you may feel alienated, isolated, depressed, angry, or humiliated and need treatment yourself. If you are addicted to sex, you might become easily involved with people sexually or emotionally regardless of how well you know them. Because most sex addicts fear being abandoned, they might stay in relationships that aren’t healthy, or they may jump from relationship to relationship. When alone, they might feel empty or incomplete. They might also sexualize feelings like guilt, loneliness or fear.

Physical symptoms of sex addiction

Although a sex addiction or pornography addiction can create many physical side effects, few physical symptoms of this condition exist. However, the most common physical sex addict symptoms you might notice from having a sexual addiction is feeling immobilised due to sexual or emotional obsessions.

Effects of sex addiction

Sex addiction can have a negative impact on a person’s life. It can lead to:

  • A decline in personal relationships, social, and family engagement
  • Decreased concentration and productivity at work
  • Physical consequences like sexual dysfunction or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Getting help

If you or someone you love is living with sexual addiction, we can help. Call us at 076 680 1060 or email to make an appointment, or simply click on the button below.


Stephen Watkins Psychologist Location: Cork

Approach: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Works with: Individual Session , Couples Session , Family , Extended couples session , Extended family session

Specialities: Trauma , Self-Esteem , Relationship issues , Personal Development , Depression , Bereavement / Loss , Anxiety , Anger , Stress , Addiction

Next avaialble appointment: 13:00 03 October 2022

Gloria Tolongo Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Gestalt Therapy , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Works with: Children & Adolescents , Individual Session

Specialities: Relationship issues , Depression , Anxiety , Addiction , Self-Esteem , Trauma , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 19:00 04 October 2022

Patricia Bourke Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Gestalt Therapy , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Person-Centred Therapy , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Works with: Individual Session

Specialities: Relationship issues , Depression , Bereavement / Loss , Anxiety , Addiction , Self-Esteem , Stress , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 10:00 03 October 2022

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