Am I A Sex Addict? The Difference Between Hypersexuality and Addiction

Written by: Dr. Joshua Gonzalez

When I think of hypersexuality, I often think of some TV’s most beloved coitus connoisseurs. Characters like How I Met Your Mother’s Barney, Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, and even the Golden Girl herself, Blanche Devereaux. These revered supporting roles always seemed ready for a romp or a roll in the hay. But were these beloved b-plots just hypersexual or were they nymphomaniacs? Most likely, they were just superbly sex-positive. But it does raise a question: where is the line between Barney and a full blown nympho? When does it become a problem? Today, Popstar delves into the signs of sex addiction.

What exactly are we addicted to?

Before we dissect the signs of sexual addiction, we first need to discern what it is about sex that can make it so addicting? The true pitfalls lie in the release of dopamine that accompanies a pushin’ in the cushion. Sex addicts don’t necessarily become hooked on the act of doing the deed, but the dopamine rush that comes along with it. During intercourse, the brain releases dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing. When the brain is constantly flooded with dopamine, it can become reliant, leaving addicts perpetually chasing down that temporary high.

Obsessive Thoughts

It is ok to have “love on the brain” as Bad Gal Riri would say but if the only thing on your brain is love, or in this case, sex, then there may be cause for concern. Let us be clear, there is nothing wrong with having “impure thoughts'', despite what you may have learned in Catholic school. But having obsessive, and often intrusive, thoughts about sex could be a sign of sexual addiction. In fact, it is often the first.

If they aren’t having sex already, people who struggle with sex addiction tend to obsess over planning their next rendezvous. If the only thing on your calendar are booty calls, it may be time to pencil in some time for self-reflection. While we are on the subject of calendars, sex addicts often skip important events such as work, school, time with family and friends to prioritize sex.

People struggling with sex addiction tend to also have thoughts of engaging in other forms of sexual activity, such as watching porn or masturbation. Which brings up to our next topic.

Excessive Masturbation

It is more than ok to choke the chicken. In fact, there are numerous health benefits associated with masturbation. However, there’s choking the chicken, and there is choking the chicken to death. People with sex addiction often masturbate excessively, sometimes to the point of injury.

For addicts in relationships, it is difficult to find a partner that can meet their sexual demands. Differences in lIbido often lead addicts to resort to the next best thing: masturbation.

If you’re polishing the bannister so much that you’re stripping the stain, you may need to cut back or speak to someone. Excessive masturbation can lead to injury and damage to the genitals. Addicts may also use questionable materials to masturbate and partake at inappropriate times, which is very risky business. Speaking of which…

Risky Business

Since we now know that addicts are constantly chasing the “high” associated with sex, that desire often supersedes better judgment. People struggling with sex addiction often put themselves in extreme and potentially dangerous situations to quench their thirst. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for sex addicts to engage in unprotected or public sex. This risky business can lead to STIs, unplanned pregnancies, or charges for public indecency.

Relationship Troubles

Depending on the severity of one’s sexual addiction, it can be difficult for partners of addicts to meet their needs sexually. We know that addicts may turn to masturbation, but sex addicts also tend to look outside their relationships to have their needs met. Addiction of any kind can lead to communication problems, as addicts tend to lie to perpetuate their addictive behavior to avoid withdrawals. With sex addicts, these lies often manifest in cheating. And as we’ve all learned from recreational soccer or even Scandoval, cheaters never prosper.


So what are the ramifications of a sex addiction? Other than the damage it can do to your body physically, and the toll it can take on relationships, it can also raise mental health concerns. It is not uncommon for people struggling with sexual addiction to also deal with depression. In fact, sexually compulsive people are more likely to show signs of depression than the general population. The difficulty to control one’s sexual urges can be embarrassing which further contributes to shame and depression.

Like any other addiction, there are withdrawals when a sexual addict attempts to take the reins and cease sexual activity. Withdrawal symptoms, aside from depression, can include mood swings, irritability, difficulty sleeping, malaise, head and body aches, among others.

While anyone is susceptible to developing a sex addiction, there are certain groups of people that are at a higher risk.

Who is most at risk for sex addiction?

While anyone is susceptible to developing a sex addiction, there are certain groups of people that are at a higher risk. For starters, sex addiction is more common in men than women. People who struggle with depression and anxiety and those with personality disorders are all considered higher risk. Addiction can also be hereditary, so those with a family history of any addiction are at a higher risk as well. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD may also be at higher risk. Finally, those with a history of suicide attempts are also at a higher risk for developing a sex addiction.

From physical and mental health, to relationship woes, sexual addiction can disrupt and wreak havoc on your everyday life. If you, or someone you know, is exhibiting any of the signs of a sexual addiction, please reach out to a health care or mental health provider to figure out which treatment is best for you. There are also numerous support groups, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous to assist in your journey to having a healthier relationship with sex.

Dr. Joshua Gonzalez

Dr. Joshua Gonzalez

Dr. Joshua Gonzalez is a board-certified urologist who is fellowship-trained in Sexual Medicine and specializes in the management of male and female sexual dysfunctions. He completed his medical education at Columbia University and his urological residency at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Throughout his career, Dr. Gonzalez has focused on advocating for sexual health and providing improved healthcare to the LGBTQ+ community.