Sex addiction is common in the United States. By nature, it can cause harm to those with the condition and people close to them. Individuals living with sex addiction usually had a troubled childhood and now deal with intense feelings of shame, hopelessness, and isolation.

Social stigmas surrounding sex addiction can perpetuate the problem by causing those with it to avoid seeking help. The truth is, though many sex offenders have a sex addiction, not all with the condition commit crimes. Facts and statistics known today show that people with a sex addiction are quite diverse and act on their addiction in different ways. If patients with this disorder do seek help, though, they often recover successfully.

Prevalence of Sex Addiction

Currently, researchers are only able to roughly estimate how common sex addiction is. First, sex addiction is not currently recognized as a true psychological disorder. Part of this is because sex itself is a normal, healthy human behavior like eating and sleeping. It becomes a problem, however, when the need for sex interferes with one’s daily life, creates relationship issues or causes harm to others. People with a sex addiction frequently try, unsuccessfully, to curb their sexual behaviors on their own. Second, the stigma against people with sex addictions makes such individuals reluctant to speak about it or seek help. Dispelling myths about the disorder and making the benefits of treatment more well-known are essential for reducing its prevalence.

When the disorder was first discussed, researchers estimated that between 3–5% of the adult population had some form of addictive sexual behavior. While it can be challenging to assess current rates of sex addiction, many believe that the prevalence of the condition has increased in recent years.

Sex Addiction and the World Wide Web

A major reason for the increased incidence of sex addiction is the rise of the internet, and therefore, cybersex. Today, anybody can access sexually graphic material with a few clicks. Sex chat rooms and dating and hookup apps like Tinder enable people to quickly and easily locate others looking for sexual encounters. This instant gratification can feed into addictive habits.

The internet has allowed a certain amount of anonymity when indulging in unusual, harmful or illegal sexual behaviors. It is also easier to find other people with similar fetishes, making them seem less taboo. Unfortunately, preying on minors is also relatively easy through online chat rooms, which has led to a rise in human trafficking and sexual assault on underage individuals.

Sex Addiction Demographics

Though it can impact anybody, sex addiction tends to affect certain populations more often than others. The number of people in the United States living with sex addiction is currently estimated at 12–30 million. Both men and women can be affected, though little research exists on female sex addiction. Men with sex addiction have an average of 32 sexual partners, while females have an average of 22 sexual partners.

A strong correlation exists between sex addiction and childhood trauma. Surveys of people with sex addictions show that during childhood:

  • 72% were physically abused
  • 81% were sexually abused
  • 97% were emotionally abused

Sex and Porn Addiction

Sex and porn addiction often go hand-in-hand. Many people with sex addiction turn to porn to satisfy their desires.  Many people with sex addiction say that they are dependent on porn and become distressed when they go for long periods without viewing it.

Effects of Sex Addiction on Relationships

Sex addiction can cause many problems within relationships, particularly for married or long-term monogamous couples. Often, someone with sex addiction will seek multiple partners outside of their relationship. They may also frequently end up with financial problems from seeking sexual gratification, which can cause significant tension with their spouse.

Romantic partners, especially women, often suffer emotionally when they discover their partner has a sex addiction or has committed infidelity. As many as 80% develop depression, while 60% develop an eating disorder. Partners of people with sex addictions are also much more likely to contract an STI, such as HIV or HPV.

Sex Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

People with sex addictions are likely to struggle with other mental disorders and illnesses. Some of these may be related to past abuse that many people with sex addiction have experienced.

Common co-occurring disorders include:

Sex Addiction and Trauma

Unfortunately, there is a correlation between sex addiction and sexual violence. Approximately 55% of convicted sex offenders and 71% of convicted child molesters have a sex addiction. Child victims of sexual trauma often go on to become offenders themselves.

Legal Consequences of Sex Addiction

People with sex addictions sometimes turn to criminal behavior to satisfy their desires. Often, the taboo nature of an act is what makes it exciting or arousing to people with sex addiction. Sometimes, the illegal act is fairly innocuous, such as hiring prostitutes. The legal consequences of consensual adult prostitution are relatively minor.

Other times, though, it can expand to much more harmful criminal acts, like rape, human trafficking and child molestation and pornography. On top of the harm done to the victims of these acts, the legal consequences for these acts are severe for the perpetrator. They can result in many years in prison, depending on the crime and the state it was committed in.

Statistics on Sex Addiction Treatment

Treating sex addiction can be challenging. Since there is no medication that can help, psychotherapy such as talk therapy or counseling is the main course of treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and 12-step recovery programs can be helpful.

Approximately 5% of people successfully recover from their sex addiction. Although addiction remains a chronic condition for most people, receiving treatment can help manage its symptoms and allow people to lead a healthier and safer lifestyle.

Sex addiction often co-occurs with drug and alcohol addictions. If you or somebody you love is living with sex and substance addiction, help is available. Call The Recovery Village today to learn about resources and discuss possible treatment plans.

    

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