Sexual addiction is defined as any sexually-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one's work environment.
Sexual addiction has been called sexual dependency and sexual compulsivity. By any name, it is a compulsive behavior that dominates the addict's life. Sexual addicts make sexual behavior a priority more important than family, friends, and work. Sexual behavior becomes the organizing principle of addict's lives.
No single behavior pattern defines sexual addiction. These behaviors, when they have taken control of addicts' lives and become unmanageable, include: compulsive masturbation, compulsive heterosexual and homosexual relationships, pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and indecent phone calls. Even the healthiest forms of human sexual expression can turn into self-defeating behaviors.
The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health defines several recurring components of sexual addiction:
Sexual addicts feel driven to participate in their sexual behavior regardless of the risk and no matter the consequences. People tend to think that sexual addiction is all about sex; it is NOT! It is about core feelings of lonliness and unworthiness.
Sexual addiction offers a quick mood change. It is common for sexual addicts to feel that their lives are out of control. Deception, blatant fabrications, lies and contrived excuses go hand-in-hand with sexual addiction.