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Criteria for Sex Addiction

  1. Recurrent failure to resist sexual impulses.
  2. More extensive/longer sexual acting out than intended.
  3. Ongoing, but unsuccessful, efforts to stop, reduce, or control behavior.
  4. Inordinate time spent obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences.
  5. Feeling preoccupied with sexual behavior and/or preparatory activities.
  6. Acting out takes significant time away from obligations: occupational, academic, domestic, or social.
  7. Continuation of behavior despite consequences:

    • Risk of STD or HIV
    • Lost partner or had marital problems
    • Lost rights to be with children
    • Abortions/ unwanted pregnancies
    • Career problems
    • Risk arrest
  8. Tolerance - More frequency or intensity of behavior is needed over time to obtain the desired result.
  9. Deliberately limiting social, occupational, or recreational activities to keep time open for acting out.
  10. Distress, restlessness, or irritability if unable to do behavior (withdrawal)

    • Dizziness
    • Body aches
    • Headaches
    • Sleeplessness
    • Restlessness
    • Anxiety
    • Mood swings
    • Depression

A minumum of 3 of the above 10 needed are needed for sex addiction to be considered present. Most sex addicts have 5 signs, while over 50% have 7.

Material taken from research by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.