Of course an addict often spends a lot of time convincing him or herself there is no problem and they are in control. But note that the very fact you are questioning if you are in control likely means there is an issue worth looking at.
But many sex addicts are the last person you’d suspect. Addiction is often by it’s very nature hidden.
The pain and shame that drive addiction thrive in secrecy. This is why such an important part of any 12-step recovery process is to admit the problem to others.
3. Sex addicts love sex.
Many sex addicts engage in sexual fantasy or behaviours that leave them feeling mired in shame and self-hatred after. They might think about things that repulse them yet turn them on, or have sex with people they don’t even like.
In therapy, a sex addict might discover they are very out of touch with themselves and their desire. They have to go back to square one with discovering what they truly like and don’t like when it comes to sex.
4. Sex addicts are always players.
You can be in a relationship and still be a sex addict. Perhaps, for example, you constantly self-pleasure and fantasise, or have ongoing sexual chats with strangers over the internet behind your partners back.
Or you might use sex addictively with your partner, demanding it constantly and getting angry or upset if they can’t meet your needs, and using sex over communication whenever the relationship falters.
A sexual predator seeks power over another person, and the rush or ‘high’ is about degrading or hurting the other person. They often show little to no remorse, blaming the other person for the interaction or claiming it was beyond their control.
A sex addict is seeking relief from inner pain. Sexual addiction is not about the other person at all. The person they hurt is themselves, and they suffer shame and guilt after.
Note also that sex addiction does not always involve other people. It can be carried out via compulsive self pleasuring, or through things like excessive visits to strip bars or use of online chat rooms.
6. If you are a sex addict, it’s because you have sexual issues.
Sex addiction is not at root about sex at all. Like all addictions, it is rather a maladaptive coping mechanism and a response to trauma. Addictive behaviour allows us to even briefly escape who we are, and all the thoughts and feelings we don’t like.