What is Sexual Addiction?

Patrick Carnes defines addiction as having a pathological relationship with a mood altering chemical or behavior. Simply stated, sexual addiction is the lack of control of some sexual behavior or relationship. Perhaps the most helpful definition is a practical one: sexual behavior that has a negative effect on one’s life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Like with alcohol or drugs, sex addiction fits the classic, four-component model of what
comprises an addiction:

1. Compulsivity – The loss of control over a behavior. An addict continues in the behavior
    or relationship despite repeated attempts to stop.

2. Continuation despite negative consequences.

3. Preoccupation or obsession.

4. Tolerance – More of the same behavior or an escalation of progressive behaviors is
    required to get the same “high”.