Am I Addicted to Sex or Pornography?

How can I know if I am addicted to sex or pornography? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Have you ever debated with yourself or a partner if your sexual behavior is an abnormal and an addiction or if it’s just the normal behavior of any red-blooded man or woman? Perhaps your friends or the voices in society are telling you that it’s normal to do the things you do, but you have this nagging voice in the back of your mind saying something’s very wrong. How can you determine if you are an addict? How can you tell if your behavior is not normal?

Sex or Porn Addiction Test

There are a number of self-administered tests you can find online. You might have run across the “Test Yourself” questions on our site or the international SA.org site. Those were helpful to consider when I was asking that question. They are good questions, but they don’t provide much in the way of guidance.

Yes, many of those questions describe me? Does that make me an sex addict or a porn addict?

Those pages don’t really answer the question directly, though if you answer yes enough times like I did, it kind of confirms the nagging doubt that brought you here in the first place.

Am I Addicted to Sex or Porn?

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM is the “taxonomic and diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association.” While the current edition does not address sex addiction, it’s helpful to look at the criteria they consider to be markers of a “substance use disorder”. The DSM-5 refers to “the substance”. In the list below, I’ve substituted “sex” for “the substance” in the list below for the purposes of our discussion.*

  1. Engaging in sexual behavior (or using porn, masturbating, etc.) in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to.
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop using having sex but not managing to.
  3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from sex.
  4. Cravings and urges to engage in the sexual behavior.
  5. Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of engaging in the sexual behavior.
  6. Continuing to engage in the sexual behavior, even when it causes problems in relationships.
  7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the sexual behavior.
  8. Engaging in the sexual behavior again and again, even when it puts you in danger.
  9. Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the sexual behavior.
  10. Needing more of the sexual behavior to get the effect you want (tolerance).
  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by engaging in more of the sexual behavior.

Check. Check. Check…

So Are You A Sex or Porn Addict?

So how’d you do? If you are like me and my friends in Sexaholics Anonymous here in St. Louis or the wider world, a number of these described you. So then does that make you a sex addict or a sexaholic? Here’s what the DSM-5 suggests in diagnosing a “substance use disorder”:

  • 2 or 3 symptoms indicate a mild disorder
  • 4 or 5 symptoms indicate a moderate disorder
  • 6 or more symptoms indicate a severe disorder

Really, the question you need to ask, is your behavior making you miserable or endangering you relationally, spiritually, legally, or in some other way? Yes? Have you tried to stop? Yes? Have you tried to stop repeatedly? Yes? Sounds like you have a problem.

Recovery Is Possible!

And if you have the problem, we have a solution. We too lived with far too many of the 11 criteria. More accurately, we suffered with them. For too long. But we have found a gracious home in Sexaholics Anonymous. We have found that with the right tools (the 12-Steps!) and the right group of friends (the Sexaholics Anonymous fellowship) we have been able to recover.

This article asks the question, “Am I addicted to sex or porn?” I hope you have gotten clarity on that point. The next question is even more critical: “Do I want to stop? Do I want a life without despair and danger? Do I want a good life?” If your answer is Yes!, we want to help. Give us a call at 314.995.2687 or find a meeting to visit. We’re looking forward to meeting you and walking with you on your great new journey!  See you soon.

 

Long to be happy and free? Click to find a meeting!

 

*Neither Sexaholics Anonymous nor its members are professional therapists or counselors. The DSM-5 criteria is simply provided as helpful tool given that Sexaholics Anonymous strongly identifies it’s sexually compulsive behaviors with the substance abuse experience of the alcoholics of Alcoholics Anonymous.