While the definition of sex addiction is the same as that of other addictions, sexual compulsion is set apart from other addictions in that sex involves our innermost unconscious wishes, needs, fantasies, fears and conflicts. While there currently is no diagnosis of sex addiction in the DSM-IV, clinicians in the sex addiction field have developed general criteria for diagnosing sex addiction.
If an individual meets three or more of these criteria, he or she could be considered a sex addict: Sometimes, it’s difficult to know whether someone close to you has an addiction.
Central to the disorder is the inability of the individual to adequately bond and attach in intimate relationships.
Distress, shame and guilt about the behaviors erode the addict’s already weak self-esteem.
Sexual addiction can be conceptualized as an intimacy disorder manifested as a compulsive cycle of preoccupation, ritualization, sexual behavior, and despair.