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Dating a Sex Addict: Pros, Cons & Precautions To Consider

by John Santana

TRIGGER WARNING: This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about sex addiction which may be upsetting to some people. If you are a sex addict please consider visiting Sex Addicts Anonymous or calling them on (713) 869 4902 for help.

What is it like dating a sex addict? And what are behaviors that feed into this compulsive sexual behavior? We are going to discuss how we as partners can assist in dealing with these sexual urges.

It is important to understand the taboos around sexual needs and sexual addiction. Being a supportive and loving partner is the best we can do for a sex addict.

It is essential to help our partners resist feeling ashamed about their sexual activity. Noticing sex addiction in someone we care about can be a tough truth to swallow. But if the relationship is strong then we are able to do what needs to be done to guide a partner through a complex situation like sex addiction.

Health and Diagnosis


One of the most difficult things to do is admit that we have a problem. That will be the first step in helping our partners recover from sex addiction.

How does Diagnosis Work?

The best solution would be to take a sex addiction partner to see a mental health professional for treatment options. Sex addiction is hard to diagnose as it is not considered to be a mental disorder. That being said there are patterns that people fall into which will assist in making the distinction of someone being a sex addict.

There is the belief that there are multiple factors that create a sex addiction. The belief is that it is biological, psychological, as well as social factors that allow this addiction to manifest.

Certain Criteria for Sexual Addiction

Sex addicts will need to meet the criteria mentioned below. Any diagnosis will need to be done with professional help.

  • If our partner’s behaviors tend toward having casual sex with multiple partners.
  • If our partner’s sexual activities lead to having affairs.
  • Constant sexual urges for sex then come with feelings of depression, guilt, shame, and regret.
  • The uncontrollable urge to constantly have phone sex, online sex, watch porn or use any form of pornography.
  • Behavior may become erratic and dangerous. Such as having sex with prostitutes, going to sex clubs, and having sex in public spaces.
  • Being obsessed with sex and not having time for other things.
  • How much sex and how much masturbation is taking place are part of the signs.

Types of Treatment

It is important for sex addicts to understand how their sexual addiction affects us as partners. If they do not understand how this impacts their relationships then they may never be able to seek help for healthy sex life.

  • Hands-on one-on-one therapy with a mental health professional is the way to go for accurate treatment.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is heavily based on talking through problems and what the sex addict is experiencing.
  • Eye movement desensitization and processing focus on changing the emotions, thoughts, and responses surrounding the addictions. This targets the memory and how the brain stores this information. By changing these memories the brain is able to reduce sexual addiction.
  • Psychodynamic therapy delves into treating how the recovering sex addict feels and thinks. The idea is to gain a deeper understanding of the signs and symptoms of sexual addiction.
  • Group therapy is led by more than one mental health professional. The group ranges from about five to fifteen people. This is a form of psychotherapy.
  • A support group assists our partners in being understood by others who are dealing with the same behaviors. Our partner’s addiction can be supported by people who have suffered similar experiences in a nonjudgmental environment.
  • It can even be helpful for us as partners to join a support group. It can be helpful to speak to others who have experienced the pain and anger of a partner suffering.
  • Inpatient treatment involves sex addicts booking into a treatment facility to gain help. Often they will be with people who struggle with drug addiction, substance abuse, and alcohol abuse. These types of addiction touch on similar behavior patterns.
  • Couples counseling or marriage counseling can be helpful to talk through issues that have been created within the relationship.
  • As someone dating a sex addict, it is a good idea to seek out therapy as well. This will help to work through any emotions which cannot be shared in the relationship. The health of each partner is essential.
  • Involving family members in therapy can assist in the recovery of a sex addict. Their relationships may also have suffered at the hands of the sex addict.

As sex addictions are often related to mental health issues therefore it is best to seek professional treatment for partners suffering from sex addiction.


Relationships and Sex Addiction

In order to understand our partner’s behaviors, we need to talk to them about how they act. A better understanding will lead to better support.

Sexual addiction can cause long-lasting and irreparable damage to relationships. It is helpful to let sex addicts know that they are not alone in their concerns.

Behaviors, Negative Consequences, and Understanding


  • Besides mental health, there can be physical health impacts of compulsive sexual behavior such as swelling in the vagina, tears, abnormal bleeding, and bladder infections.
  • Unwanted pregnancies are a huge issue when it comes to sex addiction. Often an impulse will be so consuming that there is no thought for the consequences.
  • They may fall into substance abuse. It can be natural for a person who is addicted to replace one problem with another.
  • Pornography use can affect the relationship and negatively impact the partner. The use of pornography can make a partner feel unwanted and undesirable.
  • Pornography can also be used to cope with the reduction in actual sex.


  • Sex addicts display compulsive sexual behavior that they feel is out of their control.
  • Our partners can feel ashamed about their sexual desires which can cause anxiety.
  • An intimacy disorder can develop between partners. As it can cause feelings of neglect and distrust.
  • It can be difficult to connect with a person that feels urges that we do not understand. It is though relating to a problem we do not suffer from.
  • Open communication about what is being experienced can help mitigate feeling lost if the recovery process.
  • Clear communication can assist in understanding how to better help each other through the daily struggles each partner might be experiencing.
  • It is going to be different for each couple. They will have reactions based on their relationship and their commitment to each other. It is very different from a year-old relationship than it will be from a seven-year marriage.
  • Anxiety is an issue for a person trying to deal with emotions around addiction and mental health. They may become withdrawn and suffer from low self-esteem.
  • New feelings and desires will surface each day. They will need to be dealt with as they come up.
  • It is unrealistic to expect either person to force the process. They can only move forward when there is space for healing to take place.
  • Control is a big part of recovery. The sexual behavior of a partner in everyday life and while dating can come down to how much control they have over their bodies. To feel like control has been taken away over what happens with your partner and their bodies can cause the addiction to spiral.
  • Support for the person we are dating is going to be tough. Sometimes we can feel cheated and like we are alone. It is important to have our own support systems in place.
  • They can suffer from self-esteem issues. Often knowing that they are causing pain within a relationship or while dating can be difficult.
  • Recovery from compulsive sex addiction is a long road. It will take time and patience to rebuild a healthy sex life again.
  • It is essential to look out for signs and symptoms of other forms of addiction that may form to replace compulsive sexual behavior.
  • Low self-esteem is a real problem for rebuilding a healthy approach to life. There will be many emotions that arise for someone fighting to break their addiction. This is a real concern for a relapse.
  • Learning how to be in charge of sexual impulses will need to be learned. This can be done by setting new boundaries and sex.
  • A healthy relationship around sex will need to be developed. As well as a healthy relationship with our partner.
  • The desire to seek treatment without intervention can be a saving action for the relationship. If our partner can put their addiction aside for long enough to see that they are causing damage to the people they love.

Sex Addiction - Treatment Centre


At the end of the day, there is nothing like support and love from those around us. We all need emotional support in our lives. It is important to know that a sex addiction partner is in a daily battle to save their life and their relationship. So it is essential for us to give them what they need to work through what they are feeling.

There is much professional help available around addiction. There are safe facilities for people who need them. It is important for every addict to know that they are not alone. It is a great idea to include only those that the addict is comfortable with knowing this intimate knowledge.

Support for each partner involved is key to success. It can be a draining situation if left alone to guide someone through the road of breaking habits. It is great if the addict can be reassured of the positive outcome for their life ahead. There needs to be a focus on the benefits of breaking their addiction.

Those closest to the addict can help with this type of reassurance. It can be easier to open up about certain issues to one person but not another. The addict needs to form these connections within relationships. As it has been said many times over, acknowledging there is a problem is the first step to fixing a problem.

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John Santana

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