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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: How do I know if my partner is a sex addict?
The use of certain antidepressants (SSRIs) has proved to be very effective in treating the impulse control problems of many sexual compulsives.
Likewise for the woman who always seems to get involved with unavailable, married men, a truly present, drama-free suitor can be deemed ‘boring.’ These unique challenges can be overcome, of course, but the sex addict will have their work cut out for them. The sex addict is used to instant gratification, and may not have the patience to invest in a long term relationship that builds gradually through shared interests and time spent getting to know one another.
This impossible ‘slowness’ that intimacy requires may frustrate and confuse the addict, who no doubt is in a rush to form a relationship after so many months spent healing in celibacy.
Central to the disorder is the inability of the individual to adequately bond and attach in intimate relationships.
The syndrome is rooted in early attachment failure with primary caregivers.