Is my sexual behavior normal?
Problematic sexual behavior does not necessarily mean that you are a sex addict. There are many other conditions and problems which can cause sexual behavior to get out of control. You might wonder if you have a sexual addiction when you actually have normal behavior. It may take some soul searching and professional help to decide if sex addiction is really the problem.
Definitions and behaviors of sexual addiction
Sexual addiction comes in many different forms. There is no single type of behavior or even amount of behavior that will indicate you are a sexual addict. The problem is much more complex than can be explained in a few words and if you have been living the life of a sex addict, you know how difficult it is to describe what you are experiencing.
Three basic things to consider when you define sexual addiction are:
- Do I have a sense that I have lost control over whether or not I engage in my specific out-of-control sexual behavior?
- Am I experiencing significant consequences because of my specific out-of-control sexual behavior?
- Do I feel like I am constantly thinking about my specific out-of-control sexual behavior, even when I don't want to?
It is these three "hallmarks" that help to define the boundaries of sexual addiction and compulsivity. The range of behaviors can include masturbation and pornography through sexual exploitation of others. If the three questions are answered "yes," then you may want to seek further help to begin to sort out the complexities of your sexual behavior and find out for certain if sexual addiction is the best descriptor of your problem.
Testing for sexual addiction
Dr. Patrick Carnes was one of first professionals to work with sexually addicted people and he designed the Sex Addiction Screening Test (SAST) to help figure out who has sexual addiction problems and who doesn't. To help you understand sexual addiction and determine if the problem may exist in your life or the life of a loved one, we have included some tests.
Please feel free to print the tests and use them as needed. Understand that while the score on the test is an indication about sex addiction, it is not conclusive proof that you do or do not have a problem. These tests are only an aid.
To help you understand sexual addiction and determine if the problem may exist in your life or the life of a loved one, we have included this test - The Sexual Addiction Screening Test - SAST.
Please feel free to print the test and use it as needed. Understand that while the score on the test is an indication about sex addiction, it is not conclusive proof that you do or do not have a problem. The test is only an aid.
- Taking this test for someone else may not be an accurate assessment.
- People in relationships with sex addicts often have their own issues around sex and intimacy that are as deserving of help as the sex addict's.
- Sexual addiction issues are also true of gay/lesbian relationships.