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Symptoms of Hypersexual Disorder (Sex Addiction)

In 2010, the American Psychiatric Association released draft, preliminary criteria that may define “sex addiction,” which they are formally called Hypersexual Disorder. Hypersexual disorder can only be diagnosed in adults 18 years or older, according to the draft criteria.

The symptoms of Hypersexual Disorder are:

  • Over a period of at least six months, a person experiences recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior in association with four or more of the following five criteria:
    1. Excessive time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behavior.
    2. Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, irritability).
    3. Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to stressful life events.
    4. Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.
    5. Repetitively engaging in sexual behavior while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others.
  • The person experiences clinically significant personal distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning associated with the frequency and intensity of these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.
  • These sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior are not due to direct physiological effects of drugs or medications, or to Manic Episodes.

Specify if:

  • Masturbation
  • Pornography
  • Sexual Behavior With Consenting Adults
  • Cybersex
  • Telephone Sex
  • Strip Clubs
  • Other:

Explore More About Sexual Addiction

Source: American Psychiatric Association

Symptoms of Hypersexual Disorder (Sex Addiction)


John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2019). Symptoms of Hypersexual Disorder (Sex Addiction). Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-of-hypersexual-disorder-sex-addiction/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 19 Jun 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 19 Jun 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.