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WHILE most of us love nothing more than to indulge in some time under the sheets – there comes a point where your sexual desires could become harmful.
Addiction takes many forms and celebrities such as Russel Brand and Jada Pinkett Smith have previously discussed their issues – but how can you tell if you're addicted to sex?
Experts at Delamere Health have now uncovered the psychological impact on daily life for someone living with sex addiction.
They stated that "compulsive behaviour" has been thriving across the UK due to coronavirus lockdowns as the conditions of social isolation have made us "ripe for addiction".
Sex addiction is officially recognised as a mental health disorder whereby the sufferer compulsively engages in sexual activity.
The NHS states that some people may also have a dependency on sex and sexual activity to numb any negative emotions and difficult experiences.
This, it states,can have a negative effect on the person's quality of life and on those around them.
Here are eight signs you could be addicted to sex:
1. Obsessively thinking about sex
Having obsessive thoughts is a clear sign of most addictions.
The experts at Delamere Health said that for people who are addicted to sex – this will mean they have difficulty concentrating on anything else.
They said that these thoughts stop temporarily when a person engages in the sexual act they have been obsessing over.
2. The compulsion to engage in sex
A sex addict's brain compels them to engage in sex, even when there is a high probability of negative consequences.
The compulsion to engage in sex will also disrupt other areas of a sex addicts life, the experts said.
3. Spending excessive time engaging in sex
If you've noticed you are missing out on social events, appointments or work commitments then it could be because you are prioritising engaging in sex over other things.
The experts said that a sex addicts dependence on sex will disrupt relationships, work or education, finances, personal health and mental wellbeing.
4. Engaging in sex to a point of pain
The experts at Delamere Health said that a sex addict may masturbate so frequently that it becomes painful or have so much sex or types of rough or sadistic sex that they suffer physical pain as a result.
They added: "Yet this will not stop them from engaging excessively in sexual activity."
5. Loss of control around sex
A sex addicts behaviour will often lead them to feel overwhelming feelings of shame, regret, powerlessness, anxiety and depression.
Often a sex addict will lead a double life and have an immense fear of being caught out, the experts warned.
6. Progression of sexual behaviour
Overtime a sex addict will find that they need more sex to satisfy their needs or forms of more risky sex.
The experts said that what used to satisfy them will no longer suffice.
"They may find themselves excessively watching or engaging in more extreme forms of pornography, having sex more often, committing criminal sexual offences, paying for sex, prostitution or engaging in forms of high-risk sex such as suffocation or strangulation", they added.
7. Excluding other activities
For a sex addict, their behaviour will become all-consuming to the point that they will lose interest in hobbies or activities they once used to enjoy.
The experts added: "They are likely to withdraw from family and loved ones due to their preoccupation with sex and their feelings regarding their compulsive behaviour."
8. Continuation despite negative consequences
A sex addict will suffer negative consequences as a result of their sexual behaviour.
"Examples of common negative consequences that a sex addict may suffer include being found out as being unfaithful, contracting an STI or STD, unintentionally falling pregnant, losing a job or a relationship.
"Despite suffering negative consequences resulting from their sexual behaviour, they will not be able to stop, even if they want to", the experts warned.
If you are struggling with an addiction or issues around health then experts say that the pandemic has caused issues with sex for many people.
LloydsPharmacy’s Superintendent Pharmacist, Victoria Steele said: "We know that the past year has been very stressful for many.
"From speaking to women and understanding their concerns, it’s clear that stress is taking its toll not just on their sex lives but on many aspects of their health.
“Having a healthy sex life is good for your wellbeing – it’s even thought to be good for your heart – not just emotionally but physically too."
She added that a good place to start is by addressing your concerns with your partner head on.
"When it comes to physical health, partners aren’t mind readers and not all ‘physical health concerns’ have obvious symptoms so be vocal, share your challenges and you may be surprised how much support is offered!
"Tackling health concerns and paving the way to better together is always easier than doing it alone", she said.
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