I was recently having a conversation with a very close friend of mine who is in legal services in India. Though she is a millennial, she had a firm opinion against online dating and friendship platforms. Till now, I had been indifferent towards them. I don’t use them, and I feel people who use them are mature enough to make their own decisions.

However, she had a different agenda altogether. She had witnessed the world a li’l more than I have. She had seen people and families get destroyed because of being “too much social”. She is not entirely wrong. When I used to hear the words “sex maniac” or “sex-addiction”, I never realized that what they mean. We often think that a person with high libido is a “sex-maniac” or a person/colleague/friend who is always talking about sex, is a “sex-addict”. Li’l did I know the correlation between being too much social and sexual addiction.

I had used the term nymphomaniac very loosely in the past, and I couldn’t be more guilty. 

There are specific incidences in life which change you forever. They transform your perspective about certain things so drastically that they are difficult to revert. Maybe those changes in attitude are good, but they make you a li’l less flexible in your outlook. Yes, I am talking about those incidences.

What is sex addiction?

I am coming back to my, and to some extent your, understanding of a sex – addiction. Sex addiction is not clearly classified as an addiction* yet and thus, we are still living in this dark world where we can just laugh about it. However, present-day psychology and many counselling circles study it as an urgent subject.   

Sex-addiction, or compulsive sexual behaviour, is primarily an excessive urge to have sex, preoccupation with sexual fantasies or sexual activities which are difficult to control. Sexual conduct becomes the prime focus of one’s life. This can cause distress or worse, negatively affect your health, job and relationships.

*You can refer to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorder (DSM – 5) here.

People with sex addiction tend to live dual lives. They are extremely possessive about their phones, have hidden email ids, boast about their sexual partners and have no place for fear of STDs in their lives.

If you ever notice your close friend or your partner showing any such behaviour/symptoms, I would request you to please talk to them. They might not admit or might show extreme defensive behaviour, but it is important that you help them reach out to the right help. I have talked about in the later section. 

Inevitable Destruction

I have been educated about the fact that like every other addiction, sex addiction is also a coping mechanism for certain unresolved issues like anxiety, bad childhood, toxic relationships etc. It begins like a quest, which is fueled by maybe pornography and then becomes the baggage which is challenging to get rid of.

Sex addiction wrecks families and destroys people, both physically and emotionally. Sex addiction can burn careers too. People with sex addiction alter their daily life and activities and are unable to control their behaviour – and not to mention, turn self-centred, without their knowledge. You might want to hate them, but they need help and don’t hesitate to be the one to offer advice before it’s too late.

Fuel Called Online Dating

Sex at your fingertips – this is the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when they want to connect the dots between online dating and sex-addiction. When a person is always thinking about sex, any dating app becomes the tool to satisfy the uncontrollable urge to fulfil their sexual fantasies.  That is true. 

However, the problem is somehow deep-rooted. My friend, who talks to addicts almost regularly, told me that the confidence that every “perfect match” on the dating platform boosts a person’s self-confidence to a different extent. A person whose mind is clouded by sexual fantasies might not be someone who is extremely confident about themselves. He/she might be looking for validation. When you sign-up for a dating site, the response is humungous, and you feel wanted.

Then follows the ease of reaching out to new people for sex and one night stands. Sex addicts don’t look for a commitment and that is precisely what online dating sites offer – shallow connection. You get to do what you want to with no strings attached: more sexual partners and no interpersonal consequences.

And before you know it, you are spending almost all of your productive time flirting online, hunting for your next sexual partner and living the life you have always wanted to! 

And when an addict gets what he/she is addicted to, you know what it leads to.

Is there a cure?

Of course, there is! I can tell you to go for a total or partial abstinence. However, is it that simple? No.

If you think you are showing compulsive sexual behaviour, reach out for help. It is nothing to be ashamed of. You should be proud of yourself that you identified it and you want to save yourself. Not many people can do it.

If you know someone, I will repeat, try to help them rather than abandoning them.

Proper counselling and therapy are available to help someone come out of it with minimum damage. It doesn’t happen overnight, but baby steps are equally important. There are sex-addict groups to facilitate rehabilitation. There is counselling available to alter your sexual behaviour. They are one-on-one sessions, and they maintain your anonymity if you don’t want to go for group programs. Finally, there is drug therapy which is suggested in extreme cases.

But it is curable. And that is important. 

Many friends and untrained therapists might treat sex addiction as infidelity. It is so much more than that or maybe isn’t that at all! If you feel that you are not able to reach out for the correct help, feel free to reach out to me, and I shall connect you with the right therapist.

This is my attempt to reach out to people who might need help. I may be reaching out to a handful of people right now, but all I need to have is a network of healthy audience.

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.

58 Comments
  1. Indeed. Sex addiction is somewhat hard to deal because it isn’t talked about openly. I think talking to the right person about it will definitely help.

  2. Many people already encountered the danger of online dating. More people must be aware of this and do something about it. Glad this matter has a cure.

  3. Online dating has always gave me anxiety. There are plenty of people who use online dating platforms to feed their sexual addictions its sad but yeah its all about discernment.

  4. I have never thought about it in that way before. Thankfully I met my husband before social media and online dating became a big thing.

  5. I never correlated online dating with sexual addiction…at least not from the people I know who have met their partners through this media.We do as a society, use the term “nymphomaniac” and “sex addict” quite loosely and we do need to be mindful that it is an actual illness and not necessarily a choice. Great article and topic! I love it when writers aren’t afraid to address contentious topics.

  6. Thank you for writing about this. My ex was a sex addict. He couldn’t stop watching porn and yes, it has destroying effects on the person as well as people around them.

  7. I find it interesting that online dating and sex addiction go hand in hand. My friends on Tinder and other apps say how it contributed to the current hookup culture where physical connection is more sought after than a committed relationship. There’s such a fine line between addiction and enthusiasm and it’s hard to understand what goes through an addict’a mind if we aren’t willing to listen and understand before we judge

  8. REally interesting thoughts… thank you for sharing. I often feel very lucky that I happened to meet my now husband pretty young (19) and in real life … I guess I never really had to do the dating thing a la Tinder and online type scenarios. We just liked eachother and went out in a more old fashioned way. It does concern me when I think of the dating landscape in 15-20 years for my daughter and sons Though!

  9. Though I had not heard this term before, but yes! I agree that it is a type of mental disorders and people who suffer from it need a proper conselling. regarding on line dating..I think it is a personal choice of any individual. #Surbhireads #Myfriendalexa

  10. I think I’m like you in that I never thought much about online dating let alone made the correlation between this and sex addiction. However, anything that consumes your mind on a minute by minute basis where you can’t even make a rational decision is destructive. I had a cousin who says he was a sex addict but it was just too much for me to hear about. I was glad he had a support group to talk things through with. And a counselor.

  11. I had absolutely no idea about this issue. Now I can say I am fairly educated. These topics are so rarely discussed but they should be. Thanks for your attempt

  12. Nowadays, films promote sex and related sexual activities. With the rapid growth of smartphones, things are in the fingertips. The couples should discuss these things during marriage itself to avoid problems.

  13. I can definitely see the correlation between dating apps and sex addiction. This is a really important topic that needs more awareness.

  14. Very very informative post, especially when young teens are exposed to media easily. Sex addiction when leads to crime gest dangerous and one need to find a solution before it peaks. #PraGunReads #MyFriendAlexa

  15. An interesting post. Did not know frequent sexual encounters with multiple partners can be a form of addiction. I thought the term is used loosely. Men / women would have a bad childhood in pre internet dating era, how would they cope? Abroad, may be in India, there used to be binge sex and group sex etc. Are these also a form of addiction? Any sensory pleasure once one knows how to obtain, the desire to get it more often increases. Internet might have facilitated the process by making potential partners easily available.

  16. The advent of online dating or companionship options have no doubt provided such sick people to justify their indulgence and explore deeper. Never thought of counseling some close friends who I know fall in this category. Probably will now.

  17. A very interesting article on the correlation between sex addiction and online dating. I, like you, didn’t have much of an opinion on online dating before reading this. It is very eye opening and definitely stand to reason! Great write up!

  18. Thanks for sharing! this was a really informative post…with the internet today we are seeing more and more mental/physical diseases being aggravated and this kind of information needs to be shared to create awareness.

  19. I feel like a lot of people don’t even make the correlation between the two because they don’t realize how true it is that online dating as well as social media makes everything so available without any effort. It’s really unfortunate that a lot of people don’t even realize the issue with this either or don’t even realize that they have a problem. This is a great read! I can’t wait to read your next post!

  20. Each to his own, for many online dating platforms are a way to find their soulmate and for a lot of others, just a platform to find hookups. As we believe the online world is just like offline world. It is what you make of it.

  21. This is an interesting read. Well I know of a friend’s wife who does not go for online dating but had several relations. In fact they stay almost separated now as she denies. I had asked them to discuss but they are not convinced. The worst thing is to see two of their kids suffering.

  22. This is incredibly interesting. I would love to do further research into this. Bet ther are currently lots of studies on this topic.

  23. Very interesting article. I’m not a fan of online dating, but at the same time, with the lifestyle we lead, you kinda understand why more and more people are resorting to it. I think for some it can work, without turning into a dangerous addiction, but as with everything, moderation and balance are essential.

  24. What an interesting read, as I’ve never really thought much of sex addiction. To come to think of it, I don’t think I know of anyone who is one (if I do, they keep it from me). Good on you to open up the discussion.

  25. Intresting read. Yes technology has contributed a lot to the radical and liberal ways of people nowadays. While its not entirely bad, this post should hopefully make people pause a bit and reflect on their lives.

  26. I had no idea there was a connection here, but it really does make so much sense. Certainly an enlightening read.. particularly for someone who works in higher ed communication and is married to a health communication expert.

  27. I don’t know a person personally who is sexually addicted but I know this is for real. What’s worrying is that it must be a reason why there are people who commit crimes just to satisfy their addiction. Unlike addiction to substances when you can just keep it to yourself for a time, this addiction involves another person which means the problem is already doubled once it started.

    1. Please do! I am so glad you will. And you will find very legit papers around it. Read, learn and make people aware. Help as many people as you can 🙂

  28. This post is very informative, thanks for writing it up! It is a topic people usually don’t like to discuss but it is one that can and has ruined lives so it benefits many to know more about it.

    1. Hey! Yes, there are research which completely supports this. I have linked that in the post. Or you can also check the US National Library of Medicine which is full of the research papers which talk about Compulsive Sexual Behaviour. I am glad you asked this because as people read about sex addiction and go on researching about it, the more aware they become. Thanks 🙂

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