How does sex addiction progress in men?

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Although sex addiction can affect women, it's more common in men. In general, sex becomes a problem when it begins to control a man and interfere with his life. It often begins quietly, with solo activities like looking at porn and masturbating. Of course, most guys indulge in those activities -- and it doesn't make them "addicted".

Others start off with the pursuit of multiple partners and experiences. They may start using illicit drugs to enhance their sexual experience and often have no attachment to those partners. They may seek out sexual partners for hire or frequent Internet or newspaper personals looking for others who want to share similar experiences. When it gets to the level of sex "addiction," they engage in these behaviors despite known risks to their health and safety.

As their tolerance for stimulation increases, they continue to push the envelope, often putting themselves at risk for health, relationship, and even legal consequences. Still, they can't stop. For sex addicts, the drug of choice is that potent neurochemical cocktail of adrenaline, dopamine, and other feel-good substances released by the body during sex. And they'll do whatever they can to keep chasing that rush.

Continue Learning about Substance Abuse and Addiction

Ask the Experts: Transitioning Off Opioids
Ask the Experts: Transitioning Off Opioids
Stopping opioids is not easy, and many experience withdrawal symptoms. Learn what to expect, how to prepare and the importance of working with your he...
Read More
Why haven't I heard about older people and substance abuse?
Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhDBonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Probably for the same reasons you haven't heard about older people and (fill in the blank)!! It isn'...
More Answers
Do family and culture affect the rate of substance abuse among the elderly?
Howard J. Shaffer, PhDHoward J. Shaffer, PhD
Cultures that value older people and that see them as a source of guidance and wisdom don't have...
More Answers
What treatments are available for substance abuse?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Treatment options for substance abuse include outpatient detoxification, individual and group therap...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.