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Can you become addicted to sex?

Medically reviewed

Experts disagree about whether it's possible to become addicted to sex.

Some sex and relationships experts believe people can become addicted to the enjoyable feeling or 'high' experienced during sex and sexual activity, but others disagree.

What is sex addiction?

Relationship counselling service Relate describes sex addiction as any sexual activity that feels 'out of control'. This could be sex with a partner, but it can also mean activities such as pornography, masturbation, visiting prostitutes or using chat lines.

For most people, these behaviours don't cause any serious problems. But some people are unable to control these urges and actions, despite the difficulties they may cause in their relationships, finances and professional lives.

Some people may also have a dependency on sex and sexual activity to numb any negative emotions and difficult experiences. This can have a negative effect on the person's quality of life and on those around them.

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Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.

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