Clifton Taylor, MA, LPC, NCC, CSAT
Am I a Sex Addict?
Therapists who work with sex addicts often ask new clients to complete a screening test or assessment instrument in an effort to determine if the client’s sexual behaviors are addictive or non-addictive.
The Sex Addiction Screening Test is just such an instrument and may be taken online by clicking on the link above or by visiting the website SexHelp.com. According to SexHelp.com, “the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) is designed to assist in the assessment of sexually compulsive behavior which may indicate the presence of sex addiction. Developed in cooperation with hospitals, treatment programs, private therapists, and community groups, the SAST provides a profile of responses which help to discriminate between addictive and non-addictive behavior.”
If clients score high on one of these tests, more in-depth assessments are utilized by therapists to discern the presence of certain addictive patterns. When sex addiction is present, the following criteria are easily identified:
- Pattern of recurrent failure to resist impulses to specific sexual behavior.
- Frequent engaging in those behaviors to a greater extent or over a longer period of time than intended.
- Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce, or control those behaviors.
- Inordinate amount of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experience.
- Preoccupation with the behavior or preparatory activities.
- Frequent engaging in the behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations.
- Continuation of the behavior despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent social, financial, psychological, or physical problems caused or exacerbated by the behavior.
- Need to increase the intensity, frequency, number, or risk of behaviors to achieve the desired effect, or diminished effect with continued behaviors at the same level of intensity, frequency, number, or risk.
- Giving up or limiting social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the behavior.
- Distress, anxiety, restlessness, or irritability if unable to engage in the behavior.
Research indicates that if at least three of these criteria are met, sexual addiction is present.