With many people, there is a preoccupation with whether or not their bedroom behavior is normal. One of the most common concerns is frequency of sex, whether a person is getting less than or if they're going overboard. "What's too much sex in a relationship is what either member of the couple feels is not comfortable for them," says Robert Weiss, author and therapist for intimacy and sexual disorders. There is no quantitative scale to compare yourself against, but there are some indicators that can help a person decide if they may be overdoing it.
The first (and most obvious) indicators are the physical ones. If you are really sore or physically injured from how much sex you're having, it's too much. Another physical symptom is erectile dysfunction. While most research shows that having erections and masturbating is probably good for your functioning down there, masturbation in tandem with pornography can result in problems. Although this has a physical outcome, it is a psychological problem.
A psychological indicators of too much sex are a little trickier. Researchers are at odds over whether hypersexuality (also called sex addiction) is even a real disorder, in part because there's no simple way to diagnose someone with it. "In the sex addiction world I often get a question like how much sex is sex addiction and my answer to that is how many drinks a night does it take to make an alcoholic?" says Weiss. While there isn't a chart that will tell you if your sexual habits are excessive, hypersexuality does share many red flags with addictive behavior.
There are three common signs of addiction that apply to hypersexuality. This first is loss of control, which may come in the form of overly risky actions, such as watching porn at work or participating in illegal sexual practices. The second is obsession, where a person is so preoccupied with sex that they prioritize it over other important parts of life, like spending time with friends, or even day-to-day activities, like grocery shopping. The third sign of hypersexuality is that the person continues their behavior, even in the face of negative consequences.
"If you see yourself escalating into areas of sexuality that make you uncomfortable or might be illegal or strongly go against your value system, that escalation might be a sign that you need to pull back and look less, not more," says Weiss. As with drugs, someone who is hypersexual will likely seek to take their behavior to the next level, needing hotter pictures, more activity, or increasingly novel experiences.
Since there is no official diagnosis, people can have a hard time finding out if they're hypersexual. There are some online tests that can help (Weiss recommends the ones here) but says one of the easiest ways to tell is to try and stop doing the behavior that you think may be problematic. "The person who sets boundaries about what they're going to look at, what they're not going to look at, when they're going to go there and then can't keep them, that would be an indicator of a bigger problem," says Weiss. There are also people who are not hypersexual but merely can't have a satisfying sex life once they get too deep into using porn. Although, they don't have a disorder, they may still be better off quitting porn.
Aside from clear physical signs, people have to use their own judgment – or seek out the judgment of others – to figure out whether they're having too much sex and, if they think are, the best move is to get professional help.
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