When Excessive Flirting Signals Sexual Addiction 

Posted by on 11 06 14 in Sexual Addiction | Comments Off on When Excessive Flirting Signals Sexual Addiction 

A person with a flirting partner may often feel embarrassed or have to tap the partner’s arm to let them know that their behavior is out of line. Constant flirtation may be harmless or it could indicate a bigger problem: sexual addiction.

An article written by Linda Hatch, PhD, a sex addiction therapist, appears in Psych Central and provides information for individuals wondering if their partner’s flirtatious behavior is a sign of something more serious.

Compulsive flirting doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has a sexual addiction, but it could be a sign of trouble. A person who flirts compulsively may also be engaging in other behaviors, such as phone sex, visiting sexual massage parlors, or sexting (the exchanging of intimate text messages).

Signs of Sexual Addiction

If a partner isn’t certain whether there are additional behaviors that point to a sex addiction, they may look for other indicators. For instance, sex addicts have an excessive interest in sex. Hatch says that one of the core beliefs of a sex addict is, “Sex is my most important need.” Hatch also describes the sex addict’s view of the world as being seen through “sex-colored glasses.”

Some of the behaviors that may illustrate this type of worldview include making sexual remarks often, telling sexual jokes to people he or she does not know well, ogling of attractive people, often accompanied by frequent remarks about other peoples’ appearance and their level of sexual attraction.

In addition, a person with a sexual addiction may be unable to see people except in terms of the person’s sexual attraction. They may not be able to judge whether a person fits any other type of description, such as a person’s emotional state or their occupation or personality traits. They do not see a person as a happy teacher who enjoys traveling, but rather measures that person in terms of whether they find them sexually attractive.

Hatch notes that this feature of sexual addiction doesn’t mean the addict wants to or plans to have sex with every attractive person they encounter, but they may store their assessment of a person for later use in a fantasy.

Flirting vs. Sex Addiction

Hatch says that one major difference between a friendly, harmless flirt and a sex addict is that the normal person will tone down their behavior when asked to do so by their partner. Sex addicts will instead defend their right to flirt or try to redefine it as something harmless.

However, if a person initially agrees to stop flirting but is unable to carry out that intention, this may signal that there’s a problem. In addition, a person who follows through with a partner’s request to stop flirting could replace it with another similar behavior, such as making suggestive remarks or staring at people rather than flirting with them.

The sex addict may flirt indiscriminately with anyone, from a colleague to their therapist. It may be difficult for them to stop objectifying people for their use as a sexual tool. Hatch notes that this is also evidence that at some point the addict had an experience that led them to define themselves only in sexual terms. In addition to objectifying others, they objectify themselves and believe that their own worth is based on their perceived sexual appeal.