Contrary to the belief of many that sexual addiction is an adult issue, sex addiction is a disorder that increasingly manifests in teens both boys and girls. Boys are primarily interested in graphic imagery—sexual acts, body parts, non-relationship oriented pornography—girls are more likely to compulsively seek out romance and relationships.
A teen’s drive to engage in sexually addictive behaviors originates from a desire to feel better, which usually means feeling less. Addiction to pleasurable experiences and substances is the fastest way for an adolescent to disconnect, numb out, and not have to experience life on life’s terms. As a result, teens most at risk are those with preexisting emotional, psychological, or behavioral disorders.
Teens who have suffered neglect or abuse, teens with mental health disorders such as ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome or Autistic Spectrum Disorder, those who struggle with social anxiety, shyness, and building social relationships, those who tend to isolate, and those who have previous issues with alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, or any other behavioral disorder are more at risk.
Another significant risk factor is age of first exposure to pornography. Studies repeatedly show that children exposed to pornography, especially hardcore pornography, at younger ages are far more likely to eventually become sexually compulsive.
When teens engage in sexual behavior compulsively, their social, emotional and psychological growth can become stunted. These individuals will likely miss important growth milestones of adolescence and as a result later struggle with dating, developing relationships, and intimacy. And, of course, adolescent sex addicts also suffer many of the same consequences as adult sex addicts, such as: