Despite many people's belief that sex addiction is not a "real" addiction it is like any other addictive disorder in its ability to devoid the sufferer of his / her control leading to their continued 'acting out' in the face of negative consequences.
Unfortunately, it is society's naivety and mocking attitude that often prevents sex addicts from receiving the help that they so desperately crave. This consequently results in shame and secrecy which becomes the very core of this disorder.
Sex addiction often (although not exclusively) manifests itself in behavioural patterns that begin in childhood / adolescence subsequent to traumatic events. This can lead to confusion between pleasure and pain / hopelessness.
Sex addiction is often coupled with Love addiction, although the two disorders can exist independently of each other. Love addiction is quite similar to drug addiction but people take the place of chemicals. Here the addict continues in relationships regardless of the abusive nature in which they are treated and cannot even contemplate life without their partner / abuser. When a relationship does finally end (often instigated by the other party), the love addict will jump headfirst into another relationship, often confusing infatuation and loneliness for love.
Like all addictions, if left untreated, Sex and Love Addiction will almost always get worse resulting in mounting negative consequences. These can include the breakdown of relationships / families, legal problems, STIs, depression, self-hatred, etc.