The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Sex

Learning how to distinguish healthy sex from other forms of sex can empower you to bring Healthy Sex more into your own life.

The chart below outlines how healthy sexuality differs from abusive sex and addictive sex.

Sexual Abuse and Addiction Healthy Sex
Sex is uncontrollable energy

Sex is controllable energy

Sex is an obligation Sex is a choice
Sex is addictive Sex is a natural drive
Sex is hurtful Sex is nurturing, healing
Sex is a condition for love or devoid of love Sex is an expression of love
Sex is "doing to" someone Sex is sharing with someone; sex is part of who I am
Sex is void of communication Sex requires communication
Sex is secretive Sex is private
Sex is exploitative Sex is respectful
Sex is deceitful Sex is honest
Sex benefits one person Sex is mutual
Sex is emotionally distant Sex is intimate
Sex is irresponsible Sex is responsible
Sex is unsafe Sex is safe
Sex has no limits Sex has boundaries
Sex is power over someone Sex is empowering
Sex requires a double life Sex enhances who you really are
Sex compromises your values Sex reflects your values
Sex feels shameful Sex enhances self-esteem


APA Reference
Staff, H. (2021, December 21). The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Sex, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Last Updated: March 25, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info