SEX ADDICTION COUNSELING
Do you or a loved one struggle with a sexual addiction?
Have you had repeated extramarital affairs – emotional affairs, physical affairs, or both?
Do you feel ashamed of your sexual behavior?
Have you tried to stop masturbating to porn but failed?
Do you habitually flirt?
What is sex addiction?
Someone has a sex addiction when their sexual behavior causes problems in their life or makes them feel badly about themselves. This could take the form of masturbation, pornography use, extramarital affairs, compulsive flirting, prostitution – essentially any sexual behavior that becomes problematic. Though not always the case, people with sex addictions usually will experience some of the following: repeated failed attempts to stop or reduce the frequency of the behavior; over time the behavior happens more frequently or with greater intensity; spending more and more time either thinking about the behavior or engaging in the behavior; and the sexual behavior creates problems in one or more area of their lives – financial problems, legal problems, relationship problems, or problems at work.
It’s estimated that between 3% and 6% of adults in the United States are sex addicts. Most experts agree that the ease and anonymity of Internet sites and apps have contributed to a rise in the prevalence of sex addiction. Online porn, dating sites, hookup sites, etc., fuel this increase. Pornhub (the largest porn site in the world in 2019) reported 33 million visits in 2018, which was 5 million more visits than in the previous year. Sex Addicts Anonymous was founded in the late 70s and now has thousands of meetings per day throughout the world. Twice as many men as women are sex addicts. If you struggle with sex addiction, you are clearly not alone.
Studies indicate that as many as 80% of people with sex addictions are also addicted to other behaviors or substances or suffer from other psychological problems, like depression or anxiety. As a psychotherapist and addiction counselor, I’m qualified to help you with your sex addiction or to help you figure out if you have a sex addiction. I’m also qualified to help you with whatever else might be going on along with or underneath your sex addiction.
With help from a sex addiction therapist, sex addiction is treatable
Fortunately, sex addiction is treatable. Working with an experienced sex addiction counselor can help you make sex a healthy part of your life. I’ve worked with individuals and couples dealing with sex addiction for 15 years. As a licensed psychotherapist and certified addiction counselor, I’m qualified to determine if sex addiction is the problem or part of the problem and to help. It’s normal to have some shame around discussing this, especially with a stranger, but I can guarantee there is nothing you’ll share with me that I haven’t heard before.
Sexuality is an essential part of being human. We cannot simply abstain from sex in the way that an alcoholic might abstain from drinking or a gambling addict abstains from gambling. For sex addicts, the key is developing an understanding of what forms of sexual expression are an unhealthy part of the addiction and what forms of sexual expression are healthy. Working with an experienced sex addiction therapist can help you make this determination. For example, if your addiction takes the form of extramarital affairs, obviously doing anything with someone other than your spouse is part of your addiction. But having a healthy, fulfilling sex life with your wife is healthy and good and not addictive behavior.
You may have some questions about sex addiction counseling...
Do I have to give up sex completely to recover from my sex addiction?
No. Sex is healthy and an important part of life. But sex addicts need to understand what particular sexual behaviors are part of their addiction and what sexual behaviors are healthy. For example, for some, addictive sexual behavior may take the form of masturbating to pornography. For them, masturbating to porn is part of their addiction, but sex with their spouse is okay and healthy.
My husband always wants to have sex. Doesn’t this make him a sex addict?
Not necessarily. Enjoying sex or wanting to have more sex than one’s partner doesn’t in and of itself constitute an addiction. It’s quite common that one partner in a relationship has a stronger libido than the other. A much more thorough assessment is needed to determine if this discrepancy in sex drives is due to a sex addiction.
If someone cheats does this make them a sex addict?
Not necessarily. Not all people who cheat are sex addicts, but some are, and this distinction can be important in determining what kind of help someone needs. If sex addiction, including porn addiction, is part of the picture, traditional infidelity counseling will not be enough. As a marriage counselor and an addiction counselor, I’m able to determine when and if infidelity actually is part of a sex addiction.
But all guys look at porn. Looking at porn doesn’t make me an addict, does it?
Simply looking at porn does not constitute an addiction, though in some relationships it violates agreed-upon boundaries. But if the porn use causes someone to feel bad about themselves or creates problems in some area of their life, like their relationship, then it could be an addiction.
Do I have to go to 12-Step meetings like Sex Addicts Anonymous or Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous to deal with my sex addiction?
No. Everyone is different and heals in different ways. I’ve seen programs like Sex Addicts Anonymous be very helpful for many people, but they aren’t for everyone. There are lots of addiction treatment options out there. And for many people, meeting regularly with an experienced sex addiction counselor and being accountable to that counselor is an effective, empowering first step. Sometimes, this is all that’s needed.