Sex Addiction and Compulsivity

Charlotte Counseling Associates specializes in treatment for sexual compulsivity and pornography addiction.

 

What Is Sex Addiction/Compulsivity?

Sexual addiction is typically defined by continued out-of-control or compulsive sexual behavior even when the possibility of serious life consequences occur. They typically have difficulty with closeness in committed relationships and use their sexual addiction behavior to escape painful, lonely and stressful feelings. They also use denial, rationalizing, minimizing, and lying to avoid the truth to themselves and others.

  • The following criteria are used to diagnose sexual addiction* (3 or more):
  • A pattern of out-of-control sexual behavior.
  • Severe or ongoing life consequences due to sexual behavior.
  • An inability to stop sexual behavior despite adverse consequences and previous attempts to stop.
  • Persistent pursuit of self-destructive or high-risk sexual behavior (to self or others).
  • Important social, recreational, or occupational activities are sacrificed or reduced because of sexual behavior.
  • Ongoing desire for change or failed attempts to limit sexual behavior.
  • Sexual obsession and fantasy are becoming primary emotional coping strategies.

*Patrick Carnes

Patterns of problematic fantasy-driven behavior typically exhibited by sex or porn addicts often include*:

  • Compulsive use of pornography, with or without masturbation.
  • Compulsive use of one or more digital “sexnologies,” i.e., webcams, sexting, dating/hookup websites and hook-up apps, virtual reality sex games, sexual devices, etc.
  • Multiple affairs or brief “serial” relationships.
  • Consistent involvement with strip clubs, adult bookstores, adult movie theaters, sex clubs, and other sex-focused environments.
  • Ongoing involvement with prostitution and/or sensual massage (hiring or providing).
  • A pattern of anonymous and/or casual sexual hookups with people met online via apps, websites or in person.
  • Repeated engaging in unprotected sex
  • Repeated engaging in sex with potentially dangerous people or in potentially dangerous places
  • Seeking sexual experiences without regard to immediate or long-term potential consequences.
  • In some, repeated patterns of minor sexual offenses such as voyeurism, exhibitionism, etc.

*Robert Weiss

Healthy sexual behavior is characterized by trust, respect, joy and safety.

Without treatment and recovery, overcoming sexual addiction can be very challenging.

Sexual health is an objective in sexual addiction/problem behavior treatment. Sexuality should be a much needed and balanced part of our life experience. However, when sex becomes all-consuming, or when we deprive ourselves of healthy sexual expression, our sexuality acts as a barrier filled with shame and self-contempt. It keeps us from having healthy relationships bonds with others. Healthy sexual behavior or sexual health, on the other hand, creates intimacy and closeness. It is characterized by trust, respect, joy and safety.

Sexual health can be achieved by sex addicts in recovery. Overcoming sexual addiction requires hard work and a commitment to do whatever is necessary for a full recovery. In doing so, sexual addiction recovery moves in the direction of hope and the possibility for change.

Free Sex Addiction/Compulsivity Screening Test

Still Not Sure if you have a sexual problem/addictive behavior? 

Take five minutes to take the FREE Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST). You will receive instant results and recommendations for your next steps.

When we experience loss of control, begin hiding or minimizing our behavioral habits to obtain a sexual high or feel irritability and anxiety when we cannot have “the thing,” we are exhibiting addictive symptoms. The pursuit may seem innocent in the beginning, but through building tolerance, we are changing our brain structure that needs more and more.


Contact Us:

Phone: (980) 224-3233
Email: [email protected]

Send Us a Message

New clients, please send us a message to schedule your free 15-minute Q/A call with Charlotte Counseling Associates, so we can answer any questions you may have and find out if we’re a good fit for working together to help you achieve your goals.