The term "sex addiction" has been popularized in the past few years to describe many out of control sexual behaviors, including unmanageable porn use, excessive masturbation, compulsive cheating (physical and emotional) and many other behaviors pertaining to sex. Unfortunately, many have lumped any "non-hetero-normative" behaviors under "sex addiction," and have inadvertently created more shame and bad feelings about behaviors that are not necessarily problematic or unmanageable. People have a wide range of sexual desires, fantasies, and behaviors that, as long as they involve fully consenting adults, are non-exploitative and are not creating a secret "double life" or making life unmanageable, are healthy and non-shameful expressions of sexuality. Exploring these in a positive, honest and healthy way, without shame, judgment or guilt, is something we as a society should encourage.
That being said, are you or a loved one having trouble with sexual behaviors that seem "out of control" or are causing you to act outside your core beliefs about who you are? You are not alone. Many of us have become "mis-wired" to unconsciously believe that sexual behaviors will solve our problems, leading us into a cycle of behavior that is cunning, baffling and powerful. It is becoming increasingly evident that out of control sexual behavior is a real and powerful way that people use to escape their pain or to regulate their emotions and feelings. Thanks to the internet, problematic sexual behavior has increased exponentially in the past 10-20 years. The late Dr. Al Cooper felt that men and women who might not have turned to sex as a coping mechanism are drawn in by what he referred to as the Triple-A Engine: increased Accessibility, Affordability and Anonymity. We are now facing a true epidemic in our society.
Treatment for these behaviors is always evolving. Though there are many similarities to substance abuse treatment, there are differences that should not be ignored. Sexuality can be a complicated issue with many subtleties to be better understood and untangled from the unhealthy ways we may have learned to express it. There are very good reasons why this has come about in your life - we will work to help understand those reasons and to "re-wire" your brain to utilize healthier behaviors to get your needs met, and hopefully help you develop a better understanding of healthy sex.
(there are many others – these are just a few basic ones)
Treating Out of Control Sexual Behavior: Rethinking Sex Addiction, by Douglas Braun-Harvey, MA, MFT, CGP, CST, and Michael A Vigorito, LMFT, LCPC, CGP, Springer Publishing Company, 2015
Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., Hazelden Information Education, 2001
Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men, by Robert Weiss, LCSW,CSAT, Alyson Publications , 2005
Ready to Heal: Women Facing Sex, Love and Relationship Addiction, by Kelly McDaniel, Gentle Path Press, 2008