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Sexual Addiction Counseling

Counseling for Problematic Sexual Behaviors

Sexual addiction is defined as any sexually related, compulsive behavior, which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one's work environment.


Sexual addiction has also been called an Intimacy Disorder. By any other name, it is a compulsive behavior that completely dominates the addict's life. Sexual addicts make sex a priority more important than family, friends, and work. Sex becomes the organizing principle of an addicts' lives. They are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behavior.

Let me share about a client who came to me seeking help for his destructive sexual behaviors and after a lot of hard work and self-discovery, he is enjoying a fulfilling life, free from his addiction .  The client's actual name has been changed to protect his identity.

His name is Joey and he is a 35 year-old  married man with two children.  Joey grew up in a middle-class family, the younger of three siblings, his father was distant and disengaged, he worked long hours and when he came home, he would sit in front of the TV and drink.  Joey's mother was a secretary and she was controlling & domineering.  Joey was her favorite son, but she would never admit to that.  When I asked Joey to describe his home life, he responded "I had a normal childhood!"  So, how did Joey became a sex addict? 


As we began working together, we discovered that Joey's father would have high expectations of him and when he couldn't meet them, his father would humiliate him and call him names.  Joey's parents would also argue a lot and his mother would confine in him, basically making Joey her emotional support.  Joey discovered masturbation at an early age and with the onset of the internet, he would spend hours viewing pornography in order to escape the chaos caused by his parents' unhealthy relationship.  These behaviors, which by now also included drinking and smoking pot, went on for years throughout high school & college. 


Joey made a promise to himself that he would never be like his parents, unfortunately since he had never been allowed to express his feelings and modeled what a healthy relationship looked like, when he and his wife started having arguments, he didn't know how to cope and resorted back to his old ways of coping...viewing pornography and using.  Eventually, his sex addiction escalated from viewing pornography, to getting on chat rooms, to visiting massage parlors to finally having several affairs outside of his marriage.


That's when Joey decided to come to me and started his recovery journey.  He worked on different significant events in his life that negatively impacted him, worked really hard on releasing the shame he had been carrying for so long, began attending 12-step meetings and working with his sponsor, started caring for himself, and rediscovering the beautiful human being that he had always been. 


Joey's story is one of many stories and his clearly describes how an individual who is parentified, also known as a mother-enmeshed-man, ends up being a sex addict.  There are many factors in a man's life that leads him into engaging in compulsive, destructive sexual behaviors.  No single behavior pattern defines sexual addiction. These behaviors, when they have taken control of an addict's life and have become unmanageable, include:

  • compulsive masturbation

  • compulsive heterosexual and homosexual relationships

  • pornography

  • prostitution

  • exhibitionism

  • voyeurism

  • indecent phone calls

  • child molestation

  • incest

  • rape

  • Internet pornography

  • cybersex

Even the healthiest forms of human sexual expression can turn into self-defeating behaviors.

excerpts taken from research conducted by Dr. Patrick Carnes

Are You a Sex Addict?

The following are the Four Basic Core Beliefs that you might have considered about yourself:

  1. I'm basically a bad, unworthy person.

  2. No one would love me as I am.

  3. My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on others.

  4. Sex is my most important need.

Unmanageability due to Problematic Sexual Behaviors:

  • When you break off yet another relationship you never wanted to be in.

  • When your spouse announces the end of your marriage because of the latest discovery.

  • When you tell another lie about your secret sexual behaviors.

  • When your teenage son finds your pornography.

  • When you get fired from your job because of sexual harassment or viewing pornography while at work.

  • When you have a car accident while exposing yourself.

  • Persistent pursuit of self-destructive behaviors.

  • Excessive time obsessing about sex.

  • Ongoing desire or effort to limit sexual behavior.

  • Planning out your day around sexually acting out.

  • Spending excessive amount of time on the Internet viewing pornography.

excerpts taken from Out of the Shadows by Dr. Patrick Carnes

Consequences because of Unwanted Sexual Behaviors:

  • Loss or danger of losing a relationship.

  • Loss or risking losing a job.

  • Financial unmanageability.

  • Loss of interest in leisure activities due to spending excessive time sexually acting out.

  • Loss of appetite, sleep.

  • Depression or irritability.

  • Procrastination.

  • Health problems.

  • Risk of being arrested.

  • Risk of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD).


If you think you have a problem with compulsive sexual behaviors, please take the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) for an assessment by clicking

The SAST assessment test will compare your answers to a profile consistent of sex addicts who struggle with sexually compulsive behaviors.  The test will also give you a score that will indicate whether you have met the criteria for Sex Addiction.  If you've met that criteria, please contact me and let me help you start on your recovery journey.  (Please print the report and bring it to our first session).

If you're interested in joining our next Facing the Shadow Online Coaching, begin here

or want to join our next Sex Addiction Process Group, begin here

Also, if you and your spouse are interested in a Formal Disclosure Presentationbegin here

"Much of your pain is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self."
~ Kahlil Gibran

Are You a Sex Addict?

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Image by Laurenz Kleinheider
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