Sexual Addiction Treatment and Recovery


The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined sexual addiction as: “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others.”  In other words, a sex addict will continue to engage in certain sexual behaviors despite facing potential health risks, financial problems, shattered relationships or even arrests.  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 is a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts.  Like all addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder progresses.

Characteristics of a sex addict:

•  Loss of control over the activity
•  The behavior has become compulsive and the person has lost the ability to stop when he or she wishes, although they may not admit this to themselves or others. They may have tried to stop over time but cannot do so.
•  Continuation despite negative consequences, including relationship problems, job loss, health or legal concerns.

Preoccupation or obsession

The addict spends large, often increasing amounts of time thinking about, planning, or actually doing the behavior to the detriment of relationships, family life, or work.

Sex Addiction is a Process Addiction

Sexual addiction is known as a process addiction, as opposed to a substance addiction like alcohol or drugs. In a process addiction, the euphoric feeling (or high) comes from chemicals released into the brain, rather than from an external source.  As the mind becomes accustomed to the release of these chemicals, it searches out the continued sources of that high.