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Sex Addiction

Sex is part of a healthy life, but when it becomes an addiction it can harm a person's health, relationships and daily functioning.

1 Your Role
I want to learn about treatment options for:

2 Basic Information
The Person is:
years old

graduated high school

3 Condition Information
Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.
Gain Control Over Sex Addiction

For some, sex is not just part of a healthy life: It compels behavior that is destructive, dangerous and addictive. Sex addiction can profoundly impact relationships and lives, but there is hope for addicts. Like any addiction, it can be treated and controlled.

Sex Addiction

What is sex addiction?

Sex addiction is a form of hypersexuality in which the individual is unable to control sexual urges and behaviors. It is characterized by failure (despite the addict’s efforts) to control or curtail sexual behavior even though it leads to harmful consequences. Often, sex addiction interferes with daily life and eventually results in serious physical, social and psychological complications.

Sex addicts’ behavior is typically compulsive, concealed and obsessive. Rather than integrating sex into life and relationships, sex addicts use sex as a means of coping with stress, dealing with loneliness, handling boredom and feeling important or powerful. Like other forms of addiction, sex addiction leads addicts to develop tolerance to sexual behavior and experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not engaging in sexual activity. Some sex addicts also suffer from cybersex addiction, which involves compulsive cybersex, pornography viewing and other sex-related online behaviors.

Sex addiction manifests in a variety of risky, obsessive and maladaptive behaviors. Some of the most common include:

  • Multiple affairs
  • Multiple and/or anonymous sexual partners
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Obsessive use of pornography
  • Prostitution or use of prostitutes
  • Unsafe sex
  • Exhibitionism
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual abuse
  • Molestation
  • Rape

Symptoms of sex addiction.

Symptoms of sexual addition are varied but can include:
  • Continued, obsessive behaviors, despite interference with everyday life
  • Need to increase the intensity, frequency, or risk of sexual behaviors in order to achieve the same desired affects (tolerance)
  • Increased isolation
  • Losing track of time when engaging in sexual behaviors
  • Failure to resist impulses
  • Withdrawal symptoms when behaviors are discontinued
  • Obsession with sexual thoughts and behaviors
  • Feelings of distress, anxiety, restlessness and, in rare cases, violence if unable to engage in sexual behavior

Treating sex addiction.

Support groups for sex addicts can be helpful and often follow the 12-Steps used by groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Counseling or psychotherapy can also help sex addicts. Occasionally, SSRIs and other anti-depressants are used to reduce libido. All treatment plans should also address co-occurring conditions, such as alcoholism or drug addiction.

If you or someone you support struggles with sex addiction, Caron's Counseling Services can help. Please contact us for more information.