Sexual Addiction

Sex is a normal part of life and does not present a problem for most people. However, it can become an issue for some. Sexual addiction, or sex addiction, is characterized as a state of compulsive participation or engagement in sexual activity, particularly sexual intercourse, despite negative consequences. Individuals with a sex addition act out sexually in ways they feel they cannot control, and which may be detrimental to their health and relationships. Sex addiction typically progresses over time, with compulsive sexual thoughts and acts becoming more extreme as it advances. A sexual addiction can manifest in a number of ways. It might be limited to compulsive masturbation or the excessive viewing of pornography, or it may include such extreme behaviors as exhibitionism or rape. If you think you might be experiencing a sexual addiction, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s experts today.

Meet the specialists

For some, participation in sexual activities is no longer about pleasure and it becomes more of a compulsion or addiction. The experience can become one of craving and impulsivity that leads to shame, rather than pleasure or joy. My experience working with sexual addiction and sexual compulsivity includes running intensive outpatient groups on problematic sexual behavior for many years, as well as working with individuals and couples to address compulsive sexual behavior.

— Natalie Finegood Goldberg, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in beverly hills, CA

One of my main "niches" as a therapist is working with men who struggle with sex and pornography addictions. It's an area of life that brings with it a lot of shame and embarrassment. It is very often one of the underlying problems that leads to infidelity and just damages relationships. It is something that can be healed and relationships repaired when people can be brutally honest with themselves. When treated with kindness and compassion, people can overcome these problems.

— Gordon Brewer, Counselor in Kingsport, TN

Behavioral: Excessive porn use Frequent masturbation Making explicit or obscene phone calls to others Extramarital affairs Regular use of escorts or prostitutes Frequent attendance to strip clubs Engaging in cybersex or phone sex Purchasing and hiding sexually explicit content from family and friends Displaying sexually offensive behaviors to others / engaging in sexual harassment Partaking in risky sexual behaviors Having anonymous sex with others Cognitive: Preoccupation with thoughts that are sexual in nature Obsession with sexual activity Inept decision-making Poor impulse control Euphoria when anticipating or engaging in sexual activity Psychosocial: Feelings of guilt or shame following sexual encounters Depressed mood Mood swings

— Kelifern Pomeranz, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Menlo Park, CA

We have helped many individuals survive the consequences of sex addiction. We know that with hard work and a commitment many find peace from the noise and pain that sex addiction creates. At Novus, our expert therapists believe everyone can overcome sex addiction. We have seen it happen. At Novus, we see sex addiction as the compulsive use of sex to deal with painful feelings and moods. The behavior leaves the person feeling guilty and shameful. It creates more problems in the person’s life. To deal with these problems and the emotional pain the person turns back to sex to find some escape. The sex addiction cycle continues. Even the loss of their marriage, relationship or job does not mean they will stop. They look to sex as the solution. Like the drug addict who knows the drug will end his pain, so does the sex addict. The problems of sex addiction are real and painful. Often, the person using compulsive sex gains little long-term satisfaction from the behavior. They feel lonely, depressed and out of control, which in turn leads them back to the addictive sex to “feel better.”

— Duane Osterlind, LMFT, CSAT, Marriage & Family Therapist in Long Beach, CA

I help people struggling with out-of-control sexual behavior. For some, abstinence or having "bottom-line" behaviors (in line with 12 step groups) works for them. For others, the addiction model is not helpful, and I work with them to explore the feelings and core beliefs that are driving their behaviors, and to develop strategies to be able to have satisfying and non-compulsive sexual relationships with themselves and others.

— Jeffrey Kishner, Mental Health Counselor in New York, NY

Many of my clients struggle with porn use, mismatched desire or low desire. I take a non-pathologizing approach to sexual issues and pride myself on being sex positive. Educating people on sex topics and using techniques to adjust behaviors and perspectives allows them to be freed from what is holding them back in order to have better sexual experiences.

— Corrin Voeller, Marriage & Family Therapist in St. Louis Park, MN

I'm a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist helping men and women find healing and recovery for sexual compulsivity and intimate betrayal. I'm trained through IITAP and have specialized in sex and porn addiction since 2014. I'm also trained through APSATS as a Certified Clinical Partner Specialist Candidate and work with partners from the Multi-dimensional Partner Trauma Model. I am sex positive and believe that sexual compulsivity hinders healthy sexual expression. My goal is to help people connect authentically with themselves and their partner(s), both sexually and non-sexually. Sex addiction is not about sex. It's a compulsive way of dealing with life, in the same way many use substances, gambling, food, etc. I help people discover healthier ways to cope. Partners of sex addicts often experience symptoms of PTSD after discovering their partner's infidelity. I help partners find safety and navigate the path to healing from betrayal, whether they stay in the relationship or not.

— Heather Seguin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Upland, CA

The WIHL offers a program specifically designed to alleviate the suffering caused by porn/arousal addiction. A change in habits and thought patterns will facilitate the ability to sustain a real intimate relationship without comparisons traps and detachment; all to common side effects of excessive pornography use and sex addiction.

— Rachael Rainey, Sex Therapist in Sparks, NV

I am certified in sexual addiction treatment (SATP) and train other therapists to do this work. I am the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery, which has helped thousands of people in their recovery. I have led over 1,500 group sessions over the last several years. I teach, speak, and write on the topic of sexual addiction. I am also in recovery from sexual addiction.

— Forest Benedict, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA

I am an Associate Sex Addiction Therapist (ASAT), I had a the privilege to learn from world renowned therapists in the field and I am passionate about utilizing that knowledge to assist people who struggle with intimacy disorders. Sexual addiction and love addiction are intimacy disorders. If you struggle with compulsive or impulsive behaviors around sex, pornography, or relationships , I will work with you to get to the root of the problem.

— Kristine Sandt, Counselor in Glendale, AZ

If you don't find the sexual addiction model effective -- or have not had success with 12-step programs -- I can help you explore the feelings and core beliefs driving your out-of-control sexual behavior, and help you develop strategies to continue gaining fulfillment from your sexual behaviors (provided they are not harmful) without the compulsivity.

— Jeffrey Kishner, Mental Health Counselor in New York, NY

Sexual Addiction or Problematic Sexual Behavior arise in people who have difficulty regulating their emotional states, have difficulty with intimate relationships, and often who have histories of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. As such, it is a symptom and it harms people. Recovery requires determination, honesty, hard work, and self-compassion. Sufferers need to develop skill regulating their feelings and relating to others. And they also deserve kindness and compassion and love.

— Michael Johnson, Psychologist in AUSTIN, TX, TX

If you don't find the sexual addiction model effective -- or have not had success with 12-step programs -- I can help you explore the feelings and core beliefs driving your out-of-control sexual behavior, and help you develop strategies to continue gaining fulfillment from your sexual behaviors (provided they are not harmful) without the compulsivity.

— Jeffrey Kishner, Mental Health Counselor in New York, NY

We believe that most compulsive and problematic sexual behavior is properly classified as an addiction. Bevill and Associates follow the addiction treatment model, which has been used since the late 1940s to successfully treat many types of addictions.

— Bevill and Associates LLC, Licensed Professional Counselor in Birmingham, AL