How Do I Know If I Am A Sex Addict?

  • Can I really be addicted to sex or is it just an excuse for bad behavior?
  • How can I stop these behaviors before I lose my partner, my job and/or my family?
  • Why can’t I do this on my own?

man on a computerThese questions may keep you awake at night because of the concerns you have about your sexual behavior. If you have tried to reduce or stop unwanted sexual behaviors but have not been successful, you may be suffering from pornography or sex addiction. Many addicts promise themselves that they will not look at pornography again and find themselves a few hours later engaged in the same activity. Or they may find themselves losing hours of the day engaged in emailing or sexting with potential partners. You are not alone. There is help to recover from out of control sexual behavior and live a life free of shame and isolation.

Common Behaviors Of Sex Addicts Are:

  • Viewing online pornography (Cybersex, Chat rooms, Sexting, Online video streaming)
  • Searching online and/or soliciting future sexual partners through Craig’s List, Facebook and other online sites
  • Obsessive fantasizing
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Frequenting strip clubs, massage parlors, prostitutes
  • Affairs
  • Voyeurism
  • Exhibitionism
  • Sexual harassment
  • Power position relationships
  • Anonymous sex, one night stands

Out of control or compulsive sexual behavior is defined as any sexual behavior which you have not been able to stop on your own for an extended period of time without going through intense struggle, intense obsessing about the behavior, and without replacing the behavior with another addictive-type behavior.

Sex Addicts Can Recover

man looking at cell phone

Sexual addiction is first and foremost a brain disease that affects 3-6% of the US population. Even though sex is not ingested like alcohol or drugs, it dramatically affects your brain chemistry, creating a dependency on sexual arousal or “the hit” you experience when engaged in sexual behaviors.

Many sex addicts grew up in homes where they were not given the level of emotional nurturing and care that was needed. My clients often describe their childhood as feeling invisible or not heard or understood. As a result, they were left to try to find ways to handle their emotions by themselves.

Sex addiction is difficult to treat without professional help. Research has shown that the most successful way to rid yourself of these repetitive problematic sexual behaviors is by working in therapy with a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist utilizing the Task Focused Program developed by Patrick Carnes, coupled with a Twelve Step Recovery Program and a sponsor. As a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist I have helped many individuals similar to you lead happier lives.

It’s Not About Sex

Sex addiction is never really about sex. It is about using sex to numb out uncomfortable feelings. Sex addicts tend to share some common beliefs about themselves:

  • I am basically an unworthy person
  • No one would love me as I am
  • My needs are never going to be met if I depend on others
  • Sex is my most important need.

Individuals struggling with compulsive sexual behavior use sex to comfort themselves, soothe anxiety, subdue feelings of being unloved and lonely, relieve boredom, remove them from the present, calm themselves, and/or make themselves feel alive. Over time, they (and their brain chemistry) become dependent upon sex to regulate their emotions. We will work together to understand how these faulty beliefs developed and how they are fueling your behavior.

In our therapy sessions we will use the Facing the Shadow Workbook by Patrick Carnes, which is a series of readings and exercises designed to help you understand your past and to develop a recovery plan. I also incorporate the latest scientifically supported techniques to resolve feelings around events and people that have not be addressed. I have a direct but gentle approach to working with my clients. I think about how I would want a therapist to interact with me, and this informs my practice.

Questions You May Have:

I’m hesitant to share such personal information. Will I be judged?

I have been working as a therapist for over 20 years and I have heard many secrets. The secret holder always feels more shame and judgment about the secret than the listener. I offer non-judgmental and confidential treatment. You will feel relieved once you release your secrets.

I believe my partner is a sex addict. What can I do if s/he does not want to acknowledge that sexual behaviors are negatively affecting our relationship?

The hardest part for the addict is often breaking through the denial and accepting that s/he may not be able to do this alone. Your partner does not have to believe they have a problem or even to believe in therapy to come in for an initial appointment. I offer a free 15 minute initial telephone call which you can both be on to see if I am the right therapist for you.

What makes you stand out from other therapists?

I have been working as a therapist for many years, and clients tell me that they respond well to my warm, direct and practical way of speaking with them. I know that therapy can be an uncomfortable experience, and I try to make sure you feel heard and accepted while doing the work. In addition, I have been trained by the leading experts in the field of sex addiction and trauma to work compassionately and collaboratively with you to help you gain insight and change behaviors that are negatively impacting your emotional well-being and your relationships.

The Initial Phone Call Can Set You On A Path To Emotional Relief And More Satisfying Relationships.

Please call me at 215-939-6476 to set up your FREE 15-minute consultation. Help is just a phone call away.