Sex Addiction and Sexually Compulsive Behavior
Sexually compulsive behavior or sex addiction can leave you feeling full of shame and guilt. The cycle feels never ending and impossible to break. You may have tried to stop acting out on your own or attempted various recovery programs. It might be that you have been discovered by a partner or fear that at any point you could be discovered. We understand how difficult it is to step out of sex addiction and live a life that feels free and fulfilling and absent of unhealthy shame and guilt.
It’s important to note that not all cyclical sexual behavior constitutes an addiction. It’s important to work with a specialist who can help you identify the root of the problem and overcome it.
What is Sex Addiction or Sexually Compulsive Behavior?
Sex addiction, also referred to as sexually compulsive behavior, tremendously impacts one’s life, family, and overall well-being. Sex addiction is fueled by shame which unfortunately reinforces the out of control behavior. Our therapists specialize in helping individuals and couples overcome the negative impact of sex addiction and find a rich, meaningful connection again. If you are in need of more information or support, please reach out to us. We can help you with an in depth assessment, the step by step healing process for individuals and couples, and additional resources for the recovery process.
Here are some common signs of sex addiction and sexually compulsive behavior:
Heavy pornography use
Having chronic affairs (emotional and/or sexual)
Paying for sex (prostitution, strip clubs, massage parlors)
Random and Anonymous sex
Voyeurism and/or Exhibitionism
Can I take a test for Sex Addiction?
There are inventories available, such as the Sex Addiction Screening Test (SAST) (by Dr. Patrick Carnes) to determine how you might compare to those who identify as sex addicts. While this test is not a diagnostic test, it can provide some important information. Working with a specialized therapist, you can take more in depth inventories and assessments such as the Sexual Dependence Inventory (SDI) or Sexual Dependence Media Inventory (SDMI) to learn and understand more about your behavior. Tests likes these are a great first step in combatting the behavior and freeing yourself from the cycle.
Take the Sex Addiction Screening Test (SAST) here.
What about Help for Partners of Sex Addicts?
Without the right help, many partners of sex addicts fall through the cracks of the recovery system. The recovery process can seem so focused on the addict, leaving the partner feeling more abandoned and betrayed. Upon discovery, partners experience what is referred to as Complex Betrayal Trauma which when untreated can result in symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When Complex Betrayal Trauma occurs, it leaves one feeling overwhelmed, fearful, and crazy with the hope of healing so far away.
What does Recovery of Partners of Sex Addicts Look Like?
We use a comprehensive and integrative approach to help you understand the trauma, how it relates to previous trauma you may have experienced, and the role of attachment styles and identification of attachment injuries. From here, we help you establish safety and stabilization through a trauma informed approach. Once safety and stabilization are reached, we help you understand the trauma that has occurred and how to overcome present triggers and intrusive thoughts. Additionally, we guide you to create and implement boundaries to increase your resilience and re-establish normality in your life.
How do I heal from Sex Addiction or Sexual Betrayal?
Healing is not easy. At times, it can feel like dragging a huge bolder up a mountain with little hope for relief. When you have the right help, you can overcome what feels insurmountable. With step by step guidance, we can help you overcome this point in your life so that you may experience healing and find the relief and hope you need.