Sexual Addiction Therapy

What is Sexual Addiction?

Sexual addiction is a growing problem in society that is often ignored, shamed, hidden or considered to be just a personal weakness. It is those views that perpetuate the problem and leave individuals reluctant to seek professional help. Most people are aware that drinking alcohol or using substances can lead to addiction, but behaviors can become addictions as well. Gambling is one such behavior that can lead to addiction. Sexual addiction takes many forms, like compulsive viewing of pornography, masturbation and fantasy, multiple partners, and other sexual behaviors. Drinking alcohol itself does not necessarily constitute an addiction. Likewise, all viewing of pornography or engaging in some sexual behaviors does not constitute a sexual addiction.

Below are the clinical indicators of a sexual addiction. If you or a loved one are experiencing three or more of these symptoms, it could be an indication of sexual addiction.

  • Loss of control (engaging in some form of sexual behavior more than intended or more than desired)
  • Compulsivity (the sexual behavior gets out of control over time)
  • Unsuccessful efforts to stop the sexual behavior
  • Spending significant amounts of time engaging in or recovering from the sexual behavior
  • Obsessing over or being preoccupied with the sexual behavior
  • The sexual behavior begins to interfere with major role obligations such as work, family, friends, school
  • The sexual behavior continues despite the consequences and/or problems it causes
  • Escalation or tolerance: a need to make the sexual behavior more intense, more frequent, or more risky
  • Losing, limiting, or sacrificing valued parts of life such as work, family, relationships, hobbies
  • Withdrawal: stopping the sexual behavior leads to considerable distress (anxiety, restlessness, irritability, physical discomfort)

If you believe you or your loved one may have a sexual addiction, visit  "The Recovery Zone"  for a free screening test (SAST). 

Help is available. Helen K. Varnadoe, LCSW, LCAS, CSAT is a Certified Sex Addiction Treatment Specialist (CSAT) in training. 

Contact Mrs. Varnadoe at Valley Center for Life Enrichment at (252)308-0744 if your group, church, or organization would like further information and education on sexual addiction or other topics.

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