As experts do not yet agree on what exactly to call this disorder – it’s not surprising that no one therapy is yet endorsed for its treatment.
However, if your sexual behaviors are causing you problems, there are treatments available that can help. Try to find treatment from:
- A provider familiar with sexual addiction or sexual compulsivity
- A provider that will match treatment to your unique needs
Because sexual compulsivity can sometimes show up as a symptom of another primary mental health condition, like bipolar disorder, your therapist will first want to rule out or begin treatment for any such treatments.
Some therapies commonly used to treat sex addiction include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – a therapeutic technique that helps you change negative patterns of thinking. By correcting wrong thoughts, you change the way you feel and by extension, the way you act.
- Medication – While medication is not appropriate in all cases, people with certain types of sexual compulsivity may be helped by anti depressants and other medications.
- Psychotherapy – working individually with a therapist can help you to gain a better understanding of why you act and feel as you do, and she can help you to find workable individualized solutions to everyday sexual problems.
- Relationship/family counseling – Because compulsive sexual acting out frequently involves some degree of infidelity or betrayal of trust, people in recovery from sexual addiction often need assistance in repairing damaged relationships.
- Support Groups – Many sex addicts find fellowship, understanding and ongoing support from participation in 12 steps style support groups, like sex addicts anonymous.1
In Recovery, from Sex Addiction, Is Abstinence Necessary?
Because sexual compulsivity is often described as a form of addiction, you may legitimately wonder if abstinence is necessary for long term recovery, as it might be if you were an alcoholic or drug addict, for example.
As a compulsive eater or ‘food addict’ can’t quit food during recovery, a ‘sex addict’ will very rarely need to give up healthy, intimate and enjoyable sex.
A sex addict will likely have to give up:
- Sexual acts that create secrets
- Sexual acts that bring feelings of shame or guilt
- Sexual acts that put your relationships at risk
- Sexual acts that are wrong, as defined by you, or by society
- Sexual acts that could cause another harm
- Sexual acts that take up a great deal of your time
Page last updated Aug 19, 2010