If you feel that you, a family member, or a friend has a sexual addiction problem, please seek help. There are many useful resources to assist you. Please visit some of these sites and links:
Click here for Sexual Addiction Articles
Also go to the following:
Sexual Addiction Help: http://www.sexaddictionhelp.com/
Sexual Addiction Recovery Resources: http://www.sarr.org/
Sex Addicts Anonymous: http://saa-recovery.org/
Counseling for Sexual Addiction: http://www.sexualcontrol.com/
Overcome Porn Addiction: http://www.pureonline.com/
National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: http://www.ncsac.org
Sexual Addiction Research
Starting in the late 1970's a psychologist and researcher, Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., was instrumental in the initial identification and treatment of sexual addiction as a condition. He is also responsible for getting accurate information about it into the hands of professionals as well as the public through numerous national lectures and educational TV appearances, and recently by answering questions about it in an AOL chat room on the Internet. Among the books he has written on the subject are Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, and Don't Call It Love: Recovery from Sexual Addiction, which are excellent sources for learning in more detail about sexual addiction.
Dr. Carnes describes how sexually addicted individuals have become addicted to the neuro-chemical changes that take place in the body during sexual behavior, much as a drug addict becomes hooked on the effects of smoking "crack" cocaine or "shooting" heroin. This is not to say that expression of ourselves as sexual beings, an intensely pleasurable, life-enhancing experience for the majority of the population, is an inherently addictive reality. As Carnes states, "Contrary to enjoying sex as a self-affirming source of physical pleasure, the sex addict has learned to rely on sex for comfort from pain, for nurturing or relief from stress," comparable to the alcoholic's purposeful use of alcohol.
How It Begins
The beginnings of sexual addiction are usually rooted in adolescence or childhood. For starters, the child often grows up in a chaotic, hostile or neglectful home. Or, the family may have been very normal otherwise, but the child grows up emotionally starved for love because affection is rarely expressed. The child may turn repeatedly to masturbation to escape the parents' violent arguments, for instance, or to make up for an unconscious lack of attention or affection. Masturbation can be a normal and natural part of childhood, but for the lonely, abused or rejected child can become a regular sedative, much like marijuana, to hide the inner pain. Later, someone's pornography collection discovered at home, or discarded porn magazines retrieved from a dumpster may be found to heighten the feelings of masturbating. And then a life-long pattern of masturbating to pornographic images is set into motion. Gradually sex becomes a replacement for other things, a convenient act to turn to in times of any kind of need, from escaping boredom to feeling anxious, to being able to go to sleep at night.
Sex Addiction and The Internet
The Internet has become the newest, most rapidly growing form of sexual acting out for many sex addicts today. A lot of sex addicts have added computer sex to their repertoire, as it fills a need for "more, easier and better." For the cybersex addict, increasing amounts of time are spent "surfing," downloading, creating files, masturbating, reading information posted on sexual bulletin boards, exchanging sexual information live with others in sexual chat rooms or via computer cameras, or directing their own live sex shows on interactive sites--in short, looking for what's new, what's better than last time. The Internet just happens to provide many of the things sex addict's seek, all in one place: isolation, secrecy, fantasy material, endless variety, around-the-clock availability, instant accessibility and a rapid means of returning, low or no cost. (The cost factor can change, however, if the sex addict keeps charging view-for-pay services on the internet, such as live interaction with performers who follow the customer's instructions for engaging in all kinds of prescribed sex acts that the customer can watch and masturbate to.)
Since one of the characteristics of sexual addiction is that it is progressive--that is, the habitual behaviors progressively become more frequent, varied and extreme, with more frequent and extreme consequences--sex addicts on the Internet often experience a rapid progression of their addiction. The new sexual thrills lead to spending huge amounts of time, moving more quickly into more extreme behaviors, taking greater risks, and getting caught more frequently. Thus, internet sex has been referred to as the "crack cocaine" of sex addiction. Actually, the sped-up progression of the sex addict's problem via the internet can turn into a blessing, since it can move the addict into the consequences more quickly that can cause him or her to get help.
What Happens Without Help
Another feature of sexual addiction is that it is progressive. It rarely gets better. Over time it gets more frequent, more extreme, or both. At times when the addiction seems under control, the addict is merely engaging in one of the common traits of the disease process in which he switches from sexual release to the control of it. The control phase inevitably breaks down over time, whether it be in an hour, a week, a month or a year or five years, and the addict is back in the behavior again despite his promise to himself or others never to do it again. When the ecstasy of the release is spent, the addict will often feel remorse at his failure and with great resolve will switch back to another "white knuckle" period of abstaining from the behavior until his resolve weakens again. Without help, this is the way the sexually addicted person lives his or her life.
Locating Specialized Out-Patient Treatment in Your Area
Effective professional help for sexual addiction problems is best obtained from counselors and therapists who are specially trained and experienced in treating these issues. The number of specialists around the country is relatively small. If you think you may need this help and don't know of a sexual addiction specialist, you can try the following sources for possibly locating someone near you.
One option is to try http://www.ncsac.org, to access the website maintained by The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity.