What is Considered a Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is a compulsive need to perform sexual acts to achieve that same kind of “fix.” It is similar to the psyche of how a person who suffers from alcohol use disorder obsesses about how they are going to get their next drink. Those struggling with a sex addiction may significantly alter their life and activities to perform sexual acts multiple times a day and are unable to control their behavior despite severe negative consequences and/or in opposition to their morals and values. A more contemporary form of sex addiction includes frequently viewing internet pornography and masturbation. The progression of material viewed, both regarding frequency and content is very much present in contemporary Sex Addiction.
How do you Define Sobriety with a Sex Addiction?
For a recovering sexual addict, sobriety can be more challenging to define than one may think and may differ depending on which 12 Step program one participates in. Sexual sobriety is often defined as a contract that sexual addict makes between themself, their 12-step recovery support, and/or their therapist. These recovery plans are usually written with clearly defined, concrete behaviors from which the sexual addict has committed to abstain. Recovery plans can look something like this:
- I am sober by not paying for sex or going to strip clubs and/or massage parlors,
- I will not watch pornography
- No sexual activity of any kind, including masturbation, outside of a committed relationship.
- I do not engage in anonymous sex, sex in public places, or sex with persons by phone or computer.
- I will not take pictures of unknown women with or without their knowledge and consent.
- I will hold my partner’s hand when we go on a walk.
- I will exercise daily.
- I will maintain daily hygiene.
A sexual recovery plan will look different depending on the individual, their triggers, and/or their arousal template. It is difficult for sex addicts to maintain a clear focus on personal beliefs, values, and goals when faced with their triggers, and these plans offer the sex addict an ongoing recovery path.
Maintain Sexual Sobriety
Without having clearly defined boundaries, the sex addict is vulnerable to deciding “at the moment” what action is best for them. Take time with yourself or a trusted professional to define these boundaries and maintain a clear focus on recovery choices regardless of the situation or momentary motive. Make and maintain a connection with others who identify with your struggle and are on similar journeys.
Looking for Support?
If you or someone you know is struggling with sex addiction, our therapists at Illinois Healing Center are here to help. We also offer group therapy for men ages twenty-one and older struggling with negative problematic/compulsive sexual behaviors. For support and/or more information about our group therapy, visit our website at www.ILHealingCenter.com or call us at 773.570.0770 to schedule an appointment.