Your thoughts and behaviors related to sex are controlling your life. You’ve come to terms with the fact that you are addicted to sex. But seeking outside treatment is too overwhelming for you at this time. You feel strong enough to overcome your sex addiction on your own or at least get started. And you want to know how to treat sex addiction at home to at least begin your recovery.
Treating sex addiction at home or with a mental health professional starts with the same steps. This post will help you understand how to begin.
Do You Have a Sex Addiction?
The first thing you want to do is identify whether you have a sex addiction. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you think you do. Let’s review, just to make sure.
Sex addiction is when your sexual thoughts, behaviors, and actions cause you distress. They interfere with your day-to-day functioning.
Symptoms of sex addiction include:
- Sex and thoughts of it consume an increasing amount of your time
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop compulsive sexual behaviors in the past
- Feeling depressed or shameful about your sexual activities
- Suffering from low-self esteem and low-self worth
- Obsessive thoughts about sex
- Engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors
- Ignoring the consequences of sexual behaviors such as legal issues or work-related problems
- Difficulty or inability to form lasting and intimate connections with others
- Defensiveness about sexual behaviors
- Inability to empathize with others
Each person’s addiction is unique. But there are common signs of sex addiction that you’re likely to experience. If you have any of the above symptoms, you may have a sex addiction.
How to Treat Sex Addiction at Home
Treating sex addiction on your own may not be possible. But, if you’re not ready to seek treatment, it doesn’t hurt to try as a precursor to seeking help. You can do some things to attempt to control your sex addiction or start to recover from it.
A trigger causes you to think of something or enact a behavior. Start by dumping items that make you want to engage in those behaviors you’re trying to stop. Removing triggers might mean throwing things away, deleting apps, or even installing anti-porn software on your smartphone or computer.
Keeping information for previous sexual partners or sex services can easily trigger a relapse. Delete the phone numbers, listings, map locations, or other relevant details for any people related to your addiction. You may also want to block these people on social media. You’re not blaming them for your addiction, but it may not be possible for you to heal while continuing those associations.
Avoid Risky Situations
Just like an image on your phone could trigger compulsive sexual behaviors, so could an environment. Think about situations related to your sexual behaviors and avoid them. For example, if you need to travel, take someone with you to help you avoid going to a strip club or seeking out sex workers. Avoid going to bars or nightclubs, so you’re not tempted to seek a one-night stand. Avoid any situation that might make you want to engage in the behavior you’re trying to stop.
Discontinue Alcohol or Substance Use
Alcohol and other substances not only result in other addictions, they also lower your inhibitions. Avoiding mind-altering substances will make you more aware of risky situations and give you strength to avoid them. Discontinuing substance use also will help improve your overall mental and physical health.
Starting a journal of your experiences, progress, setbacks, and everything in between can help you process your feelings and celebrate your wins. It also can help you review things that work and stop behaviors or choices that don’t. Reflecting is part of learning. By journaling, you offer your future self the unique advantage of reviewing the progress you’ve made.
Find Healthy Outlets
Exercise and eating healthy play a crucial role in everything you do, including healing and recovery. By eating healthy and exercising regularly, your brain and body will learn that you’re trustworthy and that you care. You also can replace bad habits or negative behaviors with positive ones.
Practice Stress Management
The biggest trigger for addictive tendencies is stressful circumstances. Mindful exercises such as yoga or meditation will give you many of the tools you’ll learn in therapy. Staying conscious of your choices and living in the present moment means you pause before you make a decision. This simple pause can give you the time to stop a harmful behavior or thought.
Treatment for Sex Addiction
Treating sex addiction at home can be a significant first step in your treatment plan. But most people find it only goes so far.
The cause of your addiction is why you may only get so far in treating it at home. Unresolved trauma is one of the primary causes of sex addiction. Over time, you learn to use sex and sexual outlets to deal with stress and other adverse emotions. The more these behaviors help you feel better, even temporarily, the more you repeat them. So, you need to identify and heal the trauma that caused the addiction, not just the addictive behaviors.
If you start your recovery at home, then think you need further help, there are options.
Treatments for sex addiction include:
- Psychotherapy. A therapist can help you get to the root cause of your addiction. Understanding, processing, and moving past trauma usually requires guidance and accountability. Therapy can help you learn mood management, identify triggers, and eliminate false beliefs.
- Medication. Some medications can help make the recovery process more manageable, particularly with psychotherapy. A mental health professional may discover other concerns outside the addiction that needs treatment in the form of medication.
- Self-Help Groups. One of the hallmarks of sex addiction is an inability to feel empathy for others. Spending time in a group with other people with sex addiction may help you feel better understood and connected to others.
How Begin Again Institute Can Help
When you’re ready for support, Begin Again Institute is here to help. We focus on treating sex addiction. Our unique programs can help you stop your compulsive sexual behaviors and heal. When you’re ready to work toward having a healthy relationship with sex, visit and contact us. We’ll be ready whenever you are.