Getting Help for Sex Addiction
Sex addiction is a serious issue. Many people may not realize they have a sex addiction until they try to stop behaviors that are starting to harm them and realize they can’t. For others, they may have known they had a problem for a while. If you are concerned about your sexual behavior, you may need help for sex addiction.
What is Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is compulsive sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that consume a person’s life. Sex addiction is a hypersexuality disorder that causes people to be unable to function regularly because they are so preoccupied with sexual urges. When they realize how their behavior negatively affects them, they try to stop but can’t.
Signs of sex addiction include:
- Non-intimate and/or risky sex with strangers or sex workers
- Negative emotions about behaviors and inability to control urges
- Avoiding social activities and daily responsibilities for sex
- Thinking about sex seemingly nonstop
- Low self-esteem
- Isolation and aversion to intimacy
- Lack of empathy
- Seeking out more or riskier sexual experiences
The causes of sex addiction can vary widely, but it is typically rooted in unresolved trauma such as childhood sexual abuse or other physical or emotional abuse. People use sex to deal with adverse emotions resulting from this trauma. When they realize that sex makes them feel better, even temporarily, they repeat the behavior and an addiction forms.
Getting Help for Sex Addiction
Sex addiction is unlikely to go away without support. You’ll probably need to seek help from a mental health professional.
“The most critical first step in getting help for sex addiction is for the person to recognize that they have a sex addiction, how it’s affecting them and those they love, and be ready to commit to treatment,” said Matt Wenger, Clinical Director at Boulder Recovery.
“They have to be committed,” he said. “The outcomes depend on what you want when you come in. You’re going to get out of it exactly what you want to get out of it.”
Once a person decides they’re ready to commit to treatment and recovery, they should look for trauma-informed treatment since trauma is the root cause of most sex addiction.
Matt also said that intensives, like the 14-Day Christian Men’s Intensive at Boulder Recovery, work well to give you a running start at recovery because you’re focused on doing the work.
“There’s no distractions. Your only thing to do is to be in this work,” he said. “You don’t have to think about what’s happening in the world.”
How Do You Deal with Hypersexuality?
If you’re experiencing sex addiction, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. An estimated 6-8% of the U.S. population is thought to have a sex addiction. It’s also important to understand that there are many ways to help yourself during recovery.
To fight sex addiction:
- Recognize Your Triggers. When you know your triggers, you can better avoid them until you get the tools to cope with them.
- Practice Breakwork and Meditation. Meditation and other forms of breathwork can help you stay grounded in your current reality and keep your hypersexual thoughts at bay.
- Comply with Your Treatment Plan. Work with a mental health professional to determine a treatment plan that works best for you, then stick to the plan.
- Find Alternative Outlets. Find other, healthier outlets to consume your time. These might include Bible study, exercise, or participating in a hobby.
- Deepen Your Understanding of Sex Addiction. Knowledge is power. Understanding sex addiction, including its causes and how the brain responds to that root trauma resulting in addiction is helpful to healing.
Types of Help for Sex Addiction
While many people have sex addictions, treatment is not one-size-fits-all. There are various treatment approaches. You can work with a mental health professional to determine which treatment option or mix that’s best for you.
Sex addiction treatments include:
- Inpatient Programs. An inpatient program is a treatment program that requires you to live at the treatment center for some time. This type of program helps remove environments and any triggers causing you to act out, so you can focus on recovery.
- Outpatient Programs. An outpatient program offers support through therapy, group counseling, or classes. Outpatient programs typically require weekly visits with a therapist or counselor and participation in support groups.
- Group Meetings. These are ideal for peer support while in recovery. Who better understands your particular challenges than those who also are in recovery?
- Intensives. An intensive is like an inpatient treatment program but for a set, short time. It allows you to be steeped in treatment and helps jump-start your recovery.
Help at Boulder Recovery
If you need help for sex addiction, pornography addiction, or another intimacy disorder and want to heal in a faith-based environment, Boulder Recovery is here to help. We offer a 14-Day Christian Men’s Intensive to help launch your recovery and renew your faith. Contact us to learn more about our program.