What is Sex Addiction and sexual compulsivity?

What people sometimes refer to as "sex addiction" is actually a number of clinical presentations of problematic sexual behavior that can manifest differently across individuals.  If you are struggling with your sexual behavior, you may feel trapped in your preoccupation with sexual activities and your behaviors may persist despite significant risk or consequences.  Many individuals experience an escalation in their behavior over time, finding that they were led to a place that they never could have predicted years earlier. You may tell yourself that you will stop, and yet find yourself repeatedly returning to the same behaviors over an over again.  Such loss of control can make stopping these behaviors feel daunting and fuels shame and despair.  Without help, it is possible that your sexual behaviors may become more intense or damaging to your life.

Sex addiction, and similar difficulties, are not about someone having a strong sex drive or diverse sexual interests.  Many healthy individuals experience an above average drive for sex and having sexual desires that don't fit in the mainstream is generally not a matter of clinical concern.  Sexual behaviors are considered to be problematic when they violate well-reasoned values, are dishonest, harmful to others, put you at elevated risk, or diminish joy from your life.

There is ongoing scholarly debate as to whether these type of struggles are impulsive, compulsive, or addictive in nature.  Empirical evidence is emerging that suggests that each of these possibilities may be true for different individuals.  The reality is that problematic sexual behavior is a complex phenomenon that cannot be fully accounted for by a single explanation.  It is critically important that individuals who struggle with their sexual behavior be evaluated by a clinician who is able to fully account for the complex (and often confusing) intersection of human sexuality and mental health.

How We Work With sex Addiction

We start by getting a clear sense of who you are and what difficulties you are facing through a comprehensive assessment. A one-size-fits all approach for treating sex addiction is not our style.  Our team of experts will design a treatment plan that meets your specific needs and budget.  We offer a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, couples therapy, mindfulness and support groups, and an intensive outpatient program.  Our goal is to help you stop the destructive cycle and empower you to live an authentic, intimate, and joyful life.

WHAT MAKES OUR TREATMENT UNIQUE?

At Pacific Behavioral Healthcare, we provide the most thorough and progressive treatment of compulsive sexual behavior in the Puget Sound region.  Our founders are trusted members of the sexual health community and conduct national level training on how to treat problematic sexual behaviors and foster healing in hurt relationships. We understand the complex nature of sexual struggles and can set you on a path for growth, connection, and success.

More about sex addiction

Issues with sexual compulsivity can be hard to identify and understand.  Sex is a natural part of the human experience.  We are hard wired to emotionally connect and be intimate with others.  When this process is not nurtured, due to early attachment traumas, we are left with maladaptive ways of relating sexually and emotionally to others. 

A broad range of sexual behaviors can become dysfunctional and compulsive including:

  • Anonymous sex
  • Infidelity
  • Risky or Unsafe Sex
  • Masturbation
  • Cybersex
  • Pornography
  • Exhibitionism
  • Voyeurism
  • Massage parlors
  • Prostitution
  • Obsessive Dating
  • Toxic Relationships

Betrayed Partners

Discovering that your significant other had a secret sexual life is traumatic and you deserve support. We understand this level of pain and help hurting partners & spouses establish safety and stability and reclaim their lives.

If you or a loved one is suffering from problematic sexual behaviors, reach out today.