Understanding and treating sexual addiction

Understanding and Treating Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction is a complex disorder which can have a long-lasting impact on an individual’s psychological, physical, and emotional health. It is characterized by obsessive thoughts, behaviors, and rituals that focus on sexual gratification. This can be in the form of risky sexual behavior, excessively watching pornography, and may also present itself as compulsive masturbation or using online dating services.

Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Addiction

Those who suffer from sexual addiction can become obsessed with sex and will typically use it as an escape from their emotions.

Common signs and symptoms of a sexual addiction include:

  • Compulsive urges: The individual is unable to contain or control their thoughts or behaviors when it comes to sex.
  • Loss of control: A sense of being out of control when it comes to their sexual thoughts and behaviors.
  • Continued behaviors: Engaging in sexual behaviors even when there are repercussions from family, friends, or society.
  • Damaging consequences: Losing close relationships, a marriage, a job, or financial security due to engaging in sexual activities.

Treatment for Sexual Addiction

Treating sexual addiction can be a long and challenging process, but it is not impossible. Developing a strong support system, which may include family, friends, and professionals is essential for recovery.

The following are treatment options for those suffering from a sexual addiction:

  • Counseling: Individual, couples or family counseling can help the individual identify and address underlying issues or triggers that lead to their sexual behaviors as well as help them develop healthy coping strategies.
  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are commonly used to treat sexual addiction and help the individual change their thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Medication: Various medications can be used to help manage the symptoms of a sexual addiction, such as anxiety and depression.


Understanding and treating sexual addiction can be a challenging process, but seeking help from professionals and creating a strong support system is essential to on the journey to recovery. With the right treatment plan and dedication to the recovery process, it is possible to gain control over one’s thoughts and behaviors and live a healthy and fulfilling life.

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