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Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction is a pattern of behaviour that preoccupies an individual. The addict experiences
him/herself as out of control and unable to stop his/her behaviour despite negative consequences.
The latter may include mounting debts, inability or difficulty to maintain a relationship, loss of a
meaningful relationship, or legal consequences.

Sex addicts are found in every social class, every religion, and every profession. Sexual addiction
can take many forms:

Having little control over the use of internet pornography
Consistent use of internet chat lines
Having numerous one-night stands
Using prostitutes on a regular basis
Exhibitionist behaviour
Feeling compelled to take part in sexual encounters, e.g. dogging.

Sex addiction is similar to other addictions such as drugs or alcohol, in that the behaviour is
used to manage painful feelings. Addicts can often identify a pattern or cycle they get into. Once
emotional pain is triggered -- this may be sadness, anger, fear, shame, frustration, core
loneliness, etc. -- the addict distances and dissociates him/herself from the emotion and moves into
a trance-like state where he/she pursues the sexual behaviour. At this stage there is no awareness
of negative consequences, and there may be a sense of euphoria at the thought of the sexual
behaviour. The sexual behaviour is "acted out" and can be but not necessarily be followed by
feelings of guilt or shame. The cycle starts again when emotional pain is triggered.

In treating addictive behaviour It is important to understand the triggers, because this is where the
cycle can be broken. It can also be useful to explore the roots of the behaviour in family background.
This can give an understanding of the emotional triggers which can start the cycle.

Most people find it helpful to gain support from more than one source, for instance, a therapist,
a group of sex addicts, and following a programme on a website.

If you are the person with the addiction, or the partner of the person with the addiction, Barbara
can work with you on your own or as a couple.

(please scroll down this page for more information)


The College of Sexual & Relationship Therapists -- COSRT.

(COSRT is the national specialist charity for sexual and relationship therapy...
 ... formerly known as the British Association for Sexual & Relationship Therapy - BASRT)

The Recovery Nation website
-- a good accompaniment to seeing a therapist


Information from Relate on a range of sex problems


DH Counselling - Counselling and Psycho-sexual therapy in Nottingham
44 Redcliffe Road, Mapperley Park, Nottingham, NG3 5BW. www.dhcounselling. co.uk

 Barbara Dunleavy  2018