About Sex Addiction 2017-09-26T04:47:20+00:00

About Sex Addiction

As addictive as any substance or process addiction.

Sexual Addiction: About the Disease

Sexual addiction is a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and actions, or a lack of control of some sexual behavior or relationship. As with other addictions, such as alcohol and gambling, its negative impact on the addict and family members increases as the disorder progresses.

At first, only substances were viewed as potentially addictive.

Alcoholism has been recognized by the medical profession as a disease since the 1950s. Later, the mental health profession began to recognize that behaviors as well as substances could lead to the disease of addiction. Today we see addiction in two broad categories: Substance addictions and Process addictions. The first widely recognized process addiction was Pathological Gambling. Although Sex Addiction is not listed in the mental health diagnostic manual yet, many professionals agree that compulsive sex can be as addictive as any substance or other process addiction.

Anyone dealing with compulsive sexuality will recognize that the criteria for diagnosing addiction apply to out of control sex. A few of the criteria include loss of control, efforts to stop, preoccupation, continuing despite consequences, tolerance, and withdrawal.

The number one symptom of addiction is denial. �Addiction is a disease that tells us we don�t have a disease�. Denial also takes the form of �I can handle this on my own�. Unfortunately, addiction doesn�t go away all by itself. It can be treated. Most people recovering from any addiction use a combination of self-help and professional treatment.

Sex addiction has much in common with other addictions. At the same time it is unique and best treated by a specialist. Many addicts begin their recoveries with inpatient treatment. For those who can afford the time (28 to 90 days) and the money (costs vary, but averages about $1,000 per day), that is the gold standard of treatment. We work most closely with The Meadows for those requiring residential treatment.

For those new to recovery, our 4 day group may be the best option. Paul Hartman specializes in this treatment method. Outcomes are excellent for the addict, the partner, and the coupleship.


  • The National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity estimated recently that 6%-8% of all Americans—or 18 million – 24 million people —can be classified as addicted to sex.
  • A recent study by Stanford University for MSNBC reported that 25 million Americans spend between 1 and 10 hours a week looking at pornography online, and that another 4.7 million individuals spend over 11 hours per week view porn sites.
  • New studies have found that the fastest growing 12-step programs in the world involve sexual addiction, including: Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.
  • There is no single reason why an individual develops a sexual addiction, but common theories include:

    • Psychological – Often associated with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.
    • Biological – The intoxication of the sexual release are believed to create a change in brain chemicals. The neuro-pathways to the brain’s reward center for drug abuse and sexual addiction are very common
    • Social – Frequently have low self worth, insecurity, difficulty coping with painful emotions, may have been sexually abused, etc.

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