“Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.”
― Hunter S. Thompson
Sexual addiction! What is it? With the accessibility of stimulation through the Internet and mobile phones, there is a lot more exposure to the issue of sexual addiction. In my private practice as a mental health and addictions counselor, more and more clients are showing up who need help from this addiction. Actually it is usually the partner of the addict that is either reaching out for help or giving the addict an ultimatum – get help or else. Whether it be prostitution, pornography or chronic masturbation, it can wreak havoc in their lives and the lives of those they love. In response to this, the treatment community has begun to use sexual addiction assessments along with alcohol and drug assessments.
Working as a chemical dependency counselor at a Federal prison camp in the mid-1990s, during the “war on drugs,” we began assessing for childhood sexual abuse and past sexual abuse. Nearly all of the female clients had been sexually abused. Some of the men said yes, but I suspect even with the promise of confidentially, they did not admit to this. Many who have been abused don’t remember, but issues show up later in their relationships.
Most of my clients who were diagnosed as sex addicts had been women and men who had a history of past sexual abuse and at some level attempted to find balance and healing, but instead found themselves in relationships where they became sexually addicted and often exploited. Some went on to be sex offenders. One example is a past client I counseled. He had been abused by his older brother and then went on to sexually abuse his nephew.
A leader in the field of Sexual Addition treatment is Douglas Weiss, PhD. This article summarizes the 6 Types of Sexual Addicts, a model he developed, which became the standard used to certify Sexual Recovery Therapists by the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy.