Sex Addiction

“Addicts, at one level, judge themselves through societies standards.
 Unable to live up to these they live with constant pain and alienation.”

 Dr. Patrick Carnes, Out of the Shadows

Sex Addiction

Most likely you are reading this page because you are struggling with sexual compulsivity also known as sex addiction. Healthy sexuality is an important part of our lives. When someone is struggling with sex addiction, the trust, deep connection, mutual pleasure of sexual intimacy is lost. At the root of the addiction is an impaired belief system that allows the addict to rationalize or be in denial about their behavior. In the book Out of the Shadows, Dr. Patrick Carnes describes the addiction cycle. 

He writes that the first stage of the cycle is preoccupation. The addict’s mind is completely taken over by thoughts of sex. This increases as the addict engages in the next stage of the cycle called ritualization. Every addict has a way that they prepare for sexually acting out. During this stage, the preoccupation often becomes a trance like state as certain cues in the environment stimulate them. Eventually this leads to the third stage of the cycle called compulsive sexual behavior. During this stage the addict acts out and is powerless to stop. No matter how many times the addict makes promises to himself or herself to stop, they repeat the pattern. Unable to stop, addicts feel despair, which is the fourth stage of the cycle. Often the cycle self perpetuates, out of this low point where the addict feels a sense of failure and remorse, the preoccupation steadily builds. 

There are many tools that are available to treat sex addiction. If you are unsure about whether you have a serious problem, I offer two different types of assessments in my office. To begin, please read the questionnaire below.

Pathos Questionnaire

1. Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts? [Preoccupied]
2. Do you hide some of your sexual behavior from others? [Ashamed]
3. Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior you did not like? [Treatment]
4. Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior? [Hurt others]
5. Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire? [Out of control]
6. When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards? [Sad]
A positive response to just one would indicate a need for additional assessment. Two or more indicates sexual addiction. 
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