Out of Control Sexual Behavior (Sex/Porn Addiction)

There is considerable debate about whether one can be addicted to sex and/or porn.   See my blog post for more information re: my stance on this.

Difficulties I treat:

Behavioral:

  • Excessive porn use
  • Frequent masturbation
  • Making explicit or obscene phone calls to others
  • Extramarital affairs
  • Regular use of escorts or prostitutes
  • Frequent attendance to strip clubs
  • Engaging in cybersex or phone sex
  • Purchasing and hiding sexually explicit content from family and friends
  • Displaying sexually offensive behaviors to others / engaging in sexual harassment
  • Partaking in risky sexual behaviors
  • Having anonymous sex with others

Cognitive:

  • Preoccupation with thoughts that are sexual in nature
  • Obsession with sexual activity
  • Inept decision-making
  • Poor impulse control
  • Euphoria when anticipating or engaging in sexual activity

Psychosocial:

  • Feelings of guilt or shame following sexual encounters
  • Depressed mood
  • Mood swings

Treatments:

Psychotherapy:  Psychotherapy (aka: "talk therapy") can be helpful for individuals struggling with out of control sexual behaviors.  In therapy, I will help you define what healthy sexuality looks like for you, including an exploration of your personal values, consent, disease prevention, non-exploitation, honesty, and pleasure.  I will help you work towards your goals utilizing empirically-based treatment from a non-judgmental stance. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT is a type of psychotherapy that teaches individuals different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations.  Often times, depression and/or anxiety go hand-in-hand with out of control sexual behaviors.  Cognitive behavioral therapy helps the individual learn how to identify, challenge, and neutralize unhelpful/maladaptive thoughts.  

Mindfulness: Research supports the use of mindfulness for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and shame by altering stress hormones and inflammatory markers.  There are many types of mindfulness techniques that an individual can try including meditation, certain types of yoga, and mantras.

Medications: Medications do not cure out of control sexual behavior but can help with impulsivity and/or a co-occuring mood disorder.  Medications are especially helpful in conjunction with psychotherapy.