Sexual Addiction Counseling and Resources

Has your addiction damaged your relationships? Finances? Career? Are you tired of living two lives? Do you tell yourself you won’t do it again, and then somehow you find yourself in your addictive behavior once more? Are you finding that you spend a lot of time and money on your addiction? Do you feel great while in the addiction, yet find the aftermath unsettling?

Break the cycle of needing the next “fix”.

You have the power to stop your negative cycles and get back in control. First, you must recognize the problem and then take the step to get some help. Only you can make this happen! We can help guide you toward understanding the underlying causes that trigger your addictive behavior. Together we can work on the interpersonal challenges that serve as hurdles to your success, and the coping skills you will need to beat your addiction.

How do I know if I have a sexual addiction?

Though sexual addiction is a well-known term, its definition is debated. Generally, a sex addiction is categorized by the inability to control sexual urges and desires. This might show as a pattern of repetitive sexual behaviors and fantasies and leave the person with feelings of dissatisfaction and shame. It’s important to note that the desire to frequently masturbate or have sex are not themselves signs of an addiction. It is the inability to stop that indicates a deeper issue. While having sexual impulses is completely normal, a sex addict will pursue these desires to the point that it begins to negatively impact their routine and relationships. This often comes at a loss to their own health and happiness, both physically and mentally.

For example, a sexual addict might find that they engage excessively in certain activities such as: pornography, masturbation, prostitution, and/or voyeurism, to name a few. You might find that you modify your routine to engage in sexual acts. Even knowing the consequences, you will continue to pursue these activities and feel powerless to stop. When these activities become all consuming and start to impact your relationships, this is a sign that a deeper issue may be at play.

Not unlike alcohol or drug addiction, sexual addiction can impact your mental and physical health. If you find that your lack of control is impacting your life and hurting the ones that you love, it may be time to seek help. We are here to provide that support and get to the root of your addiction.

Common Signs of Sexual Addiction:

  1.     Persistent/obsessive sexual thoughts

You may find your mind relentlessly occupied by thoughts about sex. These can come without warning and become a distraction while at work, on a date, hanging out with friends, or just relaxing at home. You may have difficulty focusing and/or completing work, or truly enjoying moments with friends and family. When your fantasies begin to overtake your ability to effectively work or communicate with others, this may be a sign of a deeper issue.  

  1.     Loss of interest in other activities

Nothing feels quite as exhilarating as the thrill of getting your next sexual fix. This can lead to other experiences feeling dull by comparison. Similarly, with so much of your time redirected to sexual thoughts or acts, you may find it difficult to spend time on other activities. This can drive a wedge between you and your interests and lead you farther from the activities that bring you true joy.

  1.     Participation in illegal or risky activities

You may find yourself in scenarios that are unlawful, such as engaging in prostitution or voyeurism. Your desire for sexual release may overtake your judgement and you find yourself engaging in risky behavior that could come at a cost to your health, wellbeing, and safety.

  1.     Feelings of shame and depression

Feeling like you lack control over your desires can take a mental toll. Perhaps you feel that you are not ‘normal’ and you should be able to exert more control over your body. This may lead you to experience depressive thoughts. If you find that you are having difficulty focusing, struggle to find motivation, and are withdrawing from the ones you love and activities that bring you joy, you may be experiencing depression as a result of your addiction.

  1.     Seeking out sexual activity in way that is excessive

You may go out of your way to perform sexual acts so much so that you begin to neglect your personal responsibilities. As a result, your daily schedule, personal, and professional life may all be impacted. If you find that sex is ruling your routine and you are prioritizing it over your own wellbeing, and you are finding that these impulses are controlling you and you are unable to stop, it could be time to seek help.

Sexual addiction looks different for everyone. For some, this could mean the uncontrollable urge to masturbate frequently. For others it may be the desire to have multiple sexual partners in one day. For others, it may be the feeling that these impulses are controlling their lives, and they don’t have the ability to stop. Whatever it looks like for you, there is a therapist waiting to walk you through your healing journey. You can see an end to your addiction and live the fulfilled life that you deserve.

How can a therapist help?

With sexual addiction, learning effective coping skills is vital to your success. A therapist can help establish these coping mechanisms so that when you are confronted with your urges, you have the toolset to break out of the cycle. While this may not happen overnight, trust that with time, practice, and someone to talk to along the way, you can manage your addiction.

Additionally, a therapist can work with you to identify the root of your addiction. Sexual addiction may be caused by a variety of factors. These can include the neuroscience of addiction, unresolved trauma, lack of coping skills, and other lifestyle influences. As your therapist, we will walk you through the steps of recovery, provide a safe environment for you to ask questions, and facilitate our sessions to uncover the underlying issues. Your addiction is a symptom of a larger problem and together we will address all of its complexities so you can begin getting more control over your life.

Looking for resources? Here are some options for support groups and reading to help you with your addiction:

Sexual Addiction Support Groups

Sexual struggles tend to be an isolated and secretive event, unlike an alcoholic or a gambling addict. As a result, this personal struggle can not only hurt you, but it can damage your relationships as well.  These support groups help you get out of the pattern of struggling alone, keeping your thoughts secretive, or meeting others that struggle similarly. Most people try to “manage on their own”…but for most people it doesn’t work.  These groups below meet every day of the week and at different times and throughout San Diego.  There is no excuse that can get in the way.

Sexual Addicts Anonymous (SAA)

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)

  • (619) 685-7211

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)

Sexual Compulsive Anonymous (SCA)

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)

  • (619) 685-7211

Recommended Readings for Compulsive SexualSex Addiction books Issues:

We believe in the power of knowledge.  The more you get educated about your personal struggles, the more you understand what to do to get out of the addictive cycle.  Addiction is no easy issue, especially a secretive sexual addiction.

Here are a few books that we recommend:

A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps, by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.

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Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.

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In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free from Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior, by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.

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Don’t Call It Love: Recovery from Sexual Addiction, by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.

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Hope and Recovery: A Twelve Step Guide for Healing from Compulsive Sexual Behavior, by Hazelden Publishing

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It’s been nearly 20 years since I first became interested in studying psychotherapy. I began practicing the scientific approaches to psychotherapy in 1997 and I was hooked from then on.

I earned my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family psychotherapy in 2004 and I am currently licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist MFT (LMFT#47653) with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).

I focus my practice upon the empirically-based and proven research methods of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

I’ve seen these techniques consistently get results and I truly believe they are the most effective at creating positive, long-term change.

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Seeking a therapist can be the best thing you do not just for your relationship, but for yourself. If you are seeking compassionate, knowledgeable, and understanding professional help, we invite you to explore our services. We are here to help you make the most of your life.