Sex Addiction Treatment


Sexual compulsivity, addiction and hyper-sexuality are all ways to define an unhealthy relationship with aspects of sex.

Because there are so many different ways for people to be sexual, the phrase ‘act out’ will be used in the following text in order to describe addictive or compulsive behaviour.

As with any addictive process, we look for dysfunction in the following key areas:

There is no definitive list of specific behaviours because people can sexualise many things.

Instead we look at factors such as progression of the illness and its effect on the individual as well as those around them.

With current technology and media, people of all ages are bombarded with mixed messages or triggers daily, without having to actively seek them out.

Technology plays a huge role in hyper-sexuality and sexual addiction can be difficult to identify and diagnose because the visible effects are not as obvious as those of chemicals. It is much easier to recognise someone who is intoxicated than to know when somebody has just sexually acted out.

When considering sex addiction, it may be useful to ask yourself the following questions:

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Due to the diversity and complexity of sex addiction, its symptoms and effects can be wide-ranging.

Problems such as unwanted pregnancy, loss of social status, financial loss, sexually transmitted diseases, legal issues, diminished performance at work and stress-related illnesses can be common. Emotionally the effects can be severe. Emotional detachment is common and invariably extends to spouses and/or family.

The sufferer can find themselves isolated, depressed, anxious or ashamed. These symptoms (maybe more so than other addictions) can also appear in spouses or loved ones. Many sex addicts have a fear of abandonment and, therefore, can remain in destructive and unhealthy relationships.


Defined as an ‘excessive’ use of pornography, this addiction can be largely subjective given an individual’s perception of what is excessive. What is clear is that the addiction is prevalent when a user continues to watch porn despite negative consequences. It can be identified in many ways.

The reality is that it can develop as a result of learned behaviour, and the ‘rewards’ of viewing pornography become all important and therefore necessary to the individual. Porn can be particularly addictive because it taps into a primal survival instinct, want and need… sex.


In identifying porn addiction the following questions may prove useful:


There can be other causes of addiction to porn such as biological (e.g. a high sex drive), psychological (e.g. the effects of exposure to porn in childhood) or social (e.g. past sexual experience), but what separates the moderate user from the addict is the adverse effect this acting out can have on various areas of their lives.

The damage that can occur as a result of porn addiction can be as severe as with any addiction. Socially, you can become introverted and shy away from potential relationships; emotionally, you can become detached; psychologically, you can suffer from guilt, shame and confusion, and physically, you can suffer from a variety of stress-related conditions, impotence or premature ejaculation.

Pornography is easily available to people of all ages. This means that compulsivity can be developed from earlier on in life and last longer, unfortunately giving warped/unrealistic messages about sexual encounters and activity.


Given the sensitive nature of the topic, it is sometimes difficult to ask for help. Having identified the symptoms it is important that you find help that is both knowledgeable and compassionate to the condition. It may not be perceived by the medical fraternity as any different to other behavioural addictions but to the sufferer, that could not be further from the truth.

Camino Recovery understands this and is experienced in this field. It is important that you feel safe and secure in your environment when exploring these behaviours, and we place that at the forefront of everything we do.

As with most behavioural addictions, there are many processes that can assist in its treatment, such as the following:

Please contact Camino Recovery for an impartial and confidential conversation to understand the options open to you.

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