Sex Compulsion/Out of Control Sexual Behaviours

Sex is an important part of a balanced lifestyle. But for some people, sex (or an aspect of it) becomes an obsession or compulsion that may negatively affect the social, physical, and behavioural aspects of their lives.

Hypersexuality or sex compulsion is a dysfunctional preoccupation with sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviours that can impact your mental health, your relationships, and even your daily activities.

“Out of control sexual behavior” (OCSB) is defined as a sexual health problem in which consensual sexual urges, thoughts, or behaviors feel out of control. [1]

Although sex compulsion and OCSB are similar and the behaviours could also look similar, there are distinct differences between them and how to work with them and your therapist can determine the best path with you.

Symptoms & signs of sex compulsion or OCSB

  • Sexual impulses that feel beyond your control
  • Using sexual behaviour as a form of escape from negative feelings and problems like stress, depression, or loneliness
  • Participating in risky sexual acts that lead to dangerous consequences such as giving or acquiring a sexually transmitted infection, or acts that can risk your personal and professional relationships
  • Being unable to have and maintain emotional intimacy in a relationship
  • Spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about or acting on a sexual behaviour.
  • Extramarital affairs or multiple sexual partners
  • High use of pornography
  • Engaging in significantly high levels of masturbation
  • Difficulty with emotional intimacy and/or relationships
  • Feeling shame, guilt, or remorse after sexual activity

Please note that mere participation in these above behaviors does not mean that one is “out of control” or has a sexual dependence.

When is it time to get help?

When the behaviors of sex compulsion or OSCB cause distress in your life or in your relationships, then it’s time to seek help.

Sex compulsion/OCSB treatment methods

Individual psychotherapy and a support system, which can include 12 step group therapy, are typically used to treat OCSB. Approaching a professional for psychotherapy or an assessment may feel embarrassing but is an essential first step.

Support groups outside of Insight are also available since other individuals suffer from the same condition. Apart from group therapy, there are other treatment methods that can help. We also have specialists with training in working with “sex addiction” that is an integrated and comprehensive model for addressing these issues.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
  • Behaviour therapy tends to view human beings and behaviour with the assumption that humans are a product of their sociocultural conditioning and environment, looking at the current problems and the factors influencing them and emphasizes behaviour changes more than the underlying unconscious processes.
  • Solution focused therapy views people as inherently strong and resilient, and capable of creating change and discovering solutions to their everyday problem.
  • Sex therapy is the treatment of sexual dysfunction and also includes working with concerns about sexual feelings and intimacy, less common alternative sexual practices, kink, gender issues, sexual offending issues, or work on optimizing or exploring new experiences. Sex therapy can also include distressing sexual behaviour, sexual abuse, and trauma.
  • Family systems therapy looks at the family as one emotional unit. This therapeutic approach looks at the relationships within the family and the structure as a whole.

What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?

If sex compulsion or out of control sexual behaviour is affecting your life, you should know that you’re not alone. Our therapists utilize a variety of effective treatment methods that can support you on your journey to finding healthy ways to cope, and to reclaim your relationships and your life.

We can help you with this issue – contact us today!



[1] Braun-Harvey, D., & Vigorito, M. A. (2016). Treating out of control sexual behavior: Rethinking sex addiction. Springer Publishing Company.

Brooke Hendricks

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Assessments

Loriann Quinlan

Edmonton South, Edmonton West, Online

Adults, Seniors

Brandi Enns

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Families, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Sabrina Brady

Edmonton Central, Edmonton North, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Karla Buchholz

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality

Terri Mulveney

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), LGBTQ community

Nikesha Deenoo

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Sexuality

Nicole Donovan

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17)

Kathryn Maier

Edmonton North, Online

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Families, Assessments

Cody Cobler

Edmonton North, Online

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Families, LGBTQ community

Chantelle Owen

Edmonton South, Edmonton Central, Online

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality

Luke Suelzle

Edmonton South, Online

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Families, Couples, Sexuality

Dr. Hendriatta Wong

Corporate Services

Bob Stenhouse

Corporate Services

Shirley Leonard

Corporate Services

Shaheel Hooda

Corporate Services

Lisa Standeven

Corporate Services

Tara-Lee Goerlitz

Corporate Services

Jaci Freeman

Edmonton South

Adults, Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Seniors

At this time, Insight Psychological does not have therapists who specialize in this specific area, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help you! Please contact us to talk with our Intake Personnel to find a therapist that is a good fit for you and your unique circumstances.