Sex Addiction

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. Sex addiction or compulsive sexual behaviour are some of the more commonly used terms but there are others that may more adequately describe the behaviour such as Hypersexuality or Out of Control Sexual Behaviour (OCSB). Although these terms are similar and the behaviours could also look similar, there are distinct differences between them and how to work with them.

Signs & Symptoms of Sex Addiction

  • 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.

Signs & Symptoms of OCSB:

  • Specifically in individuals who have extramarital affairs or multiple sexual partners
  • High use of pornography
  • Engage in significantly high levels of masturbation.
  • Difficulty with emotional intimacy and/or relationships.
    (Please note that mere participation in these above behaviors does not mean that one is “out of control” or “addicted.”)

When is it time to get help?

When the behaviors of sex addiction cause distress in your life or in your relationship, then it’s time to seek help. Be wary of professionals who claim that “sex addiction” is a valid diagnosis and claim that affairs, engaging in kink, or watching pornography are hallmark signs of addiction. These professionals are not Certified Sex Therapists and are trained in a different model that is not currently accepted by psychologists and psychiatrists in our diagnostic and treatment manual.

Treatment Options

Individual Psychotherapy and a support system, which can include 12 step group therapy, are typically used to treat out of control sexual behaviour. Approaching a professional for psychotherapy or an assessment may feel embarrassing but is an essential first step. It takes courage to even read this webpage right now.

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

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, emotions and beliefs influence your behaviour and how you perceive yourself, others and the world. CBT has been shown to be effective in dealing with anxiety because it helps you to change those negative thoughts, feelings, emotions and projections on a subject matter or circumstance and help you to learn more effective ways of dealing with your anxiety. This approach uses sound techniques to slow down, halt and eliminate your own learned reactions. Ultimately, CBT deals with those circumstances and events that you’re aware of, rather than dealing with circumstances and events relating to your unconscious. Through a sound therapeutic process, you’ll learn to respond differently to issues and circumstances, and you’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Family Systems Therapy (Also called Bowenian Family Systems Therapy) is used to help people resolve their individual problems within the context of the family unit. Members of the family work together to understand their, and each others role in the family. This method of psychotherapy helps people to understand how their actions and thoughts affect other members of the family and the entire family as a whole. Birth order is also examined to help people understand how coping methods and emotional issues are developed.
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is an empirically-based approach, which looks at emotions and emotional intelligence, which helps support stronger and more secure relationships by helping better understand how our actions impact others, and how our emotions drive our interactions. EFT believes that emotions are basically adaptive and guide our attachment needs, while therapy helps clients learn how to express these emotions in ways that facilitate bonding, tolerate and regulate them, while also making sense of those feelings expressed by others. EFT practice is also based on methods designed to help people accept, express, regulate, make sense of and transform emotion, thereby increasing their overall emotional intelligence. EFT attempts to make deep emotional changes in individuals and relationships by shifting from fear and conflict to corrective emotional experiences. Clients are taught to honor their feelings and express them in ways that bring others closer and resolve their needs, rather than engage in patterns that push others away and leave attachment needs unresolved.

What will I get out of addictions treatment with Insight Psychological?

If sex addiction 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.