Sexual addiction, also known as sex addiction, is characterized as a state of compulsive participation or engagement in sexual activity, particularly sexual intercourse, despite negative consequences. Proponents of a diagnostic model for sexual addiction, as defined here, consider it to be one of several sex-related disorders within an umbrella concept known as hypersexual disorder. The term sexual dependence is also used to refer to people who report being unable to control their sexual urges, behaviors, or thoughts. Related or synonymous models of pathological sexual behavior include hypersexuality (nymphomania and satyriasis), erotomania, Don Juanism (or Don Juanitaism), and paraphilia-related disorders.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common form of behavioral treatment for addictions and maladaptive behaviors in general. Dialectical behavior therapy has been shown to improve treatment outcomes as well. Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT) – a group of sexual addiction therapists certified by the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals – offer specialized behavioral therapy designed specifically for sexual addiction.
In-person support groups are available in most of the developed world. None yet have any scientific evidence to support that they are helpful, so attend at your own risk. These groups include:
Sex Addicts Anonymous: For those who want to reduce or eliminate their use of pornography, masturbation, and/or unwanted sexual activity.
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous: Similar to the above.
Sexaholics Anonymous: For those who want to eliminate their use of pornography, masturbation, unwanted sexual activity, and/or sex outside of marriage. Has a stricter definition of sexual sobriety than its competitors.
In places where none of the above are available, open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous may be a second-best option.
Support groups may be useful for uninsured or under-insured individuals. They may also be useful as an adjunct to professional treatment. In addition, they may be useful in places where professional practices are full (i.e. not accepting new patients), scarce, or nonexistent, or where these practices have waiting lists. Finally, they may be useful for patients who are reluctant to spend money on professional treatment.
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