Like any other addiction, starting sex addiction treatment can be a challenging yet hopeful experience. Having a supportive community around you can mean the difference between relapse and long-term recovery.

Sex addiction treatment therapist consoling her female patient after being diagnosed with compulsive sexual behavior.

The Definition of Sex Addiction

Sex addiction can be characterized by a multitude of different damaging actions with oneself or with others that are caused by a compulsive sexual desire. Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not list sex addiction as a diagnosable condition, research suggests that people can develop an addiction to sex in a similar way to how they might develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol. A person with sex addiction is compelled to be sexually stimulated. This longing often gets in the way of their ability to live their every day life. Common actions of those with sex addictions include:

  • Not being able to set limits on their sexual urges
  • Having guilt and shame because of their sexual acts, but they cannot stop
  • Having negative consequences because of their sexual behavior (i.e. losing a job, breaking off a relationship, financial troubles, legal problems, etc.)
  • Ignoring personal obligations and responsibilities so they can take part in more sex or sexual fantasies
  • Using resources such as porn, prostitution, and cybersex to fulfill their desires
  • Needing to escalate their sexual behavior to get the same high
  • Spending an unprecedented amount of time chasing after or engaging in sex
  • Trying to stop their sexual behavior but relapsing when they are confronted with stress

Sex addiction is often diagnosed as a subcategory of another mental health condition, such as an impulse control disorder and is often accompanied by other mental health conditions. These mental disorders include, but are not limited to:

  • Trauma or PTSD
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders (especially binge eating)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder or OCD)
  • Other behavioral addictions (i.e. gambling, shopping)

Treatment for Sex Addiction

There are various types of treatment for sex addiction. Medication, therapy, 12-Step programs, support groups, treatment centers, and other research-based models are used to treat those in need. Treatment is mainly focused on having a community of support to lean on as you learn to cope with your addiction.

Wife was upset after finding out his husband is a sex addict.

Support Groups

Individuals going through recovery for sex addiction need a strong support network. This is important because everyone in the support group holds themselves and each other accountable in their journey to recovery.


Various therapies can be used to treat different aspects of sex addiction. Sexual addiction can be extremely damaging not just to the individual, but to their loved ones, their family, and many other aspects of their life. Therapies handled by mental health professionals can help you identify triggers for sexual impulses to help you in managing compulsive sexual behaviors.

Therapies commonly used for sex addiction include:

  • Individual/group therapy
  • Couples therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (and other evidence-based therapies)
  • Experiential and alternative therapies
  • 12-Step programs (i.e. Sex Addicts Anonymous)

Treatment Centers

Treatment centers combine a number of tools to help someone heal from sex addiction. The different programs and services offered are primarily focused on building a community of support for the individual to lean on as they go through the different steps to recovery.

Community Support

Community support is crucial in healing. Treatment centers focus on this to make you more comfortable with sharing your struggles and concerns openly and honestly. With a supportive network of other past sex addicts, you can support each other through your shared desire for healing.


Treatment centers offer a number of therapies, including the ones listed above. These help the addict learn to open up, trust again, and explore their feelings towards their addiction. Learning the causes of their addiction and how to cope in healthy ways can be transformative in the healing process.

Relationship Rebuilding

Support from your loved ones is everything and can often help prevent a relapse. At a treatment center, you can work on skills to rebuild your relationships with loved ones to help regain their trust and understanding.

It Takes A Village

Since the dawn of mankind, humans have been drawn to living and working amongst other humans. The core of this is the feeling of belonging. Humans want to feel as though they are a part of something bigger. This is why community support is vital in recovery for sex addiction.

Leaning on others in a time of need can help with feelings of isolation and depression. Being around other people with the same goals as you can also help your mindset. You help drive each other to the common goal. This way, you aren’t surrounded by those who could tempt you into bad habits. Socializing with others in recovery can help them empathize with you and help you learn how to have healthy, lasting relationships with like-minded people. Remember, “sober relationships support sober lifestyles.”

Your best bet in recovering from sexual addiction is to seek out others who are also getting sober to create a support network. This way, people can empathize and give advice when you have bad days because they have lived through the experience. By cultivating these relationships with other sober individuals, you are encouraging open and honest communication. A sense of fellowship will create a deep bond between you, creating a stable foundation for your recovery.

A young female sharing her story during their community support meeting.

Giving Back

Giving back to the recovery community can give you a sense of purpose. It can also keep you bonded to these individuals who constantly encourage your healing. You can give back by mentoring others, educating those in need, and sharing your story. This can be incredibly validating for those just starting recovery, so they can see there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Finding a support community can be difficult if you are unsure where to look. Sober living homes are a great option to learn how to cope with your addiction so you can lead a happier, more fulfilling life. You can also learn new techniques that have worked for others to help maintain your abstinence from harmful sexual behaviors. Your supportive community is waiting for you! Call Camelback Recovery today at (602) 466-9880.