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What Is Sex Addiction?


If you are looking at this website, you or your partner may be wrestling with the problem of pornography or sex addiction.  If you are, this does not mean you are bad or perverted or hopeless.  It also doesn’t mean you’re one of a lonely few.  Experts estimate there are 18 million sex addicts in this country; up to six percent of the population or more.


Sex addicts use sex in a similar way as an alcoholic uses alcohol.  Sex is used to numb and medicate feelings and escape from the painful aspects of their lives.  The sexual experience becomes mood altering and in time becomes central to the sex addict's life. 


It is important to understand that addiction is a "solution" to pain, past trauma, and anxiety of potential further hurt. Addiction literally becomes a coping mechanism.  If somebody starts doing something to cope, and if they do it long enough, the body adjusts to the point that it needs that level of activity in order to feel "balanced."  Overtime, the behaviors become addictive and the addict can not stop. 

The addictive behaviors produce guilt, shame, self-hatred, remorse, emptiness, and more pain in the addict. He or she is driven to more isolation, ever inward, away from reality, away from relationships with others, lost to a world of loneliness.  The compulsive behavior makes true relationship and intimacy impossible for the addict.  True connection with another becomes impossible because the addict becomes addicted to the unreal.  "The sex addict has removed himself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong.  He has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop without help."  (SA, p 3)


The Good News is there is hope for recovery.  You can be free from the addiction and be the person you've always wanted to be.  However, It is impossible to do by yourself.  You will need help.  You have come to the right place for that help.  Rivers Edge Counseling is specifically designed to help you and your family recover from the devastating effects of  addiction.




How Does One Know If An Addiction

Is Present?


There are 10 Criteria and at least three of the following criteria must be met to show addiction may be present:


  1. Loss of control: Recurrent failure to resist impulses to engage in specific sexual behavior.

  2. Compulsive Behavior: A pattern of out of control behavior over time. 

  3. Efforts to stop: Repeated, specific efforts to stop the behavior, which fails.

  4. Loss of time:  Significant amounts of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experience.

  5. Inability to fulfill obligations: The behavior interferes with work, school, or family and friends.

  6. Preoccupation: Obsessing about the behavior or preparatory activities.

  7. Continuance:  The failure to stop the behavior even though the person is having problems because of it, socially, legally , financially and at work.

  8. Escalation:  The need to make the behavior more intense, and more frequent.

  9. Losses: Losing, limiting or sacrificing valued parts of life, such as relationships, work, and family.

  10. Withdrawal: Stopping the behavior causes considerable distress, anxiety, restlessness, irritability and physical discomfort.

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