Robert Weiss PhD, MSW, CEO of Seeking Integrity LLC, is a digital-age sex, intimacy, and relationship specialist. Dr. Weiss has spent more than 25 years developing treatment programs, educating clinicians, writing, and providing direct care to those challenged by digital-age infidelity, sexual addiction/compulsivity, and other addictive disorders. He is the author of several highly regarded books on sex and intimacy disorders including Prodependence, Out of the Doghouse, Sex Addiction 101, and Cruise Control, among others. He also podcasts (Sex, Love, & Addiction 101) and hosts a free, weekly interactive sex and intimacy webinar via SexandRelationshipHealing.com. His current projects are:SexandRelationshipHealing.com, an extensive online resource for recovery from sex and intimacy disorders. Seeking Integrity Los Angeles, an Integrated Intensive Program for Sex and Intimacy Disorders (Opening in Feb, 2019). For more information or to reach Dr. Weiss, please visit his websites, RobertWeissMSW.com and SexandRelationshipHealing.com, or follow him on Twitter (@RobWeissMSW), LinkedIn (Robert Weiss LCSW), and Facebook (Rob Weiss MSW).

Sex vs. Sexual Addiction – By Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Sex addiction is not the easiest thing to recognize, especially if you’re neck deep in it. Even outside observers (friends, family, therapists, etc.) sometimes struggle to identify the problem, primarily because sex addicts tend to be highly secretive about what they are doing. If you are worried about your (or someone else’s) sexual behaviors, and whether those behaviors may have escalated to the level of addiction, it may help if you understand the basic differences between casual, at-risk, and addictive sexuality. Casual Users of Sexual Activity are men and women who find non-intimate sexuality (porn, virtual sex, digital flirting, casual/anonymous hookups, affairs, strip clubs, prostitution, and the like) to be fascinating and fun. They involve themselves with these pleasurable distractions occasionally, though not obsessively. Much of the time, their behavior is driven by curiosity, novelty, or life-stage events. For instance, they may engage in non-intimate sexual activities (online or real-world)… Continue reading

What Sexual Addiction is NOT – By Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Unfortunately, there is a lot of inaccurate information floating around about sex addiction. Because of this, some people will use the label “sex addiction” to define any type of sexual behavior (in others or in themselves) that does not meet their personal, cultural, or religious view of what sex should look like. He goes to a very conservative church that thinks porn is a sin, but he looks at porn on a regular basis. He must be a sex addict. I’m married to a woman that I love but I’ve been having sex with men. I must be a sex addict. She’s cheating on her husband. Only a sex addict would do that, right? Even worse, sometimes people who are caught red-handed engaging in inappropriate, illegal, or just plain problematic sex will suggest that they are sex addicts, attempting to use sex addiction as a catch-all excuse for their behavior,… Continue reading

The Cycle of Sex Addiction – Robert Weiss MSW

It’s no secret that addictions of all types are cyclical in nature, with one stage leading to the next, and then the next, leaving the addict mired in a seemingly endless downwardly spiraling loop. With sex addiction, various versions of the addictive cycle have been proposed. The first of these appeared way back in 1983, when Dr. Patrick Carnes outlined a four-stage model in his groundbreaking book, Out of the Shadows. In the intervening three-plus decades, as clinicians have developed a better understanding of sexual addiction, this model has been modified and expanded. Today we utilize a six-stage cycle to describe this debilitating disorder, outlined below. Stage One – Triggers (Shame/Blame/Guilt/Other Strong Emotions): Triggers are catalysts that create a need/desire to act out sexually. Most often triggers are some sort of “pain agent.” Pain agents include emotional/psychological discomfort and also (sometimes) physical discomfort. Essentially, depression, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, stress, shame,… Continue reading

When Is Sex An Addiction? – By Robert Weiss MSW

From a therapist’s point of view, sex addiction is a dysfunctional preoccupation with sex that continues for a period of at least six months despite negative consequences and attempts to either quit or curtail the problem-causing behaviors. In other words, sex addiction is an ongoing, out-of-control pattern of sexual fantasies and activities that causes problems in a person’s life – much as alcoholism is an ongoing, out-of-control pattern of alcohol abuse that causes problems in a person’s life. Generally speaking, sex addiction, like other addictions, is diagnosed based on three primary criteria: Preoccupation to the point of obsession. Sex addicts spend hours, sometimes even days, fantasizing about, planning for, pursuing, and eventually engaging in sexual acts (with self or others). They often “lose time” when floating in their sexual obsession. Loss of control. Most sex addicts try, usually repeatedly, to either quit or cut back on their sexual fantasies and… Continue reading