Finally, an Official Diagnosis for Sexual Compulsivity! – Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

  For a long time, sexually addicted/compulsive people did not have an official diagnosis delineating the criteria for diagnosing and treating their disorder. Nor could they get insurance companies to directly fund much-needed treatment for this debilitating issue. This did not by any stretch of the imagination mean that sexual addiction/compulsivity did not exist, because it did. (For a comparison, think about alcoholism, which was officially recognized by most medical and psychological organizations as a diagnosable and treatable disorder in the 1970s. But that hardly means the issue did not exist prior to that time.) The good news is that the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the latest version of its diagnostic manual, The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), will include “Compulsive Sexual Behaviour Disorder” as an official diagnosis. For those who are not familiar with this manual, I’ll simply state that it’s the most commonly used medical… Continue reading

What Triggers Sexually Addictive Behaviors? – Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

  Sexually addictive behaviors are typically triggered by one of two things: a strong desire to escape an uncomfortable feeling, or a strong reminder of the pleasure experienced through sexual fantasy and activity. Either type of trigger will induce, in sex addicts, the craving to act out sexually. It is important to note that addiction cravings are not the same as a non-addicted person craving a bag of potato chips or a scoop of ice cream after a hard day at work. Addiction cravings are more like the need for air after holding your breath for a minute or more. Once addiction cravings are triggered, they are beyond conscious control. They escape reason and logic. They are so powerful that they overwhelm and take control of the addict’s thought process. This is why sex addicts (and other addicts) find it so difficult to establish and maintain sobriety, despite the promises… Continue reading

Does Sex Addiction Get Worse Over Time? (Yes, It Does!) -Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

  Addicts of all types almost universally experience an increasing tolerance to the mood-altering effects of their substance/behavior of choice. As a result, they must, over time, use more of that addictive substance/behavior or a more intense substance/behavior to achieve and maintain the escapist high they seek. If you’re struggling to understand this, consider drug addiction. Almost nobody shoots heroin right out of the gate. Instead, drug addicts ease into things by smoking marijuana or abusing a prescription medication. As time passes, their tolerance increases, and in response their habits escalate. Maybe they start smoking pot around the clock, or maybe they start popping pills by the handful, or whatever. Eventually, as their brain continues to adapt, even that level of usage doesn’t get or keep them high the way they’d like. At some point, they “discover” drugs like cocaine, meth, and heroin, and they use these stronger substances in… Continue reading

Denial and Sexual Addiction – By Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Active sex addicts rarely view their escapist sexual fantasies and behaviors as the cause of their unhappiness and life challenges. Even when they are neck deep in consequences, they somehow don’t let themselves view their sexual acting out as a contributing factor. In fact, they typically see their behavior as the solution to rather than the cause of their emotional discomfort and various life problems. They either refuse to see or are unable to see the destructive effects of their compulsive sexual fantasies and behavior. This is their denial. With sexual addiction, as with other addictions, denial is a complex series of internal and external lies and deceit. Typically, each fabrication is supported by one or more rationalizations, with each rationalization bolstered by still more falsehoods. When looked at objectively, denial is about as structurally sound as a house of cards in a stiff breeze, yet addicts act as if… Continue reading

Sex Addiction vs. Other Addictions: The Betrayed Partner’s Perspective Vicki Tidwell Palmer

The impact of addiction on a spouse or long-term committed partner is not the same for all addictions. For survivors of chronic infidelity or sex addiction, there are five major ways that sex addiction is different than other addictions, creating unique challenges to the betrayed partner and the repair of the couple’s relationship. 1. Sexual Betrayal Feels Like a Personal Assault If your spouse abuses alcohol or drugs or is hooked on gambling, video gaming, or spending, you are likely to feel intensely frustrated by his or her behavior. You might even be hurt by the fact that your spouse seems to care more about his addiction than you. But you probably won’t see your spouse’s behavior as a personal attack. Sex addiction is different. If your spouse spends hours every day looking at and masturbating to pornography, having sex with prostitutes, having multiple anonymous hookups, and frequenting adult bookstores,… Continue reading