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

Dating: A Cautionary Tale – From A Sober Mom’s Guide To Recovery – by Rosemary O’Connor

© 2015 by Rosemary O’Connor Hazelden Publishing Published with permission of Rosemary O’Connor. “All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.”— MAE WEST For the alcoholic single mother, the dos and don’ts of dating are convoluted and complex. Dating for anyone today is like a minefield, but for recovering women, especially recovering moms who already have a history of disastrous relationships, the dangers are even greater. My friend Diane told me, “I’ve dated every dysfunctional man in Arizona, so I had to move to California.” You may feel like your Prize Picker is totally broken after so many failed attempts, or maybe you had no relation- ships and just slept around, looking for love in all the wrong places. You may be the woman who never dated and had given up on ever finding love. It was suggested I refrain from dating for the first… 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

Friends With Benefits – No Thanks! by Karina Shubaly

My journey with creating healthy sexual relationships started about 5 years ago. I found myself yet again, wailing to my brother in law, the tale of another infatuation gone awry. I refer to my brother in law as Saint Monica; the saint of Patience!  We talked about the idea of me writing a comedic and poignant book about surviving addictive relationships (past, present and future). I certainly had enough potential comedic material to fill that book and another, through the assorted pseudo relationships I had since leaving my husband. Recently I found myself, once again, spinning faster than a whirling dervish or Tasmanian Devil. It was crazy. I found myself angry, sad and joyous all at the same time. When a friend hit an “ouchie” yesterday, the tears quietly and openly fell. There were shared moments of laughter with friends; the kind of laughter that hurts your belly and you can… Continue reading