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

No More Notches On Your Bedpost – Valuing Your Female Sexuality in Recovery

Entering any new situation in life can be uncomfortable. We are so used to doing things in a certain way, that changing our mode of behavior to one we are not familiar with, feels like we are floating in open water with no life buoy. Some of the greatest examples of this can be seen in early recovery – or recovery in general for some. We often carry our old ways with us into new situations, only to discover old behaviors don’t serve us and are not appropriate nor needed any longer. So you just walked out of the bars and clubs and into a 12 step meeting or another program for your specific drug of choice. You’re used to being hit on, valued for the size of your breasts and shape of your ass. You’ve become accustomed to the cheap, meaningless compliments from guys, who use the word baby… Continue reading