How Do I Prevent Sexually Obsessive Thoughts?

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The simple answer and one you may not want to hear is…You can’t. That’s right, you can’t control the sexually obsessive thoughts that enter your mine…what you can control is what you do with those thoughts.

Sexual thoughts and feelings are common both in individuals who are struggling with sex addiction and those who are not. For the most part, the occurrence of these sexual thoughts and feelings is not something that a person has any control over. For the person with sex addiction, these unsolicited thoughts can be difficult to handle. It takes time for addictive sexual thoughts to fade from the mind of an addict, and these thoughts should not be considered slips in sobriety.

However, if the person in recovery from sex addiction is not careful these thoughts can shift until they become sexual obsession. When sex addicts indulge in sexual thoughts or feelings for the purpose of getting high or to escape the emotions of the day or moment, they are on dangerous ground. To allow themselves to become lost in this sort of sexual preoccupation is to shift into the world of sexual obsession. For the person with sex addiction, sexual obsession can be a form of acting out. Examples of this type of sexually obsessive behavior include:

  • Having and allowing fantasies about sex
  • Replaying previous sexual encounters in the mind (Euphoric Recall)
  • Panning out the possibility of future acting out binges.

To prevent sexual thoughts from becoming sexual obsessions, the individual struggling with sex addiction should have prepared in advance a few strategies to interrupt the process, here are two examples:

Focus on Present Reality

This is achieved by firs saying in your mind, STOP. Then taking several deep breaths, counting to three, and focusing on whatever may be happening in the present moment. A very helpful tool is the Rainbow Tool. When an unwanted sexual thought arises, say STOP and begin to find the colors of the rainbow in order. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. This will help you break the spell of the thought.

Thought Shifting

When the thought arises, say STOP and then focus on a happy place in your mind. A place that has strong good healthy happy feelings and memories for you. This is often called a safe or happy place. I spent quite a bit of time on the beach in Laguna Beach California. While there I would take in the sights, sounds, smells, the paths I hiked and ran and now I’m able to recall that scene as though I was there…I hit “play” in my minds video recorder and go to a place that is healthy for me. Try setting up your own video in your mind of a healthy, happy nurturing place.

It is important for the addict to get in touch with the senses, to focus on the truth of the actual moment. The addict may want to spend a moment determining what brought the sexually obsessive thoughts on – how the body feels physically and emotionally. If necessary, or if the thoughts persist, a person in recovery from sex addiction may want, or need, to reach out to a member in a twelve step program, his or her sponsor, or pray to a Higher Power.


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