Is There a Cure for Sex Addiction?

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The short answer is “yes.”

Sex is a subject that comes loaded with preconceived notions and misconceptions, and so it’s important to understand sex addiction terminology. First, “cured” is a strong word. It implies a disease, which many people equate with the image of a doctor giving a patient a pill or injection that makes the disease go away. But there is NO pill or injection to make sex addiction go away.

Sex addiction also comes wrapped in terminology associated with other addictions such as alcohol or drugs. And one of the biggest misconceptions comes from the general public’s concept of Alcoholics Anonymous where people working against an alcohol addiction swear off the addiction completely. It’s the same with other substance addictions; the person removes the addictive agent from their life completely. So when someone mentions Sexaholics Anonymous or Sex Addicts Anonymous the public’s confusion is justified but potentially misleading because the person with a sex addiction does not necessarily give up sex, but rather learns to experience it at healthy levels in healthy ways.

Sex addiction can take a wide variety of forms and requires abstentions or modifications. The goal of most treatment programs, which are largely modeled from substance abuse treatment, is to bring the person’s sexual activity to a “normal” level where they can control it and partake of it without incurring negative consequences.

Some may struggle with the addiction their entire lives, while others may get to a place where they can consider themselves no longer under the addiction’s control. Some treatments focus on the psychoanalytical aspects of the problem, as addiction to sex has been linked to childhood sex abuse and/or depression. Others are treated as a straight on chemical dependency, and medication is used. Sometimes a combination of the two methods gets a person on the right track.

What a constitutes a cure, may be hard to pin down, and it can vary from person to person. Sex addiction itself is largely defined as when a person engages in sexual behavior compulsively and is unable to stop despite the fact that the activity is causing problems. A “cured” sex addict may still enjoy a lot of sex, or even use limited pornography. There is no standard for how much sex is healthy, and part of what drove a person towards addiction may have been a natural, over-active sex drive. Each patient has to set realistic goals for themselves and work towards them.

Is there a quick cure for sex addiction? No. The idea that there is one, is an obstacle to many addicts’ recovery who waste their time seeking a quick fix and who, after struggling for a long time, give in to admitting defeat. By all accounts, reaching the point of “cured” requires time and effort.

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