Sex Addiction: What are Bottom Line or Inner Circle Behaviors?

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Bottom line or Inner Circle Behaviors are those behaviors that a sex addict does not want to engage in any more. These are the behaviors that get the sex addict in trouble, cause them to have severe consequences in their lives and get in the way of living a healthy life.

Inner Circle Behaviors are the addictive behaviors that:

  1. Hold dire consequences
  2. Cause you pain, shame and guilt
  3. Create feelings of worthlessness and other negative emotions
  4. Cause your life to spiral out of control over their rate, frequency or duration

Middle Circle Behaviors are not as dire but are at times triggering and may develop into Inner Circle Behaviors. Outer Circle Behaviors are the healthy behaviors that the addict in recovery strives to attain. (To be discussed further in this action guide.)

Start by simply making a list of the Inner Circle Behaviors you do not, and will not, engage in anymore. For me, those behaviors are: cruising for prostitutes, phone sex, online chats, and Internet pornography. For some sex addicts, Bottom Line / Inner Circle Behaviors change over time.

In the beginning, one might put viewing underage pornography in this Inner Circle, but are okay with looking at age-appropriate, “normal” pornography. Over time, they realize all forms of pornography need to be in their Inner Circle or on their Bottom line.

Some may put masturbation as a Middle Circle activity, where it’s okay to masturbate but not to fantasize or view any pornography. Over time, they may add it to their Bottom Line, and in the future, may put it as a healthy Outer Circle Behavior.

Take some time now and begin defining your Inner, Middle and Outer Circle Behaviors. I’m sure they’re all in your head, but putting them down on paper is a great way to clarify them.

Print out the image at the right side of the page and fill in each of the circles as they pertain to you.

Inner Circle Behaviors are those compulsive, destructive, painful, sexual behaviors over which you are powerless and which you need to abstain from completely.

Middle Circle Behaviors are much less destructive and much lower in intensity than Inner Circle Behaviors but they can lead to Inner Circle Behaviors. If you’re not certain about a behavior…put it in your Middle Circle.

Outer Circle Behaviors are those desired healthy activities that help you live to your fullest potential, enjoy life, and grow your spiritual and human connections. They are what will keep you connected to others and to reality.

There is a saying in recovery: Progress, Not Perfection. One can’t expect to “fix” everything immediately. For most, the behaviors of sexual addiction have been a part of their lives for years and years and it will take time to make the changes necessary to live the life of abstinence, recovery and sobriety.

What are your thoughts about Bottom Line or Inner Circle Behaviors? Share your comments below


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2 Responses to Sex Addiction: What are Bottom Line or Inner Circle Behaviors?

  1. This is a mordant analysis on sexual addiction. Spare yet comprehensive. What books do you recommend for further studies in this subject matter?
    Ed of

    • scottv on at

      Thanks for your comments.
      I recommend the Green Book of SAA which talks about bottom like behaviors in a little more detail.
      Let me know if you need a more comprehensive list

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