Options for Getting Help
In all forms of treatment for sexual addiction the goal is to eliminate those sexual behaviors which the addict identifies as dangerous or disruptive to his or her life, work, relationships etc. and which he or she has been unable to stop by sheer will power alone. Thus the first step in getting help will be for someone or something to bring the person to the awareness that they need help. This can take many forms. For some people it is a dawning realization that they don’t want to live the rest of their life in the grip of a sexual compulsion. For others there is a crisis that they cannot ignore such as a spouse leaving, losing a job, or getting arrested. Click on Defining Sex Addiction for a description of the characteristics of the sex addict and the nature of the compulsive behaviors.
The goal of sex addiction treatment is never to eliminate sex from a person’s life. It is only to open the way for enjoyment of sex in a healthy and appropriate way. This is similar to treatment for those with eating disorders in that sex is, or should be, a normal part of life rather than a secret compulsion. It is unlike Alcoholics anonymous in that it does not require total abstinence, although most programs recommend a period of abstinence during the beginnings stage of recovery. The four major kinds of treatment or support for those in need of help with sexual addiction are:
1. Residential Programs
2. Intensive Outpatient Programs
3. Outpatient Individual or Group Therapy
4. 12-Step Programs: anonymous self-help programs
Listed below are descriptions of each kind of program along with the names and links to the most prominent resources currently available in each type.