What is Sex Addiction?
Sexual addiction involves an ongoing preoccupation and/or obsession with sexual fantasies and behavior. For sex addicts, sex becomes a primary focus in their lives. Sex addicts are unable to quit or curtail their sexual acting out, despite a variety of negative life consequences, including:
There is much debate between sex addition therapists and sex therapists as to whether sex addiction really exists. Some say there is plenty of research to support addiction and others say there isn't. For now it is not yet a recognized diagnosis. However for those who struggle with sexual behavior that feels out of control, it doesn't really matter what it's called. And most people who experience this say it feels like an addiction. The goal of treatment is to determine what healthy sexuality looks like for you.
I'm a certified sex addiction therapist and I'm also pursuing certification in sex therapy. I think both approaches have a lot to offer in treating out-of-control sexual behavior.
Certified Sex Addiction Therapist
Certified sex addiction therapists take approximately four weeks of intensive training with faculty of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP).
The CSAT training, designed by Dr. Patrick Carnes and others, involves gaining expertise in assessing the level and type of sexual dependence, the client's sexual and trauma history and an assessment of family of origin issues and other addictions and addiction interactions that may be present. Following the training, the candidate is required to get 30 hours of supervision of actual clinical work with sex addiction clients prior to certification. There are also continuing education requirements for renewal of the CSAT certification every two years.
Certified Sex Therapist
The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) conducts the largest certification program to become a certified sex therapist.
It involves 150 hours of training and 50 hours of supervision covering 300 hours of therapy with clients dealing with applicable sexual issues.
Sex therapy may address: