I would like to write a few words about the continuing problems with what has become collectively known as Sexual Addiction. This wide description of Behavioral Addictions may encompass a very wide range of behaviors such as Infidelity in committed relationships, Compulsive use of pornography, inappropriate use of dating sites, ‘hook up’ websites, seeking multiple sexual partners, addictions to persons and relationships, and paraphilic behaviors.
Sexual Addiction research increased substantially in the mid-1990s and resulted in a flurry of self-help books and a growing body of scholarly articles studying the issue. Unfortunately, the last decade has yielded shockingly little interest by the scientific community in continuing study on the matter. Since science has apparently ‘moved onto other matters’, the unfortunate result has been that few clinicians are receiving training in how to effectively treat an addiction that continues to destroy many relationships, marriages, and lives.
Sex Addicts Anonymous
One needs only look locally to observe the problem even as it exists in the treatment field. A quick search of available Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, just within the city limits of Lansing reveals 28 weekly meetings. This number increases greatly when surrounding towns are included in the search. By contrast, the same search for Sex Addicts Anonymous treatments reveals only one. If one expands a search to the surrounding areas, that number doubles to two per week. Without going too heavily into statistics, one could still surmise that treatment for sexual addiction (using a 12 step program, at any rate) is underrepresented.
Please don’t mistake my purpose here. I agree in the principles of Supply and Demand, even when it comes to treatment. It goes without saying that many people struggling with this addiction do not seek out treatment. Some suffer from deep Shame, others are in Denial of the problem, and others are unsure if their behaviors are better described as a ‘bad habit’ or constitute true addiction. Neither am I declaring that ‘SAA is the only way’ for treatment. A few promising online groups (this sometimes presents a problem by itself) have offered other forums for treatment, including non-faith-based approaches to the problem.
If you have sought me out on the Internet for treatment, you have probably already identified some of the problems I wrote about above. You certainly have also found that there are scant few clinicians who specialize in treating Sexual Addiction and related Behavioral Addictions. Please do not lose heart. Although this area of treatment is not my only specialization, I began studying the issue in Graduate School. There I recognized how few of my colleagues knew much about how to treat the Disorder. I am happy to say that my studies continue every day in my own laboratory, the therapy room.
If you find yourself wondering, ‘Am I Sexually Addicted?’, please come in and sit down with me to talk about it. Whether you declare yourself addicted or if the issue has plagued your committed relationship, I think I can help.
Perspectives Therapy Services is a multi-site mental and relationship health practice with clinic locations in Brighton, Lansing, Highland, Fenton and New Hudson, Michigan. Our clinical teams include experienced, compassionate and creative therapists with backgrounds in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work. Our practice prides itself on providing extraordinary care. We offer a customized matching process to prospective clients whereby an intake specialist carefully assesses which of our providers would be the very best fit for the incoming client. We treat a wide range of concerns that impact a person's mental health including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, low self-worth, life transitions, and childhood and adolescent difficulties.