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how to treat sexual addiction

How to Treat Sexual Addiction – 3 Key Aspects Of Treatment

Dr. David B. Hawkins, Director of The Marriage Recovery explores the signs, symptoms and analyzes how to treat sexual addiction. He addresses the dangers of enabling the dysfunction as well as sharing how to confront and intervene into this addiction. He takes you through the Criteria of having Sexual Addiction and how many have found successful treatment at The Marriage Recovery Center.

How to Treat Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction is a prevalent issue in our society, although it is often a topic that we are reluctant to discuss openly. The power and grip of sexual addiction can make it easy for individuals to become addicted to various aspects of sexual acting out.

In this article, we will delve into the signs, symptoms, and explain how to treat sexual addiction. By understanding and addressing this addiction, individuals can take steps towards healing and restoring healthy relationships.

Recognizing the Signs of Sexual Addiction

So, how to treat sexual addiction? Similar to other forms of addiction, sexual addiction manifests through certain criteria and behaviors. By familiarizing ourselves with these signs, we can better identify when sexual addiction may be present. Here are seven agreed-upon criteria for sexual addiction:

  1. Frequent and/or long-term engagement: Engaging in sexual activities to a greater degree, extent, or for a longer period than originally intended.
  2. Persistent desire or effort to stop: Feeling a strong urge to discontinue the behavior or making unsuccessful attempts to stop engaging in it.
  3. Increased time spent in the behavior: Devoting more time to sexual activities or recovering from their effects, as the addiction grows.
  4. Frequent preoccupation with the behavior: Constantly thinking about and preparing for sexual acts, leading to ritualized patterns.
  5. Continuing despite negative consequences: Persisting in the behavior despite experiencing negative effects on social, marital, spiritual, physical, legal, or financial aspects of life.
  6. Need to increase intensity and frequency: Requiring more intense or frequent sexual activities to achieve the desired effect, similar to a substance addiction.
  7. Increased irritability and restlessness: Exhibiting restlessness and irritability when unable to engage in the addictive sexual behavior.

The Importance of Intervention

When dealing with sexual addiction, intervention is crucial for recovery. Without intervention, the addiction will likely continue to grow, causing further harm. It is essential to recognize that individuals struggling with sexual addiction may deny the severity of their problem or believe they have control over it. However, denial is a common characteristic of addiction. Therefore, intervention becomes necessary to initiate the recovery process.

Three Key Aspects of Treatment

When asking how to treat sexual addiction, three crucial aspects must be considered: support, counseling, and accountability.

  1. Support: Individuals battling addiction need a support system to aid their recovery journey. Connecting with others who share similar struggles provides a sense of community, shared experiences, strength, and hope. Remember, you cannot overcome addiction alone, and seeking support is paramount.
  2. Counseling: Genuine counseling is vital for addressing the deep emotional pain and unresolved issues that may have contributed to the addiction. Professional counseling helps individuals uncover their underlying hurts, understand the root causes, and work towards healing. Through counseling, individuals can address the pain that led to the addictive behavior and navigate the consequences resulting from it.
  3. Accountability: Establishing accountability is critical for maintaining recovery. It involves setting boundaries and safeguards to prevent individuals from falling back into old patterns. Accountability partners or systems can help individuals avoid triggers and make healthier choices. While accountability may initially feel intrusive, it plays a significant role in promoting long-term recovery and personal growth.


Sexual addiction is a pervasive issue that demands our attention. By understanding the signs and symptoms of sexual addiction, we can take steps towards treatment and recovery. Recognizing the need for intervention, including support, counseling, and accountability, is crucial for those struggling with sexual addiction. Through these measures, individuals can embark on a healing journey, restoring healthy relationships and finding freedom from the grips of addiction. Remember, it is never too late to seek help and start the process of recovery.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: 3 Common Narcissistic Behaviors

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.



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