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How Does Sex Addiction Differ from other Addictions?

For starters, sex addiction is a process addiction. Other process addictions include food addiction, money addictions (such as gambling or compulsive spending/debting) and workaholism. The difference between these addictions and a substance addiction like drug or alcohol dependency is that with a substance addiction you can put the substance (i.e., alcohol, cocaine) down and never pick it up again.

Recovery from a process addiction is different because the addictive behavior revolves around good and necessary parts of life (i.e. food, sex). Rather than total sobriety from the addictive substance instead sobriety is centered on a commitment to abstain from certain addictive behaviors and attitudes. The goal is to learn to have a healthy relationship with the behavior they have been abusing. So the goal for a sex addict is to learn to have a healthy relationship with sex.

Second, our sexuality is an innately powerful part of our identity as human beings. Everything about who we are is informed by our sexuality. What this means for sex addicts is that their compulsive sexual behaviors are not only creating a profound physiological response, but also a profound emotional, psychological and spiritual response as sex is used to affirm their sense of identity, self-worth, and desirability.

Sex addiction is very powerful because the sexual experience not only medicates painful feelings but also serves as a healing balm for the addict’s spiritual and emotional wounds. Recovery from sexual addiction requires the addict to address their sense of identity and the wounds that they have been trying to heal with sex.

Third, the source is always available. While a person addicted to a substance must go find the substance, pick it up and ingest it, a sex addict, through their mind, has a ready source available all the time, in any situation. Because sex addicts carry the source of their addiction with them, they have to work both on their outward sexual behaviors as well as what they do in the privacy of their own minds.

For more information or help call: 561-501-1725 or email:

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