Sexual Addiction Terminology

If you suspect you’re a sex addict or you’re concerned that someone you know may be a sex addict, this information can help:

Sexual Addiction Terminology

People can become easily confused by the terminology used to explain sexual addiction. Since terms like sex addict, sexaholic, Internet sex addict, porn addict, sexual compulsive, and love addict are all so similar, they can easily confuse someone wishing to better understand these hypersexual disorders and work toward healing.

For the wife who wants to learn how to tell if her husband is a sex addict or the parent concerned about a teenager’s involvement with Internet porn, the terminology itself may be less important than how the sexual behavior problem affects the individual’s life priorities.

In general, sex addicts tend to have compulsive and repetitive sexual patterns whereas love addicts tend to use relationships and sexual affairs to achieve similar levels of emotional intensity and distraction.

Sexaholic, sex addict and sexual compulsive are interchangeable terms that only serve to indicate which 12-step program the person attends, more than the specific problem they experience. Taking the sex addict quiz will further clarify whether or not the individual’s problem is of real concern.

12-Step Support for Sex Addicts

To clarify, but hopefully not confuse the reader further, people attending Sexaholics Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings consider themselves sex addicts. People attending Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meetings consider themselves sex and love addicts. Those attending Sexual Compulsives Anonymous meetings refer to themselves as sexual compulsives.

Women sex addicts can be found at all of these support groups, but in general women do best in meetings where men are not in attendance.

Someone with an Internet sex problem is best served by attending whatever group best reflects the nature of his or her particular behavior. However, none of this is particularly meaningful unless people attend consistently and fully involve themselves in the process offered there. This means attending meetings three or more times weekly at the beginning, getting a sponsor and taking the typical 12-step service commitments.

For the sex addict, help is available if he or she is willing to reach out for it and stick with an unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable process.

Support for a Spouse or Partner

Different types of support are suggested to help the spouses and partners of sex addicts. These recommendations range from seeing a therapist or clergy member, to reaching out to non-judgmental loved-ones for help, to attending 12-step groups like COSA, S-Anon, CODA and Alanon. These groups exist specifically to help guide the sex addict’s spouse or partner whose life has been affected by the addict’s problem behavior.

While the problem of sexual addiction in a family member or loved one can feel shameful and humiliating, the support groups available to spouses and partners are extremely welcoming and offer a great deal of hope to those courageous enough to show up.

From shame & pain to resilience & joy.

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