At Stellar Pro, we use the most up to date language when discussing sexual health. That’s why, you’ll see us using the words Problem Sexual Behavior or Out of Control Sexual Behavior instead of “Sex Addiction” or “Sex Addiction Therapy”. Stellar Pros who are certified in Problem Sexual Behavior are here to help you with compassionate therapy.
History of “Sex Addiction” or Problem Sexual Behavior
The term “sex addiction” is controversial as it is based on questionable research and subjective moral judgements. Things such as consuming pornography, masturbation, and having a high libido were all ways to get yourself labeled as a “sex addict”. This creates a false and dangerous narrative that assumes one’s sexuality is unhealthy and uncontrollable. In modern times, perpetuating this myth undermines personal responsibility while continuing to uphold antiquated and unrealistic expectations surrounding sex.
As “sex addiction” was the catch-all for problematic sexual behavior, “sex addiction” treatment was not as regulated as you may expect. Most treatment centers and workbooks focused on the morality aspect without addressing the underlying issues. Prison psychologist Patrick Carnes, published his book Out of the Shadows in 1980. This book let us pear into the lives of his client’s sexual behavior that he deemed “excessive” and “destructive”. This book is what popularized a twelve-step program, like Alcoholics Anonymous, as a way to cure “sex addicts”. While there is no doubting his book helped some, the book helped to uphold the idea that sex should not be for anything other than reproduction. The reality of these types of treatments is that they perpetuate fear and shame real and healthy desires. As society accepts these ideas, people end up hyper-focusing on the wrong and continue the cycle of suppression. Thus, further alienating people from seeking actual help for their problem sexual behavior.
World-renowned clinical psychologist, Dr. David Ley urges us to shift our focus as educators, therapists, psychologists, and counselors. Shifting our language is one of these necessary steps. That’s why you’ll see Stellar Pro refer to “sex addiction” as problem sexual behavior or out of control sexual behavior. By making these small changes we can help shift the stigma around what people claim to be “sex addiction”. Re-framing these thoughts, feelings, and behavior as normal, healthy relationships with sex.
What is “Sex Addiction” or Problem Sexual Behavior?
Problem sexual behavior is when someone who struggles with their sexual thoughts, choices, or behaviors. Individuals experiencing problem sexual behavior may feel out of control or hopeless. Problem sexual behavior is often a symptom of a larger issue.
Out of control sexual behavior does not have to be harmful to someone else, financially debilitating, or even secretive to be problem sexual behavior. There is no checklist you have to tick all the boxes off on to benefit from problem sexual behavior therapy. If you feel that:
– Sex or sexual thoughts are getting in the way of everyday life;
– You feel shameful about your sex-life;
– Believe you are masturbating too much;
– You or your partner(s) worry about spending a large part of income on pornography;
– Concerns over sex-drug linked activities;
– Infidelity due to problem sexual behavior;
You may benefit from “sex addiction” therapy. Problem sexual behavior therapy can benefit anybody regardless of: age, socioeconomic level, gender and sexual identity, family structure, living circumstances, cultural groups, or education level.
What causes “sex addiction” or Problem Sexual Behavior?
As you learned previously, the term “sex addiction” is controversial as it is based on questionable research and subjective moral judgements. As such, you cannot have a cause for a problem that does not exist. What does exist is problem sexual behavior.
Problem sexual behavior is sometimes a symptom of another major mental health disorder such as anxiety and depression. It can also be because of family, religion, society and cultural beliefs. Problem sexual behavior clients think that if they enjoy sex and porn “too much” that they have out of control sexual behavior.
There is a strong link between individuals who are religious and believing they have a “sex addiction”. Some case examples include:
– A 42-year old male who was masturbating to heterosexual porn on a daily basis. His minister assured him this was unhealthy and an addiction. This resulted in him seeking treatment for “sex addiction”.
– A 56-year old male had been diagnosed as a “sex addict” for seeking monthly casual sex. This was due to immense feelings of guilt as that type of sexual relationship conflicted with his Catholic beliefs.
– An 18-year old male had concerns about weekly masturbation. He was raised in a highly religious family that taught him that any masturbation was unhealthy, dangerous, and immoral.
These issues were all related to other underlying issues that were uncovered during therapy. While studies show that the “sex addiction” label was largely applied to white, heterosexual, male Christian’s (with very high rates of Mormon) this religious values conflict is present in many conservative religious traditions.
Some patients use problem sexual behavior as a coping mechanism to treat an underlying mental health disorder. This includes anxiety and depression. If you find yourself using sex to treat your anxiety and depression it may be time to talk to a certified problem sexual behavior professional.
Stellar Pro makes it easy to find a certified problem sexual behavior professional. By working with a certified problem sexual behavior professional, you can uncover the true issues that are causing problem sexual behavior.
Why is it important that my therapist is certified in Problem Sexual Behavior?
Finding a certified problem sexual behavior therapist ensures that when you’re ready to talk about your out of control sexual behavior that your therapist is equipped to handle your issue.
Therapists certified in Problem Sexual Behavior are trained to:
– Assist patients in identifying the moral and religious values and conflicts that underline many out of control sexual behaviors.
– Assess and identify problem sexual behaviors that post a risk to others while developing appropriate referrals and treatment strategies.
– Assist patients with developing and communication sexual needs, discrepancies, and desires mismatches within their relationships.
– Provide affirmative, evidence-based care that embraces sexual diversity that helps patients understand and integrate sexual desires that have suffered social stigma.
– Promote development and growth of positive coping skills, support networks, and personal resources to enhance a patients’ motivation for change.
– Assess and treat, when appropriate, issues related to problematic use of sexually explicit material via mindfulness, personal responsibility, and negotiation skills.
– This list is not exhaustive but gives you an idea of what a certified problem sexual behavior therapist can help with.
Stellar Pro has professionals experienced in “sex addiction” or problem sexual behavior. A Stellar Pro who has submitted verification of their training in problem sexual behavior will have a badge on their profile.
What can I expect from Problem Sexual Behavior therapy or “Sex Addiction Therapy”?
Problem sexual behavior is sometimes a symptom of a major mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or a sexual disorder, but there can be other reasons. A “sex addiction” therapist will examine you as a whole person which includes: family, religious upbringing, society and cultural content. By examining you as a whole person, a problem sexual behavior therapist can work towards finding the underlying cause of your out of control sexual behavior.
Problem sexual behavior therapists are not here to judge you or your life choices. As trained professionals their goal is to assess, assist, and identify problem sexual behaviors with the goal of their patient feeling more comfortable with their sexual behavior and thoughts.
“Sex addiction” therapy can be online or in-person.
What benefits can I expect from “Sex Addiction Therapy” or Problem Sexual Behavior therapy?
Each patient is unique. Some benefits you may experience are:
– By tossing-off the label of “sex/porn addict” you may feel less shame surrounding your own sexual desires and needs.
– Gaining a deeper connection with your partner(s).
– Finding more financial security if your problem sexual behavior was monetary related.
– Treatment of a previously untreated mental health disorder – such as anxiety.
– A newfound freedom to explore your sexuality.
We cannot list all the benefits of problem sexual behavior therapy. This list is here to give you a brief idea of what some patients have experienced. If there is a specific outcome you are looking for, it is worth discussing your expectations with a certified problem sexual behavior therapist.
Do I need Therapy for Sex Addiction?
At Stellar Pro, problem sexual behavior therapy is for anyone who feels they could benefit from it. Out of control sexual behavior does not have to be harmful to someone else, financially debilitating, or even secretive to be problem sexual behavior. There is no checklist you have to tick all the boxes off on to benefit from problem sexual behavior therapy. Some common reasons people seek “sex addiction” therapy include:
– Believe they are masturbating too much.
– Amount of pornography consumed.
– Sexual encounters that may differ from what they were taught was “normal”.
– Relationship conflicts over type and frequency of sex.
– Sex-drug linked behaviors.
– Seeking relations outside of a partnership.
– Talking to a professional certified in problem sexual behavior can help you navigate your feelings and help you understand yourself on a deeper level.
You may even uncover an underlying major mental health disorder or that is causing your out of control sexual behavior. By treating that, you may find other mental health benefits unrelated to your problem sexual behavior.
Can Problem Sexual Behavior therapy help me with behaviors that pose a risk to others?
It can be difficult to admit you have a problem sexual behavior that poses a risk to others. Finding a certified problem sexual behavior therapist is the first step to addressing these behaviors.
A certified problem sexual behavior therapist will not judge you. They will work with you to assess and identify your problem sexual behaviors and develop appropriate referrals and treatment strategies.
Can people who identify as female benefit from Problem Sexual Behavior therapy?
90-95% of individuals who are diagnosed with “sex addiction” identify as male. Half of those individuals are white, heterosexual, religious, married, and who are middle to upper class in income. But, this does not mean that this is only a diagnosis for males. Problem sexual behavior therapy can benefit anybody. Regardless of: age, socioeconomic level, gender and sexual identity, family structure, living circumstances, cultural groups, or education level.
Many clients discover during therapy that their problem sexual behavior is related to a deeper, untreated issue. Sometimes this issue is a previously held belief that needs reevaluation. Other times it is more serious such as untreated depression.
Do I need to be a “sex addict” to benefit from Problem Sexual Behavior therapy?
The term “sex addict” is commonly accepted by modern society without any thought about what “sex addict” really means. People often self-diagnose themselves as a “sex addict” because of what they or their partner(s) read or saw in the media. By giving yourself this label, new research indicates that you are likely increasing your own pain and suffering. Despite the media putting the term “sex addict” on a pedestal, it lacks credibility and scientific understanding.
If you find yourself self-identifying with the term “sex addict” you may benefit from problem sexual behavior therapy to understand why you identify with this label. Is it because of what a partner or partners said? An article you read? Or could it be tied to your religious beliefs or family?
Once you have uncovered the deeper reason(s) for identifying as a “sex addict” you may find benefit in finding a therapist certified to help in other ways – such as treating anxiety or depression.
Why should I choose Stellar Pro to find a certified Problem Sexual Behavior professional?
Stellar Pro is the only directory that verifies and highlights clinicians’ advanced training and expertise. We make it easy to find a professional that specializes in problem sexual behavior. When you find a professional on Stellar Pro you are assured that you are matching with somebody who is trained to help you in problem sexual behavior.