Tips for managing a sex addiction

Sex Addiction - positive peers

By: Ann Avery, MD, Infectious Disease Physician at MetroHealth Medical Center

There’s way too much shaming of people with sex addictions. We’re not about that at Positive Peers. We think everybody should be sex-positive and should never be shamed about their sex lives.

In any case, the trouble with sex addiction is not that it’s shameful — it’s that it can screw up people’s lives.

That’s because it’s an unhealthy obsession. When you’re addicted to sex, you want sex so desperately that you can’t resist staying up all night with internet porn. Or you’re banging that smokin’ guy from the club even though your boyfriend that you love has already given you your millionth last chance.

Sex Addiction - positive peers

What exactly is sex addiction?

Even the scientists who study sex addiction aren’t sure exactly how to define it. But they agree on this: It’s an obsessive sexual urge that disrupts your life. What counts as disruptive? Stuff like:

  • Failing tests at school
  • Missing work or getting fired
  • Betraying the trust of partners, friends, co-workers, and family

Sex is supposed to be consensual, pleasurable, and fun. But your sex life should not run all over the rest of your life — or the lives of the people around you.

Sex Addiction - positive peers

What does sex addiction feel like?

It’s not that much different from addiction to drugs or alcohol:

  • You have a hard time controlling your urges.
  • You obsessively think about sex, porn, and plan for the next “fix.”
  • You’re paying beyond your means for sex workers or porn site memberships.
  • You feel remorse or regret afterward.
  • You wish you could stop and you try to stop, but repeatedly fail.
  • Your compulsion becomes more extreme over time.

Sex addiction is hard to kick because it feels awesome at the time, and the more you have, the more you want and need it, just like heroin or cocaine. But people do get over those addictions, too.


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Is sex addiction curable?

If other people can kick drugs and alcohol, you can kick sex addiction. These steps can help:

  • Face the facts. Before you can heal, it’s important to acknowledge that your sex addiction is disrupting your life.
  • Get counseling. Psychologists and psychiatrists have worked out therapy programs to help people overcome sex addiction. It’s tough to overcome addiction, but professional assistance can help. It’s a good idea to research counselors in your area who specialize in sex addiction. If you’re in Greater Cleveland, check out
  • Find a support group. Your counselor can help you find a group where you can talk out your problems freely and openly, and learn from other people’s experiences. Just knowing you have friends and supporters can be a huge motivator. We suggest checking out SLAA – Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous – it’s a 12-step support group for people with sex addiction. Here’s where to find a meeting in Northeast Ohio / Greater Cleveland:
  • Avoid temptations. Lock yourself out of porn sites on your computer, delete the hookup apps, stay away from clubs where the hotties hang out, and put distance between you and anything else that challenges your sense of self-control.

Sex Addiction - positive peers

It starts with stopping the damage

You might’ve heard the saying that when you’re in a hole, you have to stop digging. Every time you hurt yourself or somebody else with your sex addiction, you’re just getting yourself in deeper.

The first step forward is to face the facts and make up your mind to change. You deserve a healthy sex life, but you also deserve to be free from sexual urges that keep getting you into trouble.

Lots of people are out there waiting to help you out. Some of them are professionals and some are volunteers. And some are friends and family who want you to have a better life.

Letting them help you is another step toward helping yourself.

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