When a person’s sexual appetite and behavior is causing them distress or is affecting their personal, professional or family life, it may be time to seek treatment. Sex addiction therapy is a type of psychotherapy designed to help people overcome their desire and compulsive thoughts around sexual activity and learn healthier coping skills.
For many, the urge to engage in sexual activities is a response to feelings of loneliness or shame, anxiety or depression. Childhood trauma can also play a role in these types of triggers, as well as an attempt to self-medicate feelings of emotional or physical pain. Ultimately, these feelings are often indicative of deeper psychological issues that can be treated through sex addiction therapy.
Treatment for sex addiction is similar to other mental health conditions, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relapse prevention therapy and psychodynamic therapy. It is often recommended to combine these treatment modalities for the best results in recovery.
During sex addiction therapy, the individual is taught how to recognize triggers and develop new coping strategies. They are also able to better understand their motivations for engaging in sexual behaviors and why they do so. For example, they will learn that the pleasure they receive from sex is not as satisfying as they originally believed.
There is currently no medication specifically developed to treat sex addiction, but medications that affect hormones and other chemical reactions in the brain can be prescribed off-label for this condition. For instance, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and anti-androgens can be helpful in reducing obsessive sexual thoughts and behaviors.