Specializing in the Treatment of 
Intimacy Disorders, Sex and Love Addiction, 
Trauma and Healing

Sex Addiction

Sex addiction is a persistent and escalating pattern or patterns of sexual behaviors acted out despite increasingly negative consequences to self or others.  

Sex addiction is often referred to as Hypersexuality Disorder or Sexually Compulsive Disorder, however all signal the same repetitive behaviors that may reflect sex addiction including: 

  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Simultaneous affairs
  • Repeated sequential affairs
  • Pornography
  • Cyber-sex, phone sex, sexting
  • Massage parlors
  • Multiple anonymous partners
  • Unsafe sexual activity
  • Partner sexualization
  • Partner objectification
  • Strip clubs and adult bookstores
  • Sexual aversion
  • Prostitution


New England Recovery Associates (NERA) Addiction Recovery Experts Specializing in the Treatment of Sex & Love Addiction

Sex Addiction

Like any disorder, we as therapists use a set of criteria to determine if there is indeed an issue that needs to be addressed.  Below is a simple set of questions called PATHOS that helps you determine whether you should take the next step in seeking professional help:

Preoccupied
Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?

Ashamed
Do you hide some of your sexual behavior from others?

Treatment
Have you ever sought therapy for sexual behavior you did not like?

Hurt others
Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?

Out of control
Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire?

Sad
When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards?

What Is Sex Addiction?

Dr. Patrick Carnes, founder of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) has defined the criteria for sex addiction as follows:

  • Recurrent failure to resist sexual impulses in order to engage in specific sexual behaviors
  • Frequently engaging in those behaviors to a greater extent or over a longer period of time than intended
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce, or control those behaviors
  • Inordinate amounts of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences
  • Preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities
  • Frequent engaging in the behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations
  • Continuation of the behavior despite knowledge of having a per-sistent or recurrent social, financial, psychological, or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the behavior
  • The need to increase the intensity, frequency, number, or risk level of behaviors in order to achieve the desired effect; or diminished effect with continued behaviors at the same level of intensity, frequency, number, or risk
  • Giving up or limiting social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the behavior
  • Distress, anxiety, restlessness, or irritability if unable to engage in the behavior

In addition, there are 20 collateral indicators which assist in the assessment of sexual addiction. A minimum of six criteria must be met.

  • Has severe consequences because of sexual behavior
  • Meets the criteria for depression and it appears related to sexually acting out
  • Meets the criteria for depression and it appears related to sexual aversion
  • Reports history of sexual abuse
  • Reports history of physical abuse
  • Reports history of emotional abuse
  • Describes sexual life in self-medicating terms (intoxicating, tension relief, pain reliever, sleep aid)
  • Reports persistent pursuit of high-risk or self-destructive behavior
  • Reports sexual arousal to high-risk or self-destructive behavior is extremely high compared to safe sexual behavior
  • Meets diagnostic criteria for other addictive disorders
  • Simultaneously uses sexual behavior in concert with other addictions (gambling, eating disorders, substance abuse, alcohol-ism, compulsive spending) to the extent that the desired effect is not achieved without sexual activity and/or other addiction(s) pre-sent
  • Has history of deception around sexual behavior
  • Reports other members of the family are addicts
  • Expresses extreme self-loathing because of sexual behavior
  • Has intimate relationships that are not sexual
  • Is in crisis because of sexual matters
  • Has history of crisis around sexual behavior
  • Experiences diminished pleasure for same sexual experiences
  • Comes form a “rigid” family
  • Comes from a “disengaged” family
Sex Addiction

Please read the latest on sex addiciton from the New York Times; this information is updated constantly, so please check back often: 

Call 855-900-NERA

Our Locations

Serving NE Massachusetts,
New Hampshire & Maine

435 Newbury Street, Suite 202
Danvers, MA 019235

23A Atkinson Street
Dover, NH 03820

Serving Greater Boston, The South Shore to Cape Cod, and Northern Rhode Island

160 Old Derby Street, Suite 266
Hingham, MA  02043

40 Tremont Street, Suite 63 
Duxbury, MA 02332

1445 Wampanoag Trail, Suite 108A, Riverside, RI 02915

Serving the Boston
Metropolitan Area

21 Randolph Street
Arlington, MA  02474

114 Waltham Street, Suite 21
Lexington, MA 02421

South/Central Massachusetts,
Rhode Island and Northern Connecticut

45 Lyman Street, Suite 21
Westborough, MA 01581  02474

Our Clinicians

Jodi Conway, LADC, MAC, CSAT-s
James Bailey, LMHC, CADC II, CSAT
Sarah Doebler, LICSW, CSAT
Vincent Duffy, LICSW, CSAT
Aliki Pishev, LICSW, BDC
Moses J. Calouro, LCDP, ASAT
Robert M. Mello, Jr., LICSW, CSAT, EMDR II


 Sex Addiction FAQs