Jeremy Tomlinson  M.Ed., R.M.F.T., R.S.W., EMDRIA Certified

Individual, Couple and Family Therapy, Sex Therapy, EMDR

Sexual Addiction

Although sex and sexuality are a normal part of life, for some people sexual behaviour can become compulsive and/or self-destructive. Sometimes people’s sexual behaviour feels out of control or unmanageable. If this is the case, often it is affecting other aspects of the person’s life (home, work, school, family, financial) and the person is working to conceal the behaviour. Secrecy and lies often become a habit for people dealing with a sexual addiction.

A sexual addiction may take a variety of forms. These might include:

  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Compulsively viewing sexual or pornographic images
  • Compulsive searching for sexual partners either on the internet or in public
  • Having chronic affairs
  • Frequent visits to massage parlours or other sex workers

Many people who are dealing with a sexual addiction are survivors of childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

A person’s sexual behaviour becomes problematic when:

  • They would rather engage in acting out behaviour than socialize with friends and family or do other activities
  • They feel the need to hide their sexual behaviour
  • People have a sense of “lost time” or “missing time” because of their sexual acting out OR hours pass during the acting out without the person noticing
  • The person puts himself/herself in dangerous situations during the acting out behaviour
  • The person is not making mindful choices during their sexual interactions. For example, making an intentional choice whether to wear a condom, or whether to discuss with partners whether to use condoms.
  • The person is feeling out of control

Most people benefit from a combination of individual and group counselling to deal with sexual addiction. With some people I have used EMDR to manage cravings to act out sexually.