It’s Official: Compulsive Sexual Behavior (Sex Addiction) Gets a Diagnosis

At some point in 2018, the World Health Organization will release the latest version of its International Classification of Diseases (the ICD-11). Rumors suggest the book will publish over the summer, but the WHO’s official statement only says, “the final ICD-11 will be released in 2018.” Thus, it could be any time between now and the end of the year.

If you’re unfamiliar with the ICD and its importance, I’ll simply say that it’s the...


Addiction Is an Intimacy Disorder

Addiction and Early-Life Trauma

Addicts are people who’ve lost control over their relationship with a substance or behavior. They use when they don’t want to. They use when they have promised themselves and others they will stop. They use when it pushes them away from family, friends, and other important people. They use when it impacts their work, schooling, finances, reputation, freedom, etc. They tell egregious lies to themselves and others to rationalize and justify their actions. They...


When Online Sex Sparks Meth Addiction…

A few months ago I had the pleasure of speaking at a Meth and Sex Addiction public forum in Palm Springs, CA. The three-person panel—myself, David Fawcett, and Terry Gatewood—spoke to an attentive and participatory audience of around 100 addicts and clinicians about the...

Hypersexual Disorders

Five FACTS About Porn

Today, digital pornography is a hot topic. Very hot.

Beliefs and opinions about porn’s availability, use, and effects abound, but facts are relatively scarce. There are pro-porn factions who think porn is great for sex and relationships; the more the better. At the same time,...


Working with Partners of Sex Addicts: An Interview with Dr. Barbara Steffens

My friend and colleague, Dr. Barbara Steffens, has specialized in the treatment and coaching of sex addicts and the betrayed partners of sex addicts since 1999. During that time, she has conducted groundbreaking research on the trauma that betrayed partners experience, and she has written an excellent (and highly recommended) book on the topic, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal. Dr. Steffens is also a founding member and current President of APSATS: The Association of Partners and...


Debunking Myths About Sexual Addiction

At the age of 20, Steven came out as gay to his highly religious parents. As members of a very conservative sect, they struggled to accept his “choice” as “normal,” and they decided to seek advice from their pastor. Unfortunately, their pastor, a trained and licensed pastoral counselor, suggested “sex addiction treatment” with another therapist in their religious community. In this treatment, Steven was given a variety of highly homophobic tasks to complete—participating in...


Keeping Your Addicted Clients Focused in the New Year

As any therapist knows, the beginning of the year is when a lot of new clients show up, and when a lot of old clients decide to get serious about the work they’ve been doing. They seem to view the new year as a great time for a fresh start. This is especially true with addicts. Unfortunately, an addicted client’s enthusiasm for recovery can wane as quickly as our own resolutions to go to the gym...


With Sex Addiction, Sobriety Looks Different for Every Addict

There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about sexual addiction, much of which centers around the way in which “sexual sobriety” is (and is not) defined. For starters, a lot of people, including some underinformed therapists, think that clinicians who treat sex addiction dictate to their clients what is and is not healthy, which would leave the definition of sexual sobriety open to the clinician’s personal, moral, and/or religious views about what sex should look...

Intimacy & Fidelity

Infidelity and “Gaslighting:” When Cheaters Flip the Script

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where one partner persistently denies the reality of the other partner (via consistent lying, bullying, and obfuscating the facts), causing that person, over time, to doubt her (or his) perception of truth, facts, and reality. Some people may be familiar with this term thanks to Gaslight, the 1944 Oscar winning film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.