What You Need to Know About Sex Addiction

Get the scoop from an addiction expert.

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An Inside Look at Sex Rehab Group Therapy (1:55)

On the show today, we spoke with addiction expert and interventionist Brad Lamm, to learn more about sex addiction, rehab, and the different types of addicts. In the wake of the Hollywood sex scandals that are making the front page of newspapers every day, we wanted to get a better understanding of a subject that is often hidden away and misinterpreted. Read on to learn more about what Lamm had to say.  

More: Is Therapy for Sex Addiction Real or a PR Stunt? 

Types of Sex Addicts 

1. Compulsive Sex Addict - A person who has compulsive sexual behaviors that they don't want or need to have but can't help but have. These compulsions often cost them their relationships at home, at work, and with friends. 

2. Secondary Sex Addict - Someone who is addicted to cocaine, meth, etc, and eventually becomes addicted to sex. Also referred to as chem sex addicts, they often mix those drugs with viagra to achieve an erection. This creates a cycle of drugs and sex that can last a couple of days or over a week depending on the individual, and once that period is over the addict is often full of regret and remorse and falls into depression and anxiety because their dopamine levels are depleted.

3. Sexual Predator - Someone for whom consent is not a necessity, who abuses power, takes part in inappropriate touching, coercive sex, and sex with the promise of money, career advancement, and/or mentoring. There are two degrees of sexual predators worth distinguishing: the first commit crimes that are non-consensual and involve a degree of victimization, such as flashing, voyeurism, and indecent phone calls. The other types commit criminal behaviors like rape, child sex abuse, etc.

Sex Addiction Overlap 

As Lamm explains, often once you've crossed a certain line, it makes it easier to cross others. So a chem sex addict may have predatory inclinations that they begin acting upon over time. Crossing the line can mean anything from grabbing somebody without consent, getting them drunk or high and then touching them inappropriately without consent, or raping them. 

More: The Dangers of Porn Addiction

Rates of Treatment Success

1. Pedophile Treatment - For pedophiles, there is a low rate of treatment success, somewhere around two percent. Chemical castration is often offered as a means of recovery but a full-on recovery is not always guaranteed.

2. Chem Sex Addict treatment - If chem sex addicts fully commit to treatment, which means following the required steps and avoiding sexual thoughts and behaviors, there is a 50 percent rate of success.

3. Predator treatment - As Lamm explains, there is not a lot of clear-cut data on treatment success for predators, their behavior is tied in with violence and power.

What to Expect from Sex Rehab 

Traditional rehab is not a few hours a day, here and there. If someone is fully committing themselves to therapy, they often go to a "sleep-away" center, where they are told to leave everything behind (no personal items, no cell phones, computers, etc), and sign a contract where they agree to "abstinence between the ears", which means avoiding fantasies and also avoiding any sexual conduct of any kind. A typical program will last 30-90 days, and once it is completed, the members will check in with their peers via an online support group and have after-care and case management offered to them as well. 

Where to Get More Information

To learn more about sex addiction treatment, you can get more info here. To learn more about interventions, click here

More: The Facts on Interventions