What is Sex Addiction?

"Knowing you are a sex addict doesn’t mean you are bad or perverted or hopeless. It means you may have a disease, an obsession from which many have healed."

     - Dr. Patrick Carnes

If you believe that you need help for your addictive sexual behavior, help is available. There are over 10 SAA meetings in the North Bay each week that you are welcome to attend in order to see if our program is right for you. 

On our resources page, you can find books and pamphlets that many of us have found useful getting started in recovery.

If you aren’t sure that a meeting is right for you and would like to talk with someone, please email use the form below to contact us. Somebody will get back to you within a day or two.

Sex Addiction can involve a wide variety of practices. Sometimes an addict has trouble with just one unwanted behavior, sometimes with many. A large number of sex addicts say their unhealthy use of sex has been a progressive process. It may have started with an addiction to masturbation, pornography (either printed or electronic), or a relationship, but over the years progressed to increasingly dangerous behaviors.

The essence of all addiction is the addicts’ experience of powerlessness over a compulsive behavior, resulting in their lives becoming unmanageable. The addict is out of control and experiences tremendous shame, pain and self-loathing. The addict may wish to stop — yet repeatedly fails to do so. The unmanageability of addicts’ lives can be seen in the consequences they suffer: losing relationships, difficulties with work, arrests, financial troubles, a loss of interest in things not sexual, low self-esteem and despair.

Sexual preoccupation takes up tremendous amounts of energy. As this increases for the sex addict, a pattern of behavior (or rituals) follows, which usually leads to acting out (for some it is flirting, searching the net for pornography, or driving to the park.) When the acting out happens, there is a denial of feelings usually followed by despair and shame or a feeling of hopelessness and confusion.


For those questioning if they struggle with sex addiction, many of us have found it helpful to take a free online assessment called the sexual addiction screening test (SAST).


For more information, we recommend visiting the ISO of SAA's website.


© ISO of SAA, Inc.

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