Counseling Alliance LLC
Changing Lives, Healing Relationships

About Addiction

Discover the differences in sex, porn, and love addiction as well as helpful information about the science behind addiction and treatment options.  

Explore the links below to learn about our approach to working with sex, porn, and love addiction. 

Sex Addiction in the News:

Click on the links below for recent news items regarding sex addiction. 

 
 
 

Is Sex Addiction Real?

Many will argue that sex addiction is not a "real" addiction and just an excuse for bad behavior. We have gathered some of the best evidence of the addictive qualities of sex and porn. Be informed.

https://www.iitap.com/blog/ The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) is the organization through which Counseling Alliance LLC therapists have received their training and certification. The link provided will provide helpful information about the evidence for sex and porn as addictions. 

https://www.sash.net/sexual-addiction-and-compulsivity-research-bibliography/ This link takes you to an exhaustive list of academic journal articles and reports that demonstrate a scientific basis for sex addiction.  In most cases, you will have access only to the Abstract, unless you either pay for the article or can access the article though a library. 

https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/brain-scan-studies-porn-users. This link points to Gary Wilson's website www.yourbrainonpron.com. He provides an exhaustive list of the studies assessing the brain structure and functioning of Internet porn users. This site is also a helpful source for information to talk with teens about he dangers of porn. 

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) provides a definition of addiction on it's website. Addiction is thought of in terms of two categories (Substance and Process). Substances are taken into the body through some means: alcohol, drugs, etc. Process addictions are behaviors such as: shopping, eating, and sex.  In ASAM's Long Definition of Addiction sex is listed among other addictions that described as, "a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry." See the full definition here.  

It is also worth noting that the American Society of Addiction Medicine  describes the characteristics of addiction (in general, not just sex addiction) as:

  1. Inability to consistently Abstain;
  2. Impairment in Behavioral control;
  3. Craving; or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences;
  4. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships; and
  5. A dysfunctional Emotional response.

 

There are more articles, links to external sites, and videos on the Resources page. 


 

What is the Impact of Children and Teens Viewing Porn?

The average age of boys viewing porn for the first time is eleven. We find this often happens earlier if there is an older sibling, or an adult in the home who uses pornography. The pre-teen mind is not prepared for the content of pornography. Today's porn is much different than that of a generation ago. It is high quality video and very graphic. Pornography today is also very often violent, degrading to women, and unrealistic in its presentation. 

Habitual use of pornography has long and lasting results including a faulty view of what healthy sex is, disrespect for women, can lead to physical problems such as "Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction" (PIED). 

The minds of children and teens are still developing. Science is now warning teens about the dangers of porn that can have lifelong consequences.  

Gary Willson, author, speaker, and therapist has a website with a lot of good information about the impact of long-term pornography use.It is well worth checking out; Your Brain on Porn Website

Click here to view a powerful emotional video appeal for fathers to join the fight to protect their home and children from the damaging influences of porn. video produced by Forest Benedict who is also the author of Life After Lust.

http://pornographyaddiction.com/ This site is managed by a team of anonymous individuals that have struggled with porn addiction and desire to help others overcome the vice as well. They have partnered with several professionals in the field of addiction to provide you with professionally written content. There are articles, videos, and a forum that can be useful in overcoming porn addiction.

Dr. Gail Dines describes herself as scholar, activist, and social critic. She is the author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality. She is frank and pulls no punches when she talks about the impact of pornography on our culture. She has several helpful articles and videos available on her website but do be forewarned. Some of her language and photos are graphic and may be deemed objectionable by some. View here TED Talk here.

Dr Dines has a recent post on The Conversation website entitled "Parents need to start talking to their tweens about the risks of porn." If you have children in the home this is an important article. Please note: there is an Editor's note warning readers, "This article includes references to graphic sexual content that may be inappropriate for some readers." While the language is frank, it is nothing close to what teens see and read online. As such, we believe it is important that parents be informed. Read the article.


 

Differences Between Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction

sex addiction

Put simply, sex addiction is out of control sexual behavior that many range from affairs, one-night stands, anonymous sex, the hiring of escorts, and other behavior of a physical nature. 

Discover more about how to define sex addiction at psychcentral.com

There are more articles, links to external sites, and videos on the Resources page. 

 

 

porn addiction

The behavior of an individual struggling with porn addiction primarily involves viewing pornography and is generally accompanied with masturbation.  This may be print, computer based, mobile devices (very common these days), or purchased material (DVDs, etc.). Since the explosive growth of the Internet, pornography has often been spoken of in terms of the AAA Effect. Pornography is thought of as Affordable, Accessable, and Anonymous. What was once only accessable in "seedy storefronts" with painted windows is now freely obtained in the privacy of one's home, office, or mobile device. Anonymity is assumed by many people, but Internet traffic is far from anonymous. (This is a topic for a blog post at some later date. For now, consider an article in Time Magazine that dispells the myth of anonymity.) 

 

 

Love addiction

Love addiction is essentially a perceived a need to have a person (pretty much always) in one's life that is fulfilling needs for validation, respect, emotional intimacy, and sex. These individuals often "bounce" from one relationship to another, have multiple relationships going on at one time, and relationships often end once the "new" has worn off.

Addiction.com has a good description of how love addiction is diagnosed as well as the problems it can cause in a person's life. 

It is important to note that sex, porn, and love addiction over co-exist and overlap. Discover more, as well as videos and recommended books on the Resources page.


treatment options

Counseling Alliance provides multiple options for treatment of compulsive sexual behaviors, such as those described above, as well as treatment for the partners of those struggling with those behaviors. We have individual and group options for the person with the addiction as well as for the partner and age appropriate support for children in the home who have become aware of a family member's behavior. We also offer our JUMPSTART TO HEALING (TM) programs for addicts, partners, and couples. Click below to explore the options.