Sex addicts in recovery from sex addiction can still continue to have sex in their recovery. Sex addiction recovery does include abstinence. Many treatment programs and twelve step programs advocate abstinence for at least six months. What that abstinence entails, however, is up to the individual in recovery and most often their therapist as well as sponsor.
Even with sex addiction, no two people are alike. The sexual behaviors one person used to act out will not necessarily be the same as the ones other person used to act out. Therefore, there is no generalized definition of what abstinence from sex and sex-addictive behaviors should look like. Sex Addicts Anonymous explains, “Most of us have no desire to stop being sexual altogether. It is not sex in and of itself that causes us problems, but the addiction to certain sexual behaviors.” All of sex and any idea of sex might not be the issue in someone’s sex addiction. This approach is unique to sex addiction because sex is a natural part of life. Alcohol is a choice. Drugs are a choice. Even gambling is a luxury. Sex, however, is a form of bonding, reproduction, and human activity for survival. Some people do choose to remain completely abstinent from sexual activity. However, many people to find that not to be sustainable. Unlike alcoholism or drug addiction in which a person truly cannot have just one drink or drug, people with sex addiction can have healthy sexual interactions. What they learn to do through therapy, treatment, and working the steps of twelve step programs like SAA is decide which behaviors are the ones they can participate in and which ones are not.
SAA uses a three ring model to illustrate this. An inner circle, a middle circle, and an outer circle, help highlight the sexual behaviors which are manageable and the sexual behaviors which lead to the behaviors of someone’s addiction. The inner circle represents the behaviors which have been decided should absolutely be abstained from. The middle circle is designated for the trigger behaviors, the ones which could be managed but will likely lead to acting out sexually. Lastly, the outer circle includes the healthy behaviors which positively contribute to sex addiction recovery.
Sex addiction is often co-occurring with substance abuse. Avalon By The Sea offers residential treatment programs for dual diagnosis sex addiction and substance abuse. Our primary mental health treatment facility complements or primary substance abuse facility, creating a quality dual diagnosis treatment program. Call us today for a confidential assessment and more information: 888-958-7511