Sex addiction came under controversial spotlight last year as experts gave a hefty weight on on the validity of the issue as an actual addiction or not. Sex addiction, in addition to porn addiction and other kinds of sexual compulsions, experts argues, is not a valid disorder. In fact, some claimed that using the word ‘addiction’ to describe issues with regulating sexual activity wasn’t fair at all.

sex addiction shame

Few peer reviewed neuroimaging studies exist attempting to prove the validity of sex as an addiction in the brain. However, many studies investigating the personal experiences of those who believe they struggle with sex addiction reveals the same ultimate powerlessness over their compulsive coping mechanism as anyone who abuses drugs and alcohol.


Criticism is often given to the idea of sex addiction because of the way that it is used as a plea of self-defense, so to speak. Many celebrities or persons of spotlight use the claim of being a “sex addict” after they are caught cheating by their spouses or other people in public. Most recently, heavy metal rock star icon Ozzy Osbourne came out admitting he was a long time sex addict and wanted to seek treatment for his issue. Soon thereafter he admitted he was lying and that he was just a “rock star”, not a sex addict.

Addiction comes with a lot of shame and stigma, when it is an addiction of any kind. New York Magazine examined the use of shame in therapeutically treating sex addiction in the article “Should Shame Be Used To Treat Sexual Compulsions”. The author differentiates the difference between therapists who use shame based techniques and therapists who use harm reduction. Harm reduction is typically for therapists who do not believe in the addiction model of sexual compulsion. However, for those therapists who do believe in the addiction model, shame is a necessity at a healthy level. The article cites: “Sex addicts need to feel some shame about what they’re doing, because they are shameless.” Shamelessness is a characterization that could be applied to just about any addiction disorder. Rather than directly shame someone to feel badly about themselves and their current compulsive situation, which would be unethical, shame can be utilized as a tool for reflection to investigate the consequences of one’s sexual compulsions. Asking patients questions like what effect they think their sexual behaviors have on their spouses or children, for example, “…challenges them to see what they’re doing, and it brings them into the reality of their behavior.”

Aurora Recovery Center understands that becoming powerless over any compulsion can lead to a compromised quality of life which is damaging to you and to those around you. If you are experiencing a problem controlling your sexual compulsions and are interested in seeking treatment, call us today. We are here to light the way to recovery, from any issue. 844-515-STOP.


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