Several types of treatments for sex addiction are available. Unlike treatment programs for drug or alcohol addiction, the goal of treatments for sex addiction is not to promote abstinence. Instead, sex addicts learn how to have healthier sexual relationships. It is the compulsive sexual acting out that the addict must stop, and in the early stages of treatment, many programs encourage the addict to refrain from any kind of sexual activity. The abstinence portion of the program may last for two or three months.
Since people who live with a sex addiction have trouble setting appropriate boundaries in their personal relationships, a good place to start in the recovery process is to work with a therapist on an individual basis. This example of treatments for sex addiction can take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis. One advantage of inpatient treatment is that the sex addict is able to get away from being constantly bombarded by sexual images. He or she will be in an environment where the opportunity to act out sexually is simply not available.
Through one-on-one counseling, the sex addict starts to understand the reasons for their choices. From there, they can start to work on a plan to change their sexual behaviors. The role of the therapist is also to hold the sex addict accountable for his or her choices going forward.
Once the addict feels more comfortable in treatment, they can participate in group therapy sessions. During group therapy, participants are encouraged to share their relationship and sexual concerns with fellow members. By talking and listening, the participants are able to learn better ways of relating to other people and how to have more healthy sexual relationships. Group therapy may last for several months to over a year or more, to give participants time to deal with their feelings of guilt and shame surrounding their past behavior.