We are committed to helping you navigate your way into recovery.

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a few “Getting Started Guides” - one each for the partner, the addict, and one focusing on the family. You can read the guides or download them in .pdf form.
Download This Info as a PDF

There is a lot of speculation about sex addiction in the media. Some insist it doesn’t exist, others make a great case for sex addiction. No matter what the so-called experts say, we’ve seen it with over 100 clients – compulsive sexual behavior can be difficult to stop and causes significant problems.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version IV (DSM -IV) dependence to substances is characterized by tolerance (needing more to get the same high); withdrawal (yes, this happens with sex and porn); a great deal of time is spent obtaining or using the substance; repeated attempts to cut down or stop; negative impact to social responsibilities, work or career, or financials.

Sex addiction is real and takes many forms. At its core, sex addiction is a struggle with intimacy and emotional regulation - using compulsive sexual behaviors to regulate or escape intense emotions. There is hope - we can help you get on the path to healthy recovery.

Sex addiction is real and takes many forms. At its core, sex addiction is a struggle with intimacy and emotional regulation – using compulsive sexual behaviors to regulate or escape intense emotions. There is hope – we can help you get on the path to healthy recovery.

These may not seem appropriate to sex or pornography, but we assure you they are. Clients repeatedly tell of failed attempts to quit viewing pornography or “this is the last time I’ll cheat on my spouse.” When a client first enters sobriety and stops masturbation they are often surprised by how irritable and frustrated they become after 2 to 3 weeks. This is withdrawal. Not from the act, but from the release of brain chemicals associate with sexuality. We’ve heard stories of people missing 4-6 hours of work per day watching pornography. Sometimes in a work-from-home setting, sometimes at work – on a work computer or a tablet. There are more stories, similarities, and research comparing compulsive sexual behaviors and substance dependence. The bottom line is this: sexual behaviors can become addictive.

Sex addiction is real and takes many forms. At its core, sex addiction is a struggle with intimacy and emotional regulation – using compulsive sexual behaviors to regulate or escape intense emotions. There is hope – we can help you get on the path to healthy recovery.

How do I know if I’m Addicted?

Dr. Patrick Carnes, one of the earliest researchers and psychotherapists who has spent most of his career focusing on sexual addiction developed the Sex Addiction Screening Test- Revised (SAST-R) as a tool for individuals and clinicians. This test has been administered well over 100,000 times and has very good reliability and validity – it measures what it says it measures and it does it over and over again.

The Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) is designed to assist in the assessment of sexually compulsive behavior which may indicate the presence of sex addiction. Developed in cooperation with hospitals, treatment programs, private therapists, and community groups, the SAST-R provides a profile of responses which help to discriminate between addictive and non-addictive behavior. The quiz consists of 20 “yes” or “no” questions. Click the button below to begin.

With the right help and guidance, you can live a rewarding and fulfilling life with healthy sexuality, free of secrets and shame.

At Counseling & Recovery Partners we’d like to help. We have Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) who specialize in helping men and women, addicts and partners, and couples heal from the betrayal and trauma of sexual addiction.

Download This Info as a PDF
You’ve recently discovered your partner’s use of pornography, his or her affair(s), or other compulsive sexual behavior. In addition to a flood of emotions, you may be thinking, “Now what?”

One of the first things we recommend you do is set new boundaries to keep your self emotionally and physically safe. These new boundaries may include no sex, sleeping in separate rooms, time apart, no conversations about the discovery until you have time to process, no major life decisions for a period of time, no uninvited touching, and anything else you need to feel safe. Now is the time to be “healthy selfish” and protect yourself physically and emotionally.You’re probably struggling with a flood of emotions – from anger to shock; from feelings of inadequacy to self-blame; from shame to “why me;” from intense hatred to disbelief; and much more. Some partners report going numb and not feeling or thinking anything.

Healing Heart Zing, by Diane Mattar

Many therapists who work with partners of sex addicts take a “co-dependent” or “co-addict” approach to their treatment. Be careful not to be diagnosed as something you are not. Some, but certainly not all, partners may fall into these categories. Treating your discovery of your partner’s addiction as trauma is a more holistic and appropriate approach.

Image: Healing Heart Zing, by Diane Mattar

Know that if you are having intense emotions of any type this is normal when confronted with such a trauma. And, yes, the discovery of your partner’s infidelity – with another person or through pornography or internet chat rooms – is a trauma. Please do not try to “go it alone” at this point.

Finding a therapist who understands trauma and the impact of sexual addiction on partners is critical. Many CSAT therapists have trauma training and some focus their practices specifically on helping partners heal.

What’s Next?

At this point in your journey, it’s important not too look too far into the future. Take the time you need to work on yourself and recover from the shock of discovery. All too often partners try to make everything “normal” again or they are told by friends to file for divorce. Neither is good advice.

Your life, your story, your journey is solely yours. Because someone you know had successful or unsuccessful relationship after sex addiction is not a predictor of your relationship.

Even if you’re not feeling a flood of emotion, find a therapist to talk through what is happening for you. Work with your new therapist to develop a plan for what you need to stay safe in the short-term and what you want for the long-term. An outside, compassionate, non-judgmental opinion is a healthy part of helping you decide what’s next.

Some things you may consider as your next steps:

1. Set healthy boundaries to keep yourself physically and emotionally safe. State these to your partner.

2. Seek the advice of a qualified therapist. Someone trained in sex addiction and familiar with treating trauma.

3. Be careful and diligent in sharing what is happening. Sharing your story with friends and family members can be very therapeutic, but it also may be asking them to keep a bigger secret than they are able to keep. Sadly, it may prove that some “friends” really aren’t trustworthy.

4. Find peer support. A therapeutic support group for partners of sex addicts or a support group such as CODA or COSA is a healthy place to find support.

5. DON’T become a private investigator searching your partner’s computer, credit card statements, phone records, etc. There will be a time for this, but now is the time for self-care.

6. DON’T disclose what is happening to your children. Giving them an age-appropriate and time-appropriate disclosure is good. “Mom and Dad are having some problems right now and Dad is going to stay at Grandma’s for a few days.” may be appropriate. “Dad is a sex addict.” is not. There will be time later for the details to come out.

No one ever imagines their life will lead to this point. It feels unfair, violating, disrespectful and so many other things. You have and will be faced with decisions and choices you never imagined. It is not recommended to take this journey alone.

In response to all that is happening, self-care is critical and should include safe boundaries and a conversation with a knowledgable therapist. A Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) who works with partners of sex addicts can be an invaluable resource to help you work through and walk through this most undesirable journey.

At Counseling & Recovery Partners we’d like to help. We have Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) who specialize in helping men and women, addicts and partners, and couples heal from the betrayal and trauma of sexual addiction.