How to Help Someone with a Sex Addiction? (12 Actionable Steps)
Have you been wondering how to help someone with a sex addiction?
Finding out that a loved one is addicted to sex is not easy. It can shatter trust, destroy relationships, and send you in an emotional turmoil.
Sex addiction is a disorder that can affect any individual, regardless of age, gender and race. This addiction can break havoc in the life on an addict as well as their loved ones.
If you have noticed signs and symptoms of sexual addiction in someone you love, it can greatly affect your relationship with them. However, sex addiction is a disorder and there are ways you can help someone recover from this addiction.
These 12 actionable steps can provide you the right way of helping your loved one get started with their own recovery journey from sex addiction.
- 1. Initiating the Journey
- 2. Practicing Humility
- 3. Getting Professional Help
- 4. Identifying the Triggers
- 5. Communicating with Them
- 6. Managing Behaviors, Feelings and Thoughts
- 7. Aiming for Healthy Mind and Body
- 8. Discovering New Hobbies
- 9. Building & Maintaining Motivation
- 10. Constant Effort
- 11. Restoring Life’s Purpose and Meaning
- 12. Living a Balanced Life
1. Initiating the Journey
Finding out that a loved one is a sex addict, having thoughts like “My husband is a sex addict should I leave him?” “How can I be friends with a sex addict?” “Is he addicted to me sexually?” are normal.
Remember you two have to start this recovery journey together. As much as your loved one needs to start the process of eliminating this addiction, you also need to recover from the shock and trauma of finding out this truth.
It is essential to talk to the person, tell them you are willing to help them and make a commitment. It is going to be difficult to begin this journey but this is the first step you have to take in order to help the person with sex addiction.
2. Practicing Humility
Remember if your loved one is sexually addicted to one person, humility is what will help them break this chain. Many addicts have recovered on their own while others require help. In both cases, humility helps them face the realities.
When the person realizes that there is something wrong with them and they require help, only then they can take the first step. Without realizing their fault, they will parade around thinking that what they are doing is right.
Help them practice humility, encourage them to come to this realization on their own, help them realize that there they should let guilt or shame stop them from seeking help.
3. Getting Professional Help
The next step is to get professional help for them. There are many things sex addicts say to stop feeling the guilt and shame, including telling you that they have the situation under control and they don’t need help.
Avoid taking their word on this. Sex addiction is a disorder and requires professional intervention. Help them understand that this is crucial for their wellbeing and will help them in getting rid of this unhealthy addiction for good.
Shortlist a few experts, take your loved one for the initial meeting, ask them which one made them comfortable and settle on the one they prefer. Trust between therapist and patient is crucial in this journey of recovery.
4. Identifying the Triggers
If your loved one is sexually obsessed with someone in particular, the best thing you can do is to keep them away from that person. Seeing that person will initiate intense emotions and reactions which will prevent them from recovering.
It is possible that they might not be obsessed with a particular person but a certain type of person, way of dressing, certain features, situation, or they might be addicted to porn.
You need to first identify their triggers. Once you know this, it would be easier to determine ways in which they can avoid those triggers. It is recommended that you discuss this with them to get a better idea.
5. Communicating with Them
Being in a relationship with a sex addict can be challenging, and frustrating. You might experience various emotions including guilt, anger, confusion and more. In order to help them, you need to also cater to your emotions.
Therefore, the next step is to have an open communication with them. Tell them what you feel, ask questions, rant if you have to, or give your opinions regarding their recovery.
Similarly, give them a chance to speak up. Encourage them to share their feelings, their fears, their struggles, what triggers them, what helps them, and so on.
With the channels of communication open both ways, both of you can smoothly move forward in this recovery process.
6. Managing Behaviors, Feelings and Thoughts
When you look up how to deal with sex addiction in a relationship, almost every article and guide will tell you that it is important to deal with and manage thoughts and behaviors.
A sex addict would try their best to avoid addressing their problems or pretend they don’t exist. This won’t help them in coping with this addiction. Negative and intense thoughts will keep resurfacing no matter how much they try.
Therefore, the next step should be to determine the right tactics and skills to help them manage their behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. A professional therapist can come up with a right plan to address this matter.
Moreover, encourage them to keep a journal to jot down their thoughts, feelings and monitor their behaviors. Adding what triggered those emotions and behaviors could further help in the controlling and managing them.
7. Aiming for Healthy Mind and Body
The next step is to help your loved one transform their mind and body positively. With a healthy mind and body, it could get easier for an addict to recover.
Encourage them to start working on their physical fitness. Aerobics, resistance training, strength training and any other form of exercising is a great way to distract oneself and develop a healthy body image.
Aside from this, practicing yoga and meditating could help the addict to train their mind. It will also reduce their stress levels which might escalate their recovery process.
It is recommended that you join them during these fitness and meditation sessions. This will help you in battling your feelings and give you a chance to improve your relationship with them.
8. Discovering New Hobbies
Can a sex addict have a real relationship? They can. However, it is important that you both work together to build up and maintain this relation. Your loved one needs your support and encouragement to battle this addiction successfully.
It might get difficult for you to trust them again. This is normal; you don’t have to force yourself. Take things gradually. Start by determining things you both like to do. Help each other discover new hobbies.
It is not necessary to do all activities together. New hobbies and activities can help the addict distract them from unhealthy thoughts. It will help you to distract from your emotional turmoil. You both will start enjoying things without guilt.
9. Building & Maintaining Motivation
The next step should be a continuous one. It is vital for your loved one to stay motivated in this journey. Staying motivated is what will help you both in this process.
While it is difficult for you to have a sex addict friend or partner, it is also difficult for them sexually addicted to someone and not able to break free.
Work together in identifying positive things to implement in life, create goals, and highlight things that can make things better. Encourage them to imagine their life without being imprisoned by this addiction.
10. Constant Effort
By this point, it is highly possible that your loved one gave in at least once in this journey. You won’t help but wonder can sex addicts change?
You must realize that mistakes and slip-ups are bound to happen in this process, just as with any other addiction. Many sex addicts have successfully changed their lives and are leading healthy lifestyles.
The key is constant effort. This step also needs to be continues as this journey requires you both to make continuous effort to break the cycle of addiction successfully.
11. Restoring Life’s Purpose and Meaning
Another question constantly roaming your mind would be, “can sex addicts be faithful?”
Again the answer is yes. As with any other disorder, once cured the individual starts living a normal life. Similarly, once your loved one recovers from this unhealthy addiction, they will lead a normal life and have healthy relationships.
This next step will ensure their faithfulness and commitment to you and to a healthier lifestyle. Help them find their purpose in life again. Restore their faith in their goals and commitments.
Encourage them to opt for hobbies and activities they used to enjoy before their addiction prevented them to do so. Help them dream again!
12. Living a Balanced Life
The last step is to assist them maintain a balance in life. Sex addiction can bring life out of balance. The mind is filled with intense thoughts and the addict spends most of their time battling those thoughts or giving in.
This leaves little to no room to focus on other aspects of their life – their career, relationships, goals and other engagements.
Once they have faith in their goals again and are confident that they can maintain healthy relationships, and they gradually start breaking free from their addiction, they can start enjoying their life in a healthy way.
However, it is important to monitor the progress and maintain a balanced life to avoid relapse and to ensure nothing gets out of balance again.