Any sexually related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress in one’s life.
If I ever doubted that a behavior can affect the brain in the same way as a chemical to cause a person to lose complete control and repeat that behavior even in the face of great personal loss, my work at Gentle Path, Dr. Patrick Carnes’ center for the treatment of sexual addiction, has removed any such concern. There I have had the privilege of working with men and women who have come from all over the country (and other countries too) because no matter how many losses experienced, how many promises made, or how many loved ones hurt they have not been able to interrupt their sexual acting out. Neither the agony of waiting for the results of an aides test nor the spouse’s heart-felt threats of divorce was sufficient. Pleas to God went unanswered. Thoughts of suicide presented desperate options to the pain of living a life filled with out of control sexual behavior.
Sex addicts are suffering with a brain disorder just like other addicts. They can not, on their own, stop their compulsive sexual behaviors. These behaviors were divided into 10 Types by Dr. Patrick Carnes following his study of 1000 individuals who identified themselves as sex addicts: