What is treatment for sex/porn addiction and for co-occurring substance use and sexual behavior?

In a general way, treatment for these issues utilizes the same basic strategies and techniques that work with alcoholism, drug addiction, other behavioral addictions, and eating disorders. Early treatment efforts focus on containing the problematic behavior. Safety is our primary concern. After that, we focus on breaking through your denial, managing the crisis or crises that pushed you into recovery, and preventing relapse. Nearly all sex/porn addicts are trauma-based in their behavior, but dedicated trauma therapy is typically set aside in the early stages of treatment, embarked upon only after you’ve established a modicum of sexual sobriety, ego strength, and social support.

Treatment includes both individual and group therapy—most often a directive, behavior-focused modality like cognitive behavioral therapy—paired with social learning, psycho-education, 12-step or other addiction-focused social support, and alternative methodologies like psychodrama, art and movement therapies, exercise, meditation, animal therapies, adventure therapies, and the like. Some clients might also begin a trial-run of an antianxiety or antidepressant medication, as these can reduce not only anxiety and depression but cravings to act out sexually.

What is sexual sobriety?

If you’re like most sex/porn addicts in the early stages of recovery, you have little to no idea what the term “sexual sobriety” means. You may fear that sexual sobriety mirrors chemical sobriety, where permanent abstinence is the goal. You may be thinking, “Do I have to give up sex forever? Because if I do, you can forget about me coming to treatment.”

Fortunately, unlike sobriety for alcoholism and drug addiction, sexual sobriety is not defined by long-term abstinence. Celibacy is not a long-term solution to sex/porn addiction. Recognizing this, we define sexual sobriety as we define sobriety with eating disorders—another area in which long-term abstinence is simply not feasible. Rather than permanently abstaining from all sexual activity, recovering sex/porn addicts think about sobriety as learning to be sexual in non-compulsive, non-problematic, life-affirming ways.

What is the daily regimen of treatment?

As part of treatment, you should expect the following:

  • Full Psychiatric and Psychosexual Evaluation
  • Completion of the Sexual Dependency Inventory (Done Online)
  • Behaviorally Focused Individual and Group Therapy
  • Sexual (and Chemical) Sobriety Education
  • Social Learning and Accountability
  • Alternative Therapeutic Modalities (Art Therapy, Psychodrama, Adventure Therapy, etc.)
  • 12-Step Sexual Recovery Focus and Participation
  • Digital Era (Online) Recovery and Participation
  • Prodependent Partner/Family Involvement
  • Shame Resilience Work
  • Somatic Experiencing (Trauma Work)
  • Self-Care (Exercise, Meditation, Yoga, Massage, Acupuncture, etc.)
  • Aftercare (Relapse Prevention) Planning and Implementation
  • Continued Treatment-Group Interaction (Weekly Online Meetings)

Will I be able to contact my work, family, and friends?

Yes, but only on a limited basis. While you are in treatment, it is important that you focus on the task at hand—understanding and overcoming your sex/porn addiction. If you are too focused on outside issues, your process of healing and recovery will be stunted. Thus, we limit the use of phones and computers from 6 a.m. until treatment work begins, the lunch break, and the dinner break. Phones and computers can only be used in common areas. When clinically appropriate, Seeking Integrity staff may revoke phone and/or computer privileges or end a specific conversation. Porn, hookup apps, and similar actions are strictly forbidden. At no point should any client access any material that might be detrimental to his treatment or any other client’s treatment. As part of your treatment, your therapist may arrange specific phone or video conversations between you and your significant other. Such conversations should only take place with therapeutic guidance.

What should I pack (and not pack)?

Please check the weather for the location of the facility where you are seeking treatment. Pack appropriately, with comfortable clothes. There is no need to “dress up” while in treatment. Revealing clothing is not permitted, so don’t bother bringing it. You will be doing some “adventure therapy,” so bring appropriate clothes for that. Bring gym clothes as well. You needn’t overpack, as our centers all offer laundry service. Make sure you bring all of your prescribed medications. Bring your phone and computer, as well, as learning to use these devices in healthy ways will be part of your treatment process. We have books, movies, and music at our treatment centers, but feel free to bring your own, keeping in mind that your free-time while in treatment is limited.