Tech to Help Your Sex, Porn, or Chemsex Addicted Partner Stay Sober

If your partner is recovering from sex, porn, or chemsex addiction, it’s likely that he will need guidance and assistance with his use of digital devices—laptops, phones, pads, tablets, etc. Once upon a time, he would have been advised to simply stay offline. But that’s just not feasible these days, as digital technology is too integral to modern life to simply turn it off. The good news is that there are some great software products that can help your partner fight tech-temptations.

These products are generally referred to as ‘parental control’ software because they were developed to protect young people from inappropriate or unwanted content and contacts. Over the years, as these products have become more sophisticated and adaptable, they have become equally useful for adults who struggle with online behaviors—not just sex, but spending, gambling, video gaming, social media, etc.

If your partner has ever used a digital device as part of his addiction—and trust us, he has—then installing one of these products is a must. Ideally, your partner’s therapist, 12-step sexual recovery sponsor, or some other accountability buddy will help him install the software and will keep the password to prevent him from unilaterally deciding to change the settings or uninstall the product. For a variety of reasons, it is not recommended that you serve as your partner’s accountability buddy.

As you and your partner shop for protective software, it’s important to understand that, for purposes of sex, porn, and chemsex addiction recovery, some products are better than others. Features to look for include:

  1. Customizable Filtering and Blocking. Most products have built-in filtering/blocking levels ranging from settings appropriate for young children to settings appropriate for adults who wish to stay away from certain types of apps, websites, and content. The better products also offer customizable filtering, with ‘blacklisting’ of sites/apps that would normally be allowed and ‘whitelisting’ of sites/apps that would normally be blocked.
  2. Monitoring and Reporting (Accountability). A huge part of sex, porn, and chemsex addiction recovery is becoming accountable. As such, any protective software product that your partner uses should monitor his digital activity and report on it to his accountability buddy (usually the person who helped install the product and holds the password).
  3. Time Management. Time management features control when and for how long your partner can use his digital devices.
  4. Ease of Installation and Customization. Protective software products should be easy to install and to customize. Ideally, your partner and whoever helps install the product should be able to globally configure the software, establishing settings on all of his devices simultaneously.
  5. Compatibility. It is important to make sure a product works on all your partner’s digital devices before purchasing it. It is also important to see how many devices the license covers, as you’ll want to cover all of his equipment with only one license.

For sex, porn, and chemsex recovery, the best protective software options are as follows:

  • Net Nanny. Net Nanny costs $39.99 per year for one device, $59.99 per year for up to five devices, $89.99 per year for up to twenty devices. It works on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Net Nanny offers quality filtering, blocking, monitoring, and reporting—all of which are easily customized to meet your partner’s specific needs. 
  • Qustodio. Qustodio costs $54.95 per year for up to five devices, $96.95 per year for up to ten devices. It works on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Qustodio offers excellent filtering, blocking, monitoring, reporting, and time management—all of which are easily customized to meet your partner’s specific needs. 
  • WebWatcher. WebWatcher can be a bit more expensive at $39.95 per year for each digital device. It works on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. WebWatcher’s features are on generally on par with the other products on this list. It’s especially good at capturing the content of emails, texts, and IMs. The primary drawback here, if you have multiple devices, can be cost.
  • CovenantEyes. Like WebWatcher, CovenantEyes is relatively expensive. With all the features that recovering sex addicts need, it costs $143.88 per year for each person covered (unlimited devices). CovenantEyes offers quality filtering, blocking, monitoring, and reporting—all of which are easily customized to meet your partner’s specific needs. The primary drawback here is cost.

Once again, for maximum effectiveness, it is important that your partner asks his therapist, 12-step sexual recovery sponsor, or some other accountability buddy (that isn’t you) to install the protective software, establish the settings, and keep the password. Otherwise, your partner may be tempted to change the settings or to uninstall the product altogether.