Patrick Carnes is the author of Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction. As a therapist, we often utilize his materials to enhance the content of sessions with our clients.
Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction is an easy read and a great resource to help explain the addiction cycle for people specifically struggling with Sexual Addiction.
Here is an excerpt from the book that details the cycle of addiction:
For sexual addicts an addictive experience progresses through a four-step cycle that intensifies with each repetition.
Preoccupation—the trance or mood wherein the addicts’ minds are completely engrossed with thoughts of sex. This mental state creates an obsessive search for sexual stimulation.
Ritualization—the addicts’ own special routines that lead up to the sexual behavior. The ritual intensifies the preoccupation, adding arousal and excitement.
Compulsive sexual behavior—the actual sexual act, which is the end goal of the preoccupation and ritualization. Sexual addicts are unable to control or stop this behavior.
Despair—the feeling of utter hopelessness addicts have about their behavior and their powerlessness.
If you see any of these patterns in your life, please reach out to a licensed therapist who is trained in Sexual Addictions work. We enjoy working with people to find the right fit in a therapist.
Adam R Glendye, LPC, NCC