Out of Control Sexual Behavior

Also Known As: Sex Addiction, Hypersexuality or Compulsive Sexual Behavior

"I know what I'm doing is harmful to my relationship... I just can't seem to control it."

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What is it?

Out of Control Sexual Behavior is just as it sounds...feeling out of control with your sexual behavior. And it is a common thing among many people, across all genders and sexual orientations. While the specific behaviors can differ between people, often the underlying reasons for the behavior(s) are common struggles found among many people (even those not struggling with their sexual behavior(s)). 

Out of Control Sexual Behavior (OCSB), according to Doug Braun-Harvey and Michael Vigorito, the founders of this modality, define OCSB as a "sexual health problem in which an individual's sexual consensual urges, thoughts, and behaviors feel out of control" to the client. Even further, it is believed that OCSB is not necessarily about the sex, but rather unresolved issues within a relationship, untreated mental health issues, untreated abuse/trauma, and problematic habits. This removes it from traditional "addiction" models, in that the behaviors are not seen as a disorder or the client is powerless to them, rendering them having lost control over their sexual behavior. Reframing this focus allows the client and their therapist to focus on the underlying reasons for the out of control behavior, which then allows room for the client to create a  new sense of sexual health for themselves (without judging or mislabeling a specific sexual behavior/expression as an addiction) and upholds the World Health Organization's definition of sexual health (found here).

How do we treat it?

Being that OCSB is seen as a function of a deeper rooted cause, our therapists work on understanding the family of origin and other areas of influence in your life that could possibly contribute to the root cause (often done within the intake session). Your therapist will then process at greater length the ways in which the specific sexual behavior(s) are causing difficulties in your life and then help you to create, with the insights gained from the deeper processing, your personalized version of "sexual health" that you feel brings you to a place with your sexuality that honors yourself, others, and brings guilt-free pleasure. Focusing on, and upholding, the World Health Organization's definition of sexual health helps you to redefine your sexual behavior(s) to those that reduce harm and create more fulfilling experiences with yourself and your relationship(s), as they are often not laced with guilt and/or shame. 

It is often treated through individual and/or group therapy, which Obsidian Counseling offers both.