Compulsive Sexual Behavior (CSB)

One of my specialties is treating Compulsive Sexual Behavior (CSB) and working with partners and spouses affected by CSB. CSB can be devastating to the sufferer and the sufferer’s family. Recovery from CSB is possible, but takes complete honesty and reintegration into reality.

CSB can come in many forms. For some, it is viewing pornography and compulsively masturbating. For others, it is cruising and hiring sex workers, cybersex or sensual massages. Sometimes it is multiple affairs outside a primary relationship where the behavior continues despite attempts to stop. The behavior is secretive, shameful and can at times be offensive or abusive. Voyeurs, exhibitionists or those who view child porn cross the line into offending behavior as the victims have no choice as to whether they want to be viewed or flashed.

CSB can be similar to issues with substances. In alcohol and drug addiction, the substance gives us the high, the fix we desire. With CSB, the experience of acting out is a high as well, and it changes brain chemistry just as a drug would. This struggling with CSB often speak of this “bubble” or “zone” where nothing else matters but getting their fix.

There is a cycle that helps maintain and reinforce this illness. CSB causes its sufferers to not know how to meet needs in a healthy way. When they feel emotional stressors, they want to numb this feeling. They move into fantasy, preoccupation, and rituals, and then will act out to release these feelings in their body. They can often be left with feelings of depression, sadness and guilt afterward, but rationalize their behavior in order to continue this unhealthy relationship with themselves and the world.

Those with CSB are able to compartmentalize their world. They have their acting out world and their reality world. The person with CSB can effortlessly move between the world of acting out where they are getting their “fix” and lack total empathy to the world where they are the good spouse, parent, friend, and employee. This compartmentalization is a hallmark feature of CSB and one that is often maintained for decades.

When working with CSB, I use cognitive behavior therapy to help the client recognize triggers that cause them to act out, and then work with them to develop healthy ways to self-sooth and utilize replacement habits. With over a decade of experience treating CSB, I know we can work together to help you recover.

Please note that CSB is a hotly debated topic. WHO (World Health Organization) has recognized compulsive sexual behavior as a mental disorder but it has not been recognized as an addiction by WHO nor the DSM.