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Toward a definition of "hypersexuality" in children and adolescents.

Toward a definition of "hypersexuality" in children and adolescents. | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Various patterns of increased sexuality have been described in youth, including sexuality that is excessive, developmentally precocious, compulsive, aggressive, or otherwise socially inappropriate. Such "hypersexual" behavior in children and adolescents is associated with a variety of factors.........Elements of a definition of juvenile hypersexuality are proposed based upon current knowledge about children and adolescents' sexuality in both normal development and a variety of conditions in which it is increased."


Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This is taken from the abstract of an article published in the journal Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 2012 (Sept); 40(3): 481-503.

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Sex  Addiction
Articles and topics related to compulsive sexual behavior.
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Welcome to The Largest Online Source For Curated Information on Chronically Problematic Sexual Behavior

This curated website is dedicated to improving professional and public understanding about why  some people  repeatedly engage in sexual behavior that compromises their safety and personal values despite the knowledge of inevitably problematic consequences and a sincere but repeatedly unsuccessful desire to stop. 

 

Common phrases for this complex behavioral phenomenon include "sex addiction", "compulsive sexual behavior" and "hypersexuality". This site often uses the generic phrase "chronically problematic sexual behavior" (used as a description rather than a diagnosis) since it:


  • is broad enough to transcend theoretical limitations without being so vague that it loses all meaning,


  • is capable of describing clusters of symptoms and complaints rather than a singular clinical entity,


  • accommodates conditions that stem from varying individual, relational and societal sources,


  • is therefore a useful inter-disciplinary term to describe "patterns of sexual behavior that are out of control and have problematic consequences" (Bancroft and Vukadinovic, 2004*).


Information about this topic will be curated from every conceivable source and perspective, in order not to privilege one viewpoint over another to the detriment of an informed and expanded knowledge base that supports a continually evolving understanding of this subject.  Topics range from rigorous research to irreverent humor, representing the entire spectrum of attitudes, opinions and understanding about this topic.  Some items will have lasting significance while others are likely to merit only brief notice.


However, this curation does not focus on mere breadth and quantity of sources with a complete disregard for content.  Conscious effort is made to avoid excessive repetiton of content and to separate the wheat from the chaff, with judicious commentary accompanying almost every item or category.  An editorial or descriptive overview provides an orientation for almost every category or "tag" (see below).


This site is not designed to promote any specific service or treatment providers; hence there are no direct links to sites that do not contain some relevant information that enhances the knowledge base of the topic.  


Due to the volume of information on this site, it's best to  use the "Filter" feature near the top of the screen to find content related to a particular category or topic.  


Disclaimer: This site attempts to avoid any copyright infringement by linking directly to all sources instead of reproducing, preparing derivative works, distributing, or displaying them publicly.  This site will also not link to any material that appears to be available online as a result of copyright violation.


Feedback, commentary and suggestions are welcome since they will help build a stronger site.   Please consider "following" this site by clicking the button near the top right of the page  This is a great way to stay current on this topic and to help enhance the visibility of this site to others would may benefit from it.


This site is curated by Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT, an Atlanta-based psychotherapist  who specializes in helping good people maintain consistent, safe and ethical sexual boundaries. 


This site was created December 7, 2011.

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*Bancroft, J. & Vukadinovic, Z. (2004).  Sexual addiction, sexual compulsivity, sexual impulsivity, or what? Toward a theoretical model. Journal of Sex Research: 41(3), 225-234. (Note, this article is easily available online. A direct link is not being provided to it in order to protect copyright.)



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Looker's comment, December 24, 2011 12:35 AM
Good site. Keep it up.
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Is Sex Addiction Really a Disorder?

Is Sex Addiction Really a Disorder? | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"(M)ore research is needed to understand whether hypersexuality constitutes a problem in living, internal conflict around sexual values, a culturally-bound construct, a personality trait, or if this phenomenon meets the more stringent standard required for a psychiatric disorder."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  Some opponents of the concept of sex addiction cackle when they read this, seeing it as a "nail in the coffin" of the construct (I have heard these words).  They seem to breeze over language in the article that is less definitive, such as:  "Collectively, the scientific evidence for hypersexual behavior to be classified as a psychiatric disorder is incomplete at the present time. ... Whether or not the HD proposal will end up in subsequent updates to the DSM has yet to be determined."

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IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Relapsed From My Sex Addiction and it Made Me Get the Help I Needed

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Relapsed From My Sex Addiction and it Made Me Get the Help I Needed | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Unlike an alcohol or drug addiction, having sex is a normal human need. Just because I have a problem using sex as a crutch for dealing with emotions doesn’t mean I can’t have it at all. A person with any addiction needs to learn the difference between feeding their body and feeding their hunger."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:


Curator comment: An earlier essay by this same author is curated on this site.  People willing to share their vulnerabilities to help others deserve support, and one benefit of a site like xojane is that the comments are uniformly supportive rather than disparaging as is the case with more mainstream sites.

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I can’t stop cheating on my husband

I can’t stop cheating on my husband | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"I’m not a sex addict, I’m not looking for love...... For me, it’s a form of self-medicating a traumatic childhood. Yet it does not work, as it only leaves me feeling angry, empty, and filled with more self-loathing."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: There is an odd, dispassionate tone to this essay, in which the author admits that she "can't" stop her behavior on the one hand, but comes up with a variety of justifications for her behavior and barriers to admitting her problem and seeking help.  There is also a disconcerting absence of emotion in the essay. 

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Patient characteristics by type of hypersexuality referral: A quantitative chart review of 115 consecutive male cases

Patient characteristics by type of hypersexuality referral: A quantitative chart review of 115 consecutive male cases | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"The present study used quantitative methods to examine demographic, mental health, and sexological correlates of common clinical subtypes of hypersexuality referrals proposed by Cantor and colleagues (2013). Findings support the existence of subtypes, each with distinct clusters of features."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This is a useful companion article to the 2013 publication of "A Treatment-Oriented Typology of Self-Identified Hypersexuality Referrals", curated on this site last year.

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Brain activity in sex addiction mirrors that of drug addiction

Brain activity in sex addiction mirrors that of drug addiction | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Pornography triggers brain activity in people with compulsive sexual behaviour – known commonly as sex addiction – similar to that triggered by drugs in the brains of drug addicts, according to a University of Cambridge study published in the journal PLOS ONE. However, the researchers caution that this does not necessarily mean that pornography itself is addictive."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This is an interesting study, while it's important to note that neither its intent nor findings provide evidence of sex/porn addiction nor do they suggest that such behaviors are themselves addictive.


Here is the link to the actual study, Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals With and Without Compulsive Sexual Behavior.


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Methodological Review of Treatments for Nonparaphilic Hypersexual Behavior

Methodological Review of Treatments for Nonparaphilic Hypersexual Behavior | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"(T)he authors conducted a methodological review of empirical studies that evaluated a treatment for nonparaphilic hypersexual behavior.....(T)he findings from this review indicate that much of the outcome research in the field contains significant methodological limitations." 

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  The relative paucity of methodologically sound research articles on this subject is a major concern.  I have an opinion about this, which I'm always willing to share, focusing primarily on the tendency overly define rather than adequately describe the behavior in question.  


(2014). Methodological Review of Treatments for Nonparaphilic Hypersexual Behavior. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy: Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 294-308. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2012.751075

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Cybersex addiction: Experienced sexual arousal when watching pornography and not real-life sexual contacts makes the difference

Cybersex addiction: Experienced sexual arousal when watching pornography and not real-life sexual contacts makes the difference | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"In a cue-reactivity paradigm 100 pornographic cues were presented to participants and indicators of sexual arousal and craving were assessed.The first study aimed at identifying predictors of cybersex addiction in a freely recruiting sample of 171 heterosexual males. The aim of the second study was to verify the findings of the first study by comparing healthy (n=25) and problematic (n=25) cybersex users.......The results show that indicators of sexual arousal and craving to Internet pornographic cues predicted tendencies towards cybersex in the first study. Moreover, it was shown that problematic cybersex users report greater sexual arousal and craving reactions resulting from pornographic cue presentation......The results support the gratification hypothesis, which assumes reinforcement, learning mechanisms, and craving to be relevant processes in the development and maintenance of cybersex addiction.....".

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: Another interesting finding is that poor or unsatisfying sexual real-life contacts did not sufficiently explain cybersex addiction.



Laier, C., Pawlikowski, M., Pekal, J., Schulte, F. P., & Brand, M. (2013). 

Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

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Sex Addict Clothing

Sex Addict Clothing | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it
"THE SEX ADDICT CLOTHING LIFESTYLE IS  ALL ABOUT FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE AND SUCCESS CREATING A SENSE OF CONFIDENCE AND ATTRACTIVENESS IN THE CONSUMER.  NO MATTER THE RACE, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR BODY TYPE, ANYONE WHO PURSUES THEIR GOALS AND TURNS THEIR DREAMS INTO REALITY REPRESENTS SEX ADDICT CLOTHING."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  It was only a matter of time.

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Scans Reveal Big Differences In Brains Of Porn Watchers

Scans Reveal Big Differences In Brains Of Porn Watchers | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"It's not clear......whether watching porn leads to brain changes or whether people born with certain brain types watch more porn.”
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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This is another popular press report on the recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry, previously reported on this cite. Two other overwrought headlines include: 


Watching Porn? You're Messing With Your brain, Says New Study


Pea Brain: Watching Porn Will Wear Out Your Brain and Make It Shrivel

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Psychopathological Predictors Characterizing Sexual Compulsivity in a Non-Clinical Sample of Women

Psychopathological Predictors Characterizing Sexual Compulsivity in a Non-Clinical Sample of Women | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"(T)here is missing evidence on the relationship between psychological factors and sexual compulsivity in the absence of significant psychiatric disturbance...... Against this background, this study used a non-pathological frame to explore this relationship......Data suggested that when sexual compulsivity is measured as a continuous construct in a community sample of women, only some factors seem common to those found in severe forms of hypersexuality."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: Only the abstract is currently available online, so it's a bit unclear just what the findings are indicating.


Published online 16 May 2014.



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Gender-related differences in the associations between sexual impulsivity and psychiatric disorders

Gender-related differences in the associations between sexual impulsivity and psychiatric disorders | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"The robust associations between sexual impulsivity (SI) and psychopathology across genders suggest the need for screening and interventions related to SI for individuals with psychiatric concerns. The stronger associations between SI and psychopathology among women as compared to men emphasize the importance of a gender-oriented perspective in targeting SI. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine the extent to SI predates, postdates or co-occurs with specific psychiatric conditions."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This is the abstract only, so it's not clear what the authors are defining as "sexual impulsivity".   The NESARC, which appears to be the primary source for the data used for this analysis, can be reviewed at this site.


Published online 5 May 2014.

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Understanding service users’ and therapists’ experiences of pharmacological treatment for sexual preoccupation and/or hypersexuality in incarcerated sex offenders

Understanding service users’ and therapists’ experiences of pharmacological treatment for sexual preoccupation and/or hypersexuality in incarcerated sex offenders | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"This research comprises two qualitative studies understanding the experiences of (1) convicted sex offenders voluntarily receiving pharmacological treatment to reduce sexual preoccupation and (2) therapists working with these offenders. Understanding service users’ and therapists’ experiences of pharmacological treatment for sexual preoccupation and/or hypersexuality in incarcerated sex offenders."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  The relationship between sexual offending and sexually addictive/compulsive behavior is murky and contentious.  The two constructs are distinct but often overlapping.  In general the sexual offender research and treatment community is not especially supportive of concept of sex addiction, in large measure out of concern that it mediates against accountability.    The term sexual preoccupation is sometimes used instead, as in this study.  A companion piece was published along with this one, "Preliminary evaluation of the use of pharmacological treatment with convicted sexual offenders experiencing high levels of sexual preoccupation, hypersexuality and/or sexual compulsivity.  Both are available online only in abstract form.

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Relationship Attachment Styles in a Sample of Hypersexual Patients

Relationship Attachment Styles in a Sample of Hypersexual Patients | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"The present study seeks to further our understanding of relationship attachment styles and hypersexual behavior by analyzing both categorical and dimensional measures of attachment among a large sample of men (N = 136) seeking treatment for excessive sexual behaviors."


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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  Research and conjecture attempting to locate attachment styles characteristic of this population is both increasingly prevalent yet continually elusive.

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Controversies About Hypersexual Disorder and the DSM-5

Controversies About Hypersexual Disorder and the DSM-5 | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

This article highlights the vast array of controversial issues surrounding the proposal for hypersexual disorder. ......This article attempts to place the controversies, criticisms, and issues about hypersexuality in context from leading experts in the field.

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:


Curator comment: Cogent, comprehensive overview.

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Shame, Rumination, and Self-Compassion in Men Assessed for Hypersexual Disorder

"...... self-compassion partially mediated the relationship between shame and rumination and hypersexual behavior."

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Relationship Between Sexual Compulsivity and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Chinese Sexually Active Males

Relationship Between Sexual Compulsivity and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Chinese Sexually Active Males | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"This study validated the Chinese version of the Sexual Compulsivity Scale and investigated its associations with specific sexual behaviors."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  The SCS is an increasingly well-established instrument.

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Using Polygraph Tests to Keep Sex Addicts Honest

Using Polygraph Tests to Keep Sex Addicts Honest | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it


"Asking a sex addict to take a polygraph seemed ludicrous to me at first. First off, it seems like something you do with a criminal, not with a patient who has come in for help with a sexually compulsive behavior."


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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: The use of polygraph as a way to regain trust, provide accountability and protect against relapse can be a useful tool although one that is not without its challenges and controversies.

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Self-Reported Indicators of Hypersexuality and Its Correlates in a Female Online Sample

Self-Reported Indicators of Hypersexuality and Its Correlates in a Female Online Sample | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"The results of the current study do not support the idea of previous research that hypersexual women are typically engaged in more passive forms of sexual behavior. Rather female hypersexuality seems to be more characterized by impersonal sexual activity. An association between hypersexual behavior and sexual risk behavior was identified."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  Little research has focused specifically on the behavioral patterns of hypersexuality in women, making studies like this especially important

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The Relationship Between Online Sexual Compulsivity, Dissociation and Past Child Abuse Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

The Relationship Between Online Sexual Compulsivity, Dissociation and Past Child Abuse Among Men Who Have Sex with Men | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

The objective of this study was to measure the relationships between online sexual compulsivity, three dimensions of dissociation.....and past child abuse among men who have sex with men (MSM). A total of 517 MSM, recruited from Internet chat rooms, completed the survey. Results indicated that past child abuse was significantly related to dissociation but not online sexual compulsivity. It was also found that the amount of time MSM spent online in a one-week period, in general and specifically engaged in sexual activity, was significantly related to online sexual compulsivity and three dimensions of disssociation....."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

(2014).  Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling: Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 146-163. doi: 10.1080/15538605.2014.895663

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Sexual Picture Processing Interferes with Decision-Making Under Ambiguity

Sexual Picture Processing Interferes with Decision-Making Under Ambiguity | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"This study emphasized that sexual arousal interfered with decision-making, which may explain why some individuals experience negative consequences in the context of cybersex use."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:


Curator comment: The neurological impact of chronic cybersex is a contentious topic, making studies like this one very important to the development of a scientific knowledge base.


Archives of Sexual Behavior

April 2014, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 473-482


Abstract only. 

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Personality, coping, risky behavior, and mental disorders in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder: A comprehensive psychosocial assessment

Personality, coping, risky behavior, and mental disorders in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder: A comprehensive psychosocial assessment | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"(Offspring of parents with bipolar disorder) reported elevated high-risk sexual behavior relative to controls....."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:
Curator comment: It's well-accepted that people with bipolar disorder are at increased risk for hypersexual behavior.  This study suggests a similar increased risk for their offspring.

Authors: R. Nijjar, M.A. Ellenbogan, S. Hodgins
Published Online: April 28, 2014
Abstract only.
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Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption

Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"The negative association of self-reported pornography consumption with the right striatum (caudate) volume, left striatum (putamen) activation during cue reactivity, and lower functional connectivity of the right caudate to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex could reflect change in neural plasticity as a consequence of an intense stimulation of the reward system, together with a lower top-down modulation of prefrontal cortical areas. Alternatively, it could be a precondition that makes pornography consumption more rewarding."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

 Curator comment: Note that although the researchers give support to the idea that frequent pornography consumption could structurally alter reward systems, this is not a longitudinal study, so these brain differences could have been present prior to the porn use.


This study is already making its way into the popular media, as in this article in the Daily Beast titled "Does Porn Cause Brain Shrinkage?"


Source:  JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 28, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.93

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn to sue over 'sex addict' film

Dominique Strauss-Kahn to sue over 'sex addict' film | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has instructed lawyers to sue the makers of a movie in which veteran French star Gerard Depardieu plays a sex addict who commits a sexual assault on a hotel maid."


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With No Formal Diagnosis or Treatment Plans, How Can Sex Addiction Exist?

With No Formal Diagnosis or Treatment Plans, How Can Sex Addiction Exist? | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

"For the most part, those who believe that sexual addiction (also known as sexual compulsivity and hypersexuality disorder is simply a myth tend to offer some combination of the five challenges presented below. I thought it might be both interesting and useful to examine the validity/reality of these concerns here."

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  A useful summation

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Thirteen Dimensions of Sex Addiction-Induced Trauma (SAIT) among Partners and Spouses Impacted by Sex Addiction

Thirteen Dimensions of Sex Addiction-Induced Trauma (SAIT) among Partners and Spouses Impacted by Sex Addiction | Sex  Addiction | Scoop.it

Ego-reality fragmentation then becomes one of the critical injuries of (sex addiction-induced trauma) and from this many......symptoms and trauma-inducing dynamics evolve.  The metaphor of “the foundation of a house fragmenting, slowly or suddenly or both” applies in order to conceptualize ego destruction and damage.

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  The author presents a nuanced and comprehensive approach to conceptualizing the levels of damage that can occur to a person who learns that a supposedly monogamous partner has been engaging in a calculated pattern of sexual deception with attendant psychological manipulation

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BK's curator insight, April 24, 9:51 AM

"The induction of fear into the psychological and relational system is one of the specific traumatic symptom processes of discovery trauma.  A discovery does not in any way mean a full awareness of reality or the truth for the partner or spouse.  It means a degree of awareness that there is reality incongruence and the open possibilities of a deceptive, compartmentalized, sexual or relational system, with no ability to confirm the extent or nature.  This can often induce severe panic, terror, and intense fear, horror, or helplessness.  It opens up an entire world of actual possibility, with no reliable source of reality, as it has been systematically denied and withheld from the intimate partner, with intention."