What Is It About Those Who Have Sexual Addiction That Should Concern You About Your Child’s Safety? Part XXIII

Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

David Ryan


Evaluating if an individual is a sexual addict or not depends upon someone, possibly a professional who has experience in counseling, consulting, life coaching, pastors and so many other individuals in the mental health field and Christian positions which can provide some answers for the possible sexual addict. This process would be called the sexual addiction assessment.

Just a few decades ago mental health professionals had no concept of how to assess a possible sexual addict. In fact most of the above listed mental health professionals didn’t understand the concept of what sexual addiction is and specifically of how to assess and how to deal with it.

The pioneers of sexual addiction issues goes as far back as Sigmund Freud and further who dealt with men and women who had sexual acting out problems, sexual assaults, dreams and many other sexual topics and themes. Moving to the middle and late 1970’s a mental health professional by the name of Dr. Patrick Carnes came into the mental health field and opened the door very wide and allowed others to follow.

The handling of the hyper sexual addicts was initially a mental health issue. Today, according to Dr. Patrick Carnes, “There is a coordinated effort involving psychiatry, psychology, addiction medicine, trauma medicine, sexology, and those providing services in a criminal justice setting to have a workable diagnostic framework or nosology around the disorder”(2002).

Today, the research and aspects of the sexual addiction profession has become a booming business. The reason the sexual addiction is a booming business is because pornography (mostly those who go to the Internet for sexual reasons) have made it a 40-80 billion dollar industry depending on what research and studies you read.

So there is a definite sexual addiction problem and it has become an increasing problem due to the young children, young adults and adults who have access to the Internet and are viewing sexual images i.e. pornography, sexual intercourse and other sexual themes.

With new methods and techniques available provided by the Internet, people are running to the Internet to find their sexual dreams and gratification. No longer does the man or woman have to drive to the local pornographic store and deal with other people when they want sexual release.

Those who provided a physical service for the sexual addict i.e. prostitution, DVDs, books, magazines and so forth can now be dealt with by accessing the Internet. The lack of embarrassment and guilt which an addict feels by being in a physical establishment has been minimized by the use of the Internet.

According to author Jerry Ropelato, “Internet Pornography Statistics” they state the following about the Internet and pornography:

The statistics are truly staggering. According to compiled numbers from respected news and research organizations, every second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. Every second 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography. In that same second 372 internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S.

These statistics provide an inside look into the power and financial aspects of pornography on the Internet. This is where the assessment begins with most sexual addicts. One of the first questions a mental health professional will be asking the possible sexual addict is how much time a day do you expend on the Internet searching for pornography, sexual images, and other sexual desires and needs.

Once the mental health professional can identify just how powerful the obsession and compulsiveness is involved, then they can begin assessing the individual’s sexual addiction problems. Many sexual addicts believe they have two issues to deal with; first, they don’t want to be called a sexual addict; two, they want God to solve their sexual addiction problems.

This mentality is one of the most difficult steps to overcome in assessing the sexual addict because the last aspect of the assessment is the sexual addict doesn’t want to take responsibility for the problem and/or they want others to hold their hands during the initial recovery of the sexual addiction.

If the mental health professional fails to gather the specific data necessary to make an assessment, then the professional isn’t doing their job and those who are relying on him/her will not be assisting the potential sexual addict.

When the allegations are clear and evident than the mental health professional needs to immediately place the addict into therapy another process begins. However, a common problem is the sexual addict is willing to be examined and evaluated, but once the problem has been identified and confirmed they want no part of the process of healing. Most of the time they are going through the assessment process is to please their spouse and/or partner.

The more data a mental health professional has about the individual and his possible sexual addiction the more complete and thorough the assessment will be. There may be other factors which need to be considered in the assessment.

Some of those factors and considerations maybe the sexual addict has comorbidity addictions, such as gambling, alcohol, drugs and many other disorders. These other addictions may camouflage the sexual addict’s behavioral patterns, making it difficult to provide a true and correct assessment. This complicates the assessment process as history has demonstrated and proven that sexual addicts only begin telling the professional what specifically are his/her problem. It is rare that a full-disclosure of the problem will occur.

Tomorrow, the issues surrounding the clinical assessment of a sexual addict will continue. There is so much information about how to perform a sexual addiction assessment it can’t be reproduced with one article. There is a multitude of information available to those of you who want to learn about sexual addiction assessments and how to conduct them. With two more articles remaining in this series we may come to an initial conclusion about assessments or maybe extend the series. You have to admit it has been a very interesting and understanding series.

Lawrence W. Daly
253-852-6702 B/P
253-852-6704 Fax
Kent, WA

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