Addiction vs. Offending
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1770  
In Today's Issue
Prevention: Sex Addiction, Sex Offending and Sex Addiction Treatment
Q & A: The prohibition of masturbation for both men and women
Practical Tips: Advice From an Addiction Expert
Attitude & Perspective: Endowed with wisdom
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Sex Addiction, Sex Offending and Sex Addiction Treatment
Position statement from the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals
By International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals

The accusations levied against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK and others for sexual assault, harassment and abuse have created righteous outrage and concerns that “sex addiction treatment” is being used to excuse their offensive behavior. It is critical to understand that sex addiction and sex offending behavior are not the same thing. A sex offense occurs when there is a non-consensual sexual behavior that has a victim. Most of these behaviors are illegal. It is not uncommon for sex offenders to seek sex addiction treatment when they are struggling. Very few people check themselves into a “sex offender rehabilitation program”, rather they seek “sex addiction treatment.” There is some overlap in these two populations, some sex offenders are sex addicts (and are demonstrating compulsive and addictive behavior), and some are not. However, most studies show that only about 10 % of sex addicts have behaviors that constitute sexual offenses. The majority of sex addicts struggle with issues like pornography addiction, compulsive masturbation, anonymous sexual behaviors, and sexual promiscuity and boundary failure.

Sex addiction and compulsivity is a very real problem. The definition of addiction developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine incorporates behavioral addictions such as gambling, internet addiction, and sex. This definition is supported by over 30 years of research in addiction medicine and an abundance of neuroscience studies. While much controversy exists about whether to call it an addiction, compulsion, or hypersexual behavior, there are currently over 700 research studies in the peer review literature investigating this phenomenon. Many of these studies have large sample sizes and are from countries all over the world. The current estimated prevalence rates are between 2-6% of the general population.

Whether the behavior is a sex offense or a just regular compulsive or addictive sexual behavior, by in large, the general population seeks help for “sex addiction.” They feel like their behavior is “addictive” or out of control. It is then up to the treatment provider or facility to do a comprehensive evaluation. Many sex addiction treatment facilities have sex offender therapists on staff, in addition to sexologists and sex addiction therapists. There is also a multidisciplinary team on hand to do a comprehensive evaluation for the patient. If the client is not a sex addict and is a sex offender, it is likely that they will be referred to an inpatient sex offender treatment facility to work on their issues.

There are many misconceptions about sex addiction treatment. The first is that it is a retreat or a way to escape problematic behavior. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most inpatient facilities provide over 50 hours of group and individual therapy per week. These include many different types of effective treatment modalities such as cognitive behavior therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness meditation, the 30 task model, psychodrama and experiential psychotherapies, intensive family therapy, trauma treatment, and medication management.

Each person’s treatment plan is specific to that person and individualized. With the help of the therapist(s), a healthy sex plan that discourages problematic behaviors and encourages healthy behaviors is developed. Treatment also includes reducing shame and developing a culture of support. It is important for individuals in recovery to have a system of accountability and support to make their recovery successful. Often it means changing one’s life and environment so that they are not routinely facing the same environmental triggers and stressors that they had pre-recovery.

While sex addiction was rejected by the DSM committee, published papers discussing the reason for the rejection deemed that the cause was political, due to this being such an area of intense controversy. This decision has left the field scrambling and fighting about how to classify this very real condition, with many sexual health organizations taking different positions on the matter. The World Health Organization may be finally taking a step forward to legitimize the problem, as it’s current draft proposal for the next edition includes “Sexual Compulsivity” in the Impulse Control section of its manual.

For any questions or comments or media inquiries please, contact Dr. Stefanie Carnes.

The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, founded by Dr. Patrick Carnes who developed the Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, or CSAT®, program, a cutting-edge training, and certification program built around academic study, experiential training, supervision and assessment competence. Currently, IITAP is the largest sexual health organization in the United States with over 1700 professional members.

Q & A
The prohibition of masturbation for both men and women
Practical Tips
Advice From an Addiction Expert

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, the founder of Drugsline, received a prestigious honor from Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his groundbreaking work tackling substance and alcohol abuse. spoke with him about his organization's achievements. One of the questions they asked him was the following:

Undeniably, it is a difficult time to be a teen, confronting real adult issues on a daily basis. What advice do you have for teenagers themselves?

When a teen approaches us with a problem, we must recognize their issues. We cannot pretend they don't exist. We have a rule here at Drugsline: if someone comes with a problem, it is a problem (even if we don't necessarily think it is). Recognize that what they say is real. Think about the tremendous courage it takes to ask for help, to begin with.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed with their mammoth problem, teach them to deal with one particular area at a time. Let them solve it and it will build up their confidence in that area. It may be a tiny notch on the ladder, but in due course, they can look back and see how much they have achieved.

Conclude one challenge and then go on to the next one.

Teens must realize that challenges are part of our development, our growth, our maturity. We will face challenges throughout our lives. Dealing with a particular struggle, in bite-size proportions, will give us the strength to overcome future challenges, without the temptation to turn to drugs, alcohol, or gambling.

I brought this excerpt today because I thought there was a lot of wisdom that we can learn from his advice in relation to our struggles with lust addiction:

1) Think about the tremendous courage it takes to ask for help, to begin with. Everyone on our e-mail list and forum is already a HERO just for "reaching out".

2) Don't try and tackle "mammoth problems" all at once. They should be broken down into smaller areas that can be solved bit by bit, helping us build up our confidence as we progress until we are ready to take on the next challenge.

3) Little steps add up to impressive progress before we know it.

4) Challenges are part of our development, our growth, and our maturity.

5) Succeeding in bite-size steps will give us the strength to continue, without the temptation to turn to our "drug" of lust.

Attitude & Perspective
Endowed with wisdom
By Anonymous

Learn how to bear the mental pain of saying "No" to yourself. Naturally, we go to what feels good and we stay away from pain. We got that from cows. Animals don't understand that a painful experience can be beneficial. Try and explain surgery to a cow. All the cow understands is "Food", I go. "Pain", I go away.


But we humans were endowed with wisdom! Tell yourself, the pain I feel when saying "no" is GOOD for me. The pain I feel is HEALING me, and it is also fixing all that I have damaged in the past.

Here's something an x-addict wrote about pain on an Arutz Sheva Forum:

Many find themselves in destructive behavior when they feel pain and don't see a way out. When I felt pain, I wanted a way to avoid it ... which only took me further from reality.
It's OK to sit with pain ... it's better than the mind-numbing behaviors that remove us from the world.
Thank G-d that we FEEL AGAIN! ... even if it's pain.
Be assured that you are making progress.

Do you think you may have a porn addiction?

Do you have a problem with obsessive and compulsive porn use? Have you seriously tried the tools on GYE and feel that you are not getting better? Maybe it’s time to consider joining a 12-Step program.

Porn Anonymous (PA)
If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit (Hebrew: / Yiddish:

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
If your compulsive acting-out has progressed beyond the screen (with other people, paid sexual services, etc.) we suggest you explore joining Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). To figure out if SA is for you, call Dov at 917-414-8205, or email Dov at to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit

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