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Sex Addiction and Groundhog Day

What Do Sex Addiction and Groundhog Day Have In Common?

Do you remember the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell?  Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, is stuck reliving the same day over and over.  At first he is anxious and then becomes agitated with the repetition of the same day, over and over, again.  With the pattern of repetition set, he begins to manipulate situations to his advantage. The cycle escalates to the point where he hedonistically lives like there is no tomorrow, without consequences.  He is relegated to live a pattern that he would prefer not to repeat.

Sex Addiction, the Partner's Mistrust and Recovery

"To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say."  Rene Descartes

The betrayal and discovery of sex addiction in a relationship is a betrayal like no other.  As a CSAT, I sit with people who have felt that very unique betrayal.  Sex addicts are great at hiding and living very compartmentalized lives.  Rare is the sex addict that comes forward to proclaim that they have a problem and need to seek help or treatment.  Once the addiction is discovered, there is a dynamic in the relationship that ensues.  Trust is blown.  The partner feels like the only way to be sure that offending behaviors are arrested is to keep tabs on the offending partner.  In shock they feel if they had not discovered, or happened upon evidence of sorts, then they would have never known.  Continuing to seek the evidence results in what is commonly referred to “pain shopping” in recovery circles.  Pain shopping keeps one stirred up internally and as agitated or “crazy” as the addict is with their addiction. Pain shopping is a straight pipeline to enacting the codependency dynamic in the couple impacted by sex addiction.

Am I a Sex Addict?

Often I am asked to speak with physicians and other professionals in the community to help them understand more about sex addiction in their clinical practice.   A very quick and useful tool to understand if further evaluation is needed is something referred to as PATHOS.  


Physicians and mental health clinicians who have been trained to quickly screen for chemical dependency issues are aware of the  CAGE  Screening tool. (Have you ever tried to Cut back, Are people Annoyed by your use, Have you ever felt Guilty for your use, etc...)


PATHOS is the parallel screening tool to CAGE for Sex Addiction.

Is Sex Addiction Real?

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Is Sex Addiction Real?

Since the news reports that surfaced regarding Tiger Woods and speculations about his life, as a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), I am often asked:  “Is there really such a thing as sex addiction?”  Yes, in my training and in my observation, there is such a thing as sex addiction.   As a CSAT I sit with many people whose lives have been negatively impacted by unwanted, continued behaviors that they feel powerless to stop with regards to pornography, internet pornography, and/or sexual behaviors.  Their lives, their marriages, their relationships, and the productivity of their lives are impacted in severe and dramatic ways as a result of their sexual-seeking behaviors.