Sex Addiction — Family & Friends

Support the most important people in your life

It’s the elephant in the room. Your family member or friend has been acting distant, indifferent, and not open to discussing what’s wrong. There’s a heaviness.

Perhaps whispers of some form of addiction have been shared. There are signs that may include financial hardships, drastic mood changes, and employment issues. You’re looking for help, however, other family and friends are either enabling your loved one or distancing themselves. You feel isolated.

Before you get to the heart of the matter with direct, mindful communication—you need an effective, empathetic plan. Review our resources and give us a call if you’d like to speak with counselors who have helped thousands recover from sex addiction.

photo of a father with sex addiction

How to Help a Sex Addict Family Member

If you’re reading this, your family member’s sexual addiction and compulsive behaviors  are likely affecting more than a few people. 

Your family members will need the support of those who care about them. The more people who are affected by the consequences of your loved one’s sex addiction, the more likely they will seek help. While not everyone is an information and counsel seeker like you, each family member has a unique role to play in your loved one’s recovery. The plan should include outreach that encourages everyone to reach out to the loved one with greetings and well wishes—no more, no less.

For more specific, pre-therapy recommendations, please check out our Resources page and reach out to us for an initial consultation.

Knowing someone who is addicted to sex effects everyone in a unique way. Some people can manage it casually, while others may take it harder and suffer from depression, hopelessness and apathy, or substance abuse.

photo of a friend battling sex addiction

You’re not alone. We provide information on support groups on our Resources page. Learn more there, or reach out to us for guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

It depends on each unique family and core of friends, but for the most part, yes. When someone is suffering from sex addiction, they’ll likely not be themselves. They’ll be distant, emotional, and they’ll possibly be engaging in activities that are dangerous to their health. All of this can take an equally devastating toll on the sex addict’s family and friends. This is why we recommend that family and friends of a sex addict should also seek counseling, especially if they’re highly invested in the relationship, and they’re experiencing such things as depression or self-blame.

While some addictions can be linked to one’s genetic disposition, the consensus is still mixed when it comes to sex addiction. Most research points to a person’s genetic predisposition toward compulsive behaviors, depression, and anxiety rather than overindulgent sexual behavior.  

For the parties who do believe that sex addiction is genetic, they usually point to underlying chemical irregularities that are passed down from one generation to another, such as oxytocin regulation (not to be confused with the drug oxycontin). Another condition that can be linked to sexual addiction is high levels of hormones, however, it’s more an influential factor to people already predisposed to compulsive behavior.

We’ll dive deep into your family history to determine whether or not genetics is playing a part.

There is research that shows sex addicts are more likely to have suffered abuse at an early age. In fact, our friend Patrick Carnes, PhD,  shares that 85% of sex addicts have suffered either physical, emotional or sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. The family structure that often produces sex addicts are known to have high standards for their children as how they are to act and what they are to accomplish in life.  

However what is also true is that these families are most often “disengaged”- like ships passing in the night. They have the high standards, but are unavailable to teach their children how to reach these standards. We see this observation as another reason why sex addicts need to be approached with compassion and empathy, and not judgement and criticism.