Sexual Behaviour

Are you concerned that you may have problems with your sexual behaviour?


Worried that your sexual behaviour is out of control? It can be a difficult and confusing time when your sex instinct begins to run riot.

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Life can sometimes feel chaotic as relationships become complicated and situations seem unmanageable.  There may also be personal reputational damage as a consequence of your actions in addition to law and order accountability.


It may seem very difficult knowing which way to turn when faced with such confusion.


It can be even more confusing when considering to reach out for professional help. Some therapists don’t accept the term ‘sex addiction’. Indeed the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), currently in its fifth iteration, is often considered the psychiatric bible for assessing addictive behaviours. DSM5 recognises gambling as the only non-substance addictive disorder (gaming disorder is acknowledged as an area for further investigation).


There can also be a lot of moralistic bias in the therapy world about sexual definitions and sex therapy can sometimes produce a polarised opinion about treatment options.



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A rough rule of thumb when assessing whether your sexual behaviour is problematical or not is to ask yourself whether there are any adverse consequences on other parts of your life.


For instance, do you find yourself having to break commitments you have made to others as a result of your sexual behaviour?


Perhaps you have previously agreed to be faithful and monogamous but then find yourself breaking this commitment and feeling bad about the change.


Or, perhaps you experience guilt and remorse following some aspects of your sexual behaviour.


It might be that you are compromising your value system by engaging in certain activities that produce mixed feelings.


Or, it might be that there is a loss of control over certain behaviours.


Your Behaviour Is Your Behaviour



Your behaviour should not be anyone else’s business. What constitutes problem behaviour for one person might be deemed alternative lifestyle choices for someone else.


Provided no one else is getting hurt and everyone is consenting then perhaps there is no problem.  However, when you start to feel compelled to engage in certain behaviours it could be that your sexual behaviour is beginning to cause problems.


There may have been developmental ruptures growing up which have impacted your choices in adulthood. These could have been perceived rejection from primary caregivers at crucial stages of the attachment process, for instance.


This could potentially set up an attachment style that perpetually seeks inappropriate partners.


It is important to work out what is underlying any problem behaviour and re-evaluate current behaviours with a new lens.



There might be some historical toxicity from your past that is causing problems.


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It could be, for instance, that you received negative messages in your family, schooling or from a religious upbringing that sex was bad and not to be enjoyed.


There might also be confusion about sexual identity and what it means to have same-sex relations. Sexual fantasies that find expression in the cyber world can also produce some confusion.


It should not be the role of a therapist to tell you what to do in any area of your life, especially how you should live your life sexually.  Therapy can help when you start to experience low mood, depression or anxiety in your interpersonal relations or from your sexual activities.


Dealing with toxic messaging from the past can be transformative as you devise a new healthy and more positive way of being in the world.

Getting Help For Sex Addiction


There are many support groups for people suffering from problematical sexual behaviours. Some, such as Sex Anonymous (SA) and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), broadly adopt the substance abuse model of recovery that advocates an abstinence-based approach using the 12 Steps of Recovery.


You can find meeting details in your area by searching online. Attending such meetings with a room full of strangers might seem daunting but it could be useful to remember that everyone is there for the same reason. Such networks potentially offer a social support system that can help you to identify your problem areas and to begin a recovery path.


Sex is an area where it might be more realistic to adopt a harm reduction strategy by identifying what might be termed ‘low bottom behaviours’.


Think of what it would mean for certain behaviours to feel ‘rock bottom’.


This is when you seek to identify and uncover those behaviours that cause the most trouble in your life and which produce the most amount of guilt and remorse. For example, you might decide to stop having secretive affairs especially with married people rather than completely refraining from all sexual activity. Or you might decide to refrain from going to brothels or procuring erotic massages from sex workers.


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Seeking an abstinence-based approach to ‘low bottom behaviours’ might be a useful way of remaining within your own moral compass.


It is for you to devise such a list not somebody else on your behalf. You should feel free to devise your own list rather than believe that you need to conform to what might be expected from you.


Sex should be something that enhances your sense of esteem and enjoyment. It is for you to decide which activities will boost your well-being.

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Activities such as swinging, for example, need not be considered problematical so long as you are engaging in legal activity and getting involved with consenting adults.


It might become a problem area, however, when you are really pleasing a partner to go to sex parties or when you begin to consistently experience low mood after such occasions.  The word consistently should be noted.


We all experience low mood doing certain behaviours. The key is to acknowledge when you are doing something repeatedly in spite of adverse consequences.


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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.