Clinicians have a diversity of views on the question of what to call out-of-control sexual behavior. At the SAT Project, we are much more interested in your experience than in some pre-conceived notion of how to understand your experience. In our clinical experience, different people have different ways of understanding the challenges they face, and we have found the best clinical results in working with our clients and patients, rather than telling them how to understand the circumstances they face.
In December 2016, we joined with a number of other sex therapists and sex addiction therapists in validating a diversity of ways of understanding out-of-control sexual behavior. The statement we issued is below. If you are a clinician and you would like to add your name to the list of signatories, please click here.
Statement concerning the phenomenon of out-of-control sexual behavior, the language used to describe it, and the methods used to treat it
Many Americans suffer from sexual behavior over which they feel powerless, over which they feel out of control.
Many counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals have considerable skill and experience in working with people who suffer from these challenges. Some of us understand these challenges as out-of-control sexual behavior, and some understand them as sex (or porn) addiction.
Good clinicians – and associations of clinicians – disagree on the question of whether sex addiction is, or should be, considered a mental health disorder. Good clinicians have honest disagreements about whether sex addiction and porn addiction are useful or damaging diagnostic categories, whether the concept of addiction is appropriate when thinking about out-of-control sexual behavior, and what the best approach to treatment is for someone whose sexual behavior presents problems.
We the signatories of this letter have a diversity of views on these questions, but we agree – and believe it important to proclaim – that no organization has a monopoly on the truth, and no clinical approach has a monopoly on efficacy. The science is not conclusive, our clinical experiences are varied, but we all agree: help is available. If you suffer from what you think of as out-of-control sexual behavior or sex addiction, get help, and get it from someone whose understanding of the challenges you face matches yours, whose approach feels likely to be helpful to you.
Note: All of the signatories of this letter are sex therapists, sex addiction therapists, or both. Some have been certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP), or both, while others have chosen not to pursue certification by one or both of those organizations. Some are members of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), some are members of the Association for Partners of Sex Addicts Treatment Specialists (APSATS), and some are members of both, or neither.
This letter is in response to AASECT’s recent statement that “linking problems related to sexual urges, thoughts or behaviors to a porn/sexual addiction process cannot be advanced by AASECT as a standard of practice for sexuality education delivery, counseling or therapy,” and to SASH’s recent statement asserting unequivocally that “sex and porn addiction are real.”
We the signatories of this letter believe both statements were unhelpful to the many people who suffer from out-of-control sexual behavior. (List in formation.)
- Lana M. Ackway, LCSW-R, CASAT (New York, NY)
- Rick Barnett, PsyD, LADC, S-PSB (Stowe, VT)
- Arthur Baur, MSW, LCSW, NIPTI (Maine and New York)
- Eric Belsterling, LPC, LCAS, CSAT, SP (Asheville, NC)
- Jenner Bishop, LMFT, CSAT-S (Oakland, CA)
- Eve Blatt, LCSW-R (New York, NY)
- Jeremy Q. Boberg, LCSW, ASUDC, CMAT (Eagle Mountain, UT)
- Christine Arnold Chapman, LCSW-R, Psychoanalyst (New York, NY)
- Carol Chehade, LCSW (Miami, FL)
- Connie Clark, LMHC (Jacksonville, IL)
- Jodi F. Conway, LADC, MAC, CSAT (Topsfield, MA)
- Daniel J. Cook, MA, LMHC (New York, NY)
- Michael Crocker, DSW, LCSW, MA (New York, NY)
- Santiago Delboy, MBA, MSW, LSW, S-PSB (Chicago, IL)
- Marcus Earle, PhD, LMFT (Chandler, AZ)
- Mark Falango, LCSW, CSAT (New Hope, PA)
- Merry Frons, PhD, LCSW, CSAT, CAC (New York, NY)
- Brad Gilbert, MFT, CSAT (Sacramento, CA)
- Anne Stirling Hastings, PhD (Camarillo, CA)
- Debra L. Kaplan, MA, MBA, LPC, CSAT-S (Tuscon, AZ)
- Pamela Kohll, MS, LMHC, CSAT-S, CCPS, CHFP (New York, NY)
- Marie Krebs, MS, LPC-, LCDC, MAC, NCACII, SRT, CCPS, CDWF (Dallas, TX)
- David R. Llewellyn, MA, LMHC, CSAT (Naples, FL)
- Nathan E. Lundin, NCC, LPC-S, CSAT (O’Fallon, MO)
- Don L. Mathews (Walnut Creek, CA)
- Barbara Mazarella, LCSW (New York, NY)
- Gilbert McCurdy, MBA, LCSW-R, CGP (New York, NY)
- Linda McEvatt, LCSW (New York, NY)
- Barry W. McVay, MA, LPC (Portland, OR)
- Kelly Moylan, LCSW (New York, NY)
- Carl Nelke, MA, LCSW, LLC (New York, NY)
- Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW, CSAT, SEP (Houston, TX)
- Mark Reid, MFT, CSAT
- Nathan Rice, LCSW, S-PSB (New York, NY)
- Robert Rovner, PhD (Chevy Chase, MD)
- Heather Seguin, LMFT, CSAT (Glendora, CA)
- Craig Sloane, LCSW, CASAC, CSAT-C (New York, NY)
- Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S (Los Angeles, CA)
- Barbara Winter, PhD (Boca Raton, FL)
- Josh Wolf-Powers, MBA, LCSW (New York, NY)
- Aline Zoldbrod, PhD (Lexington, MA)
If you are a clinician and you would like to join the list of signatories to this letter, please click here.