Sex addiction is an escalating state of dysfunction affecting body, mind and spirit. It is a series of sexual acting-out behaviors that are kept secret and are abusive to self or others. Sex addiction is used to avoid painful feelings, but often can be the source of such feelings.
Acting out sexually for a sex addict alters consciousness and feelings. It is a mental preoccupation which includes obsession and compulsion, and is devoid of a caring relationship. Sex addicts are unable to stop their behaviors on their own, but can be responsive to the recovery process using a 12-step model such as Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA).
A formal disclosure is an important piece when putting together the recovery puzzle. It involves the sex addict and his or her partner meeting with a therapist trained in sex and love addiction issues.