Sexual Addiction

In recent years we have been seeing increasing numbers of clients who have expressed concern that their sexual behaviours are feeling out of control.

The term sexual addiction has been the subject of several high profile celebrity cases. Whilst raising awareness of the condition it has often been misunderstood or misrepresented and often cited as simply an excuse for bad behaviour.

At CP counselling we are less interested in labels but interested in dealing with the impact of seemingly out of control sexual behaviours and the effect on partners. However the following definitions may be useful for you in determining if you need to seek help.

"Sexual addiction is defined as any sexually related, compulsive behaviour which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and one's work environment." (Patrick Carnes,


What Others May See

  • Unaccounted for time or spending
  • Withdrawal, isolation from family/friends
  • Secrecy
  • Lack of interest in sex within primary relationship or sexual dysfunction within relationship
  • Irritability, angry outbursts
  • Lying

Types of Addictive Behaviour

  • Fantasy
  • Pornography
  • Cybersex
  • Anonymous sex
  • Paid sex

If you think that some or all sound familiar to you or to someone close to you then this may be the time to get help.

A free internet resource can be found at where you can download a questionnaire to assess your needs. The book, ‘Understanding and Treating Sex Addiction’ by Paula Hall is a good starting point towards recovery.

Arrived at counselling with a level of scepticism that process would make no difference to my condition, however quickly realised the benefit of sessions and actually enjoyed the experience.

CPC Client


The discovery that a spouse or partner has been 'acting out' due to a sexual addiction is a devastating discovery. Many partners describe it as the worst form of betrayal. Often there are no signs that this has been happening. Many partners report that up to the discovery they had absolutely no idea that their partner had a problem.

What is also often reported by partners is that the discovery that their spouse or partner has been leading a secret sexual life now leaves them with a dilemma - "Who can I tell?"

There is still a great deal of misunderstanding and judgment around the subject of sex addiction. This can result in the partner feeling dumped with secrets and shame.

Finding appropriate help in this situation is not easy. During the 1990s many professionals subscribed to viewing the partners of sex addicts as co addicts, in some cases it was inferred that they were somehow responsible for the partner's addiction.

At CP Counselling we offer ‘partner sensitive’ support, creating an environment where the partner can feel heard, understood and equipped to deal with the pain.

The book, ‘Your Sexually Addicted Spouse’ by Barbara Steffens is a good resource and starting point for partners.

Liz Copestake at C P Counselling works closely with and is trained by ATSAC (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity) and works constantly to update the understanding of this complex issue through ongoing CPD, training and groups. is a useful resource.


If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, there are several ways to contact us.

  • Park House, Church Place, Swindon, SN1 5ED
  • Office: 01793 339 482
  • Mob: 07971 627478 (Annie Law)
  • Mob: 07714 393436 (Liz Copestake)