Sexaholics Anonymous

Sexaholics Anonymous is a self-help group that helps its members to stop lusting and attain sexual sobriety. Members have issues with using sexual acting out as a way to deal with low self-esteem and a lack of connection to other people.

Sexaholics Anonymous Overview

People who don't like themselves and who didn't establish close relationships with others in childhood may turn to fantasy and erotic images as a way to tune out and avoid those negative feelings. For members of Sexaholics Anonymous, the road to healing is made up of three factors: physical, emotional, and spiritual.


Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who offer each other support in their effort to learn how to stop lusting and create true intimacy in their lives. All a person needs to become a member of the group is the desire to stop acting out and become sexually sober. The group is self-supporting through donations from members, and there are no fees or dues to join.

Traditions, Steps, and Process

This is a 12-step program and it uses a similar list of steps similar to the one used by Alcoholics Anonymous. For a sexaholic, having solitary sex or intimate relations with anyone other than one's spouse is a destructive act, since it is being driven by lust. To recover, the sexaholic must learn to control his or her lust.

By attending meetings and sharing their experiences and successes, Sexaholics Anonymous members can learn how to stay sexually sober by taking one day at a time. Attempting to control one's compulsive behavior without sexual sobriety is not an option for Sexaholics Anonymous members.

Effectiveness: Does Sexaholics Anonymous Work?

Sexaholics Anonymous states that its program works; however, since members remain anonymous, there are no success rates released to the public.

Controversy and Criticism

This group has been criticized for putting forward a restricted view of what sexual sobriety is. In particular, the "no masturbation" component has come under fire. Therapists who work with sex addicts have stated that this is only appropriate for some of their clients. Some sex therapists advocate the use of pornography and/or masturbation to their clients as a means of exploring their sexuality.

Sexaholics Anonymous has also been criticized for declaring that the definition of a spouse is "one's partner in a marriage between a man and a woman." Homosexuals are not barred from becoming members of Sexaholics Anonymous, though.

Getting a Sponsor

New members of Sexaholics Anonymous are encouraged to find a sponsor shortly after joining the group. In this organization, a sponsor is someone of the same gender who can support the new person in his or her effort to achieve sexual sobriety. The sponsor is someone who can share his or her journey and answer questions for the newcomer.

Find a Sexaholics Anonymous Meeting Near You

You can find meetings by going to the Meeting Search page on the Sexaholics Anonymous web site. Click on the location closest to you, and you will be directed to an e-mail link that you can use to contact a local chapter.