/ By Brandon McDonald

As you can imagine, here at Desert Solace we see sex addiction as an issue that can be harmful to lives, families and marriages. That is why Desert Solace treats men who struggle with sexual addictions, including pornography addiction. However, there are people out there who don’t believe that sex addiction is real.


There’s a lot of confusion about whether sex addiction is a legitimate disorder because it’s not in the DSM, which is the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” There has been quite a lot of controversy about whether to include sexual addiction in the DSM and a lot of the pushback to recognition of this disorder is politically and financially related. It was pulled out of the DSM and one of the reasons given for this at the time was that there was a concern this would be used to get sex offenders a reduced sentence in court cases. Another likely reason for opposition is from insurance companies who don’t want to be on the hook to pay for sexual addiction treatment.


There’s since been a lot of controversy in the field about what to call sex addiction and differing interpretations of research into this field. Recently, there was a major breakthrough because the World Health Organization included it in the ICD-11 which is the “International Classification of Diseases.” So we actually have a diagnosis of Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder in the ICD-11 which goes a long way to legitimize that this is a real problem.

Your Individual Experience Is What Matters

The problem we have with the argument of whether sex addiction (including pornography addiction) is a real disorder is that it is very invalidating for the individual who is struggling with unwanted sexual behaviors or compulsive pornography use. The world can argue all they want about whether sex addiction is real, but that does nothing for the person whose marriage or career or life is being negatively affected by their unwanted compulsive behaviors. Telling them that their experience isn’t “real” does nothing to get them the help that they need and may only cause them to feel hopeless and more distressed. If you or a loved one is experiencing harmful consequences from compulsive sexual behaviors, don’t let anyone else tell you that what you’re going through isn’t legitimate!


What we know at Desert Solace is that compulsive sexual behaviors are very real and have very negative consequences in the lives of the hundreds of men we have treated here. Their behaviors may have negatively affected their marriage, their family life, their career, or even their standing in their church. Repairing the damage caused by sexual addiction takes time and professional help.


One of the biggest reasons we do what we do at Desert Solace is that we get to see our clients leave here with a newfound hope and motivation to live life in a way that isn’t hampered by their sexual addiction.

We See Incredible Transformation in Our Clients at Desert Solace


Working with sex addicts is incredibly rewarding work. Usually by the time they come to treatment they are pretty motivated for change. They’ve had a lot of consequences around their sexual behaviors and there are not many therapists that specialize in treating sex addiction out there so not many therapists know how to treat sex addicts with the many different nuances that come with that. Our specialized program allows us to focus on compulsive or addictive sexual behaviors in a specialized way, but also to look at the issues that are underlying the addiction such as traumas, resentments and family of origin issues.


One thing that differentiates us from other programs is the depth and quality of trauma work that the clients get here. There’s just no other program that gives the same level of trauma therapy that we give at Desert Solace.  We see that as we help our clients work through their past traumas, they make massive progress, and it’s amazing to see the transformation happen.

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