/ By admindesert

The concept of relapse is one that’s known throughout various forms of addiction, and those who deal with sex addiction are no exception. Unlike relapse from a substance abuse addiction, however, sex addiction relapse can be more nuanced and tougher to define when you consider that sex, on its own, is often a normal and important part of healthy relationships. 

At Desert Solace, we’re proud to offer caring residential and outpatient sex addiction and pornography addiction programs to patients in Arizona, Nevada and Idaho. Here are some basics on what makes sex addiction relapse a bit tougher to define and manage than other kinds of relapse, plus some notable skills that often help those in sex addiction recovery to avoid triggers and relapse risks.

Why Sex Addiction Relapse Can be More Nuanced

As we alluded to above, an individual’s sex life is often a normal, healthy part of maintaining a relationship with another person. So when it comes to relapse from a sex addiction, it can be difficult to draw the line between what constitutes healthy sexual activity and the compulsive behavior associated with addiction.

For example, one might consider having intercourse with their partner on a regular basis as a healthy thing, when in reality it could be a sign of relapse. It’s also important to note that sex addiction can manifest differently for different people. For one person it might mean compulsively seeking out new for casual sex, while for another it may involve compulsive masturbation or pornography use.

Taking Over Your Life

In most cases, the threshold used to determine whether sexual behavior constitutes a relapse is when that behavior begins to take over and disrupt other aspects of life. This could include missing work or activities due to the addiction, neglecting relationships, financial hardship due to compulsive spending on sex-related activities, or an inability to stop the addictive behaviors despite efforts at self-control.

Our next several sections will go over quality tools for avoiding relapse during sex addiction recovery.

Identifying Unhealthy Behaviors

For several reasons, a major emphasis during the early stages of sex addiction treatment is identifying and understanding the behaviors that are associated with the addiction. This includes compulsive sex, pornography use, obsessive thoughts about sex or a partner, lying about sexual activities or stalking potential partners.

Once these behaviors have been identified and understood, it’s important to take ownership of them—acknowledging their presence in an individual’s life and understanding the impact they can have. Taking ownership often involves honest self-assessment and identification of one’s triggers, which can help in recognizing when a relapse is likely to occur.

Knowing Triggers

Speaking of triggers, they’re a vital part of this conversation. A trigger is anything that can prompt or encourage a relapse, and triggers are often linked to certain emotions, people, places or situations. For example, an individual may be triggered by a person who represents temptation for them or a place that reminds them of past indiscretions.

Recognizing these triggers early on in the treatment process is often key for helping an individual avoid relapse. That’s why we work closely with our patients to help them identify and recognize their triggers, so that they can be more aware of them and better prepared to manage their responses when faced with them in the future.


There are several forms of support that can have a significant impact on the success of sex addiction recovery. This includes personal therapy sessions with a qualified therapist, attending support groups, having healthy relationships and a strong network of peers in similar situations.

In some cases, medication may also be recommended or prescribed to help manage symptoms associated with an individual’s sex addiction relapse risks. When combined with the other forms of support mentioned above, medication can have an even greater impact on relapse prevention.

Limiting Screen Time

For many people struggling with sex addiction, one of the biggest relapse risks comes from excessive use of digital devices and technology. That’s why limiting screen time can be an effective tool for relapse prevention.

This may involve using a timer or app to track how much time is spent on different activities throughout the day, deleting certain apps that are associated with temptation or addiction, and refraining from using devices in bed or right before sleeping.

By taking these proactive steps, individuals can better manage the risk of relapse and reduce their reliance on digital devices that may encourage addictive behavior.

Taking Accountability

Another important part of avoiding relapse is building a sense of accountability into each day. This could include keeping track of progress in a journal, coming up with concrete goals and actions for the day or week ahead, or meeting with supportive individuals who can hold an individual accountable.

Ultimately, relapse prevention is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and dedication to remain successful. Understanding both the risk factors associated with relapse and some of the key strategies for avoiding it are crucial steps in the recovery process. With this knowledge and a strong support system, individuals can create a plan for overcoming their addiction and improving their lives going forward.

At Desert Solace, we strive to empower each of our patients with the education, resources and support they need to create an effective relapse prevention plan. We believe that everyone deserves a chance at recovery, and we’re dedicated to helping our patients achieve lasting sobriety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with sex addiction and is in need of help, contact us to learn about our sex and porn addiction recovery programs in Arizona, Nevada and Idaho.