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Sex Addiction Terms

The following sex addiction terms are defined here to help individuals better understand the behaviors and symptoms of themselves or their loved ones.

Abstinence – stopping behaviors that are at the core of addictive patterns

Acting Out – Engaging in the addictive behaviors

Addiction – an inability to control problem behaviors despite negative consequences to one’s life, usually marked by an increase in intensity and frequency of problematic behaviors which results in secrecy and shame

Bottom Line Behaviors – behaviors which an addict stops order to maintain sobriety and physical, mental, sexual, and spiritual wholeness

Boundaries – personal limits with people, places, things, or activities to ensure self-protection

CoDA – Co-Dependents Anonymous, a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships.

Codependency – sometimes known as “relationship addiction,” is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship; and instead is often characterized with relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive, or abusive.

COSA – a Twelve-Step recovery program and fellowship of men and women whose lives have been affected by another person’s compulsive sexual behaviors.

CSAT – Certified Sex Addiction Therapist – licensed therapists who have undergone the specialized training and rigorous certification process of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) for the treatment of sexual addiction and multiple addictions.

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a form of psychotherapy aimed at reprocessing and resolving traumatic memories by stimulating both hemispheres of the brain. (commonly involving eye movement) which prompts the client to attend to both external and internal stimuli.

Love addiction – compulsive seeking of a relationship or romantic experience despite negative social, psychological and/or physical consequences; usually involving the pursuit of unavailable romantic interests or obsessing about potential mates.

Partner – in the addiction community, a term used to identify a person who is in a committed relationship with someone struggling with an addiction.

Porn addiction – the repeated use or abuse of pornography despite negative consequences, which may include loss of time, neglecting responsibilities, decrease in social contact poor professional performance, and distortions in one’s attitude toward intimacy.

RCA – Recovering Couples Anonymous – a twelve-step fellowship of recovering couples who suffer from many addictions and dysfunctions, and who help other recovering couples to restore their relationships.

Recovery – the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual repair process needed to reverse addiction.

SA – Sexaholics Anonymous – a twelve-step fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover.

SAA – Sex Addicts Anonymous – a twelve-step fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so they may overcome their sexual addiction and help others recover from sexual addiction or dependency.

S-ANON – a twelve-step fellowship and program of recovery for people who have been affected by someone else’s sexual addiction.

SCA – Sexual Compulsives Anonymous – a twelve-step fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from sexual compulsion.

Sex addiction – uncontrollable sexual activity that is secretive, shaming or abusive, and includes periods of distress or despair.

Sexual anorexia – Compulsive avoidance of social, sexual, or emotional nourishment.

S.L.A.A. – Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous – a twelve-step Fellowship of men and women who help each other in recovery from sex addiction and love addiction.

Sobriety – abstinence from addictive bottom-line behaviors, which promotes dignity, choice, and mental health.

Sponsor – a person in recovery who works closely with another Twelve-Step member to provide support and guidance in a Twelve-Step program.

STI – Sexually Transmitted Infections (formerly referred to as STD’s) – infections that are primarily spread through person-to-person sexual contact, or are transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, or through blood/tissue transfers.

Trigger – a person, place, thing, or activity, which activates an urge to engage in addictive behaviors.

Twelve Step Program – a set of guiding principles and actions for recovery from addiction, usually involves fellowship with other individuals who support each other in their recovery.

Withdrawal – the physical, psychological, and spiritual pain which follows a break in addictive behaviors.



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