What's the deal with sex addiction groups?


Navigating through the complicated web of "S" programs

So what's the deal with all of the different 12-step groups for sex addiction?

There are several different groups based on the original model of Alcoholics Anonymous for those who are dealing with sex addiction or for those who are impacted by their partner's sexual behavior. Depending on where you are in the world, some of these groups are more active than others. Since I'm writing from LA, though, I thought I'd write about the basic differences between "S" programs in Los Angeles. It can be tough to navigate through all the different options, particularly in a place that has a lot of options. I hope this provides a basic overview of the main sex addiction 12-step groups.


12-step "S" meetings for those with compulsive sexual behaviors:

SAA - Sex Addicts Anonymous

SAA is perhaps the largest program in Los Angeles. Sexuality is so complex and nuanced for each of us, and the sexual behavior or behaviors that might be problematic for one individual might not be for another. Hence, SAA allows each individual member to define what behavior they are abstaining from. So unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, where taking a drink of alcohol defines "sobriety" in SAA, the nature of the "drink" varies from individual to individual, just as sexuality varies from individual to individual. An advantage of this program is it accounts for the complexity of our sexuality. A drawback is that leaving the definition of abstinence to the individual can lead to unclear understandings of sobriety.

On their website they say, "Most of us have no desire to stop being sexual altogether. It is not sex in and of itself that causes us problems, but the addiction to certain sexual behaviors. In SAA we will be better able to determine what behavior is addictive and what is healthy. However, the fellowship does not dictate to its members what is and isn't addictive sexual behavior. Instead we have found that it is necessary for each member to define his or her own abstinence."

SA - Sexaholics Anonymous

Sexaholics Anonymous defines sobriety from compulsive sexual behaviors as abstaining from any sexual behaviors with yourself or anyone else outside of marriage. One of the advantages of this program is that it clearly defines sobriety for each individual. A drawback of this program is that it does not take into consideration the diversity of sexual expression, orientation, or sexuality among those not married.

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This article was originally published at Dan Drake . Reprinted with permission from the author.