Sex addiction is growing says therapist

Sex therapist Paul Lavergne talks about the escalation of sex addiction and its destructive wake at this year's Chatham-Kent Addictions Awareness Conference. Nov 28, 2019. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

The escalation of sex addiction and its destructive wake was the hot topic at this year’s Chatham-Kent Addictions Awareness Conference.

Paul Lavergne, one of the only certified sexual recovery therapists in Ontario, conducted a workshop in Chatham on Thursday on how to treat compulsive sexual behaviours (CSB’s). The workshop touched on how to assess and treat CSB’s, treatment plans, the impact on the partners of sex addicts, and the connection between CSB and other addictions.

Lavergne said pornography has become a serious problem and is responsible for a big loss of productivity at work because many people watch it at work on their smartphones or computers and masturbate several times a day on the job.

“Last year on one website alone there were 93 billion videos watched and it brings in more money than the NHL, the NBA, the NFL, and Major League Baseball put together,” Lavergne said.

Lavergne said sex addiction is similar to alcoholism and has the same criteria.

“Have you tried to stop this behaviour more than once and failed to do so, have you continued despite negative consequences, are you spending more and more time thinking about, planning, using and recovering from your sexual behaviours, do you have cravings and intrusive thoughts and obsessive feelings about this,” he added.

Lavergne said sex addiction has serious consequences and can get you fired, separated or divorced.

“I have worked with clients who have not gone two weeks without masturbating to pornography daily, I’ve had clients who masturbate five to 10 times a day, I’ve had clients who have slept with hundreds of escorts and prostitutes and paying for sex, and sometimes all of those things together,” said Lavergne.

Lavergne said one-third of all divorces in the U.S. are connected to the compulsive use of pornography or compulsive sexual behaviour.

“This is a tsunami that is heading to the shore and we’re not even seeing the worst of it right now. So, I think professionals need to get equipped to learn how to deal with this because it’s going to get much much worse,” Lavergne said.

Lavergne said roughly 80 per cent of his clients are men. He said sex addiction affects their mental health and sometimes has criminal repercussions if they escalate to watching illegal pornography.

Lavergne added the fastest growing demographic of porn users is women 18-25.

He recommends a 30 day reset to his sex addiction clients to solve the issue. That’s no porn, masturbation, or orgasm for 30 days to reset their brains.

About 100 people attended the workshop.