Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

Sexual Addiction

Tiger Woods, Russel Brand, David Duchovny and Charlie Sheen are celebrities who all brought sex addiction into the spotlight. However, a new study published in the scientific journal Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology suggests that sex addiction is not a real disorder.

As someone who has worked extensively with sex addicts, I absolutely cannot support these findings. The study analysed the neural responses of sex addicts when exposed to pornography. They concluded that because the results differed to those of drug addicts, sex addiction is not the same thing.

Sex addiction has same devastating consequences as other addictions

While it may not have the same neural response as drug or alcohol addiction, it has the same devastating consequences in the lives of sufferers. There is no question that sex addiction is real, and it is something that affects thousands of people worldwide.

Conflicting information created niche for support groups

It is because of the conflicting information in the media, and the fact that this subject is considered so taboo that I have set up two specialist support groups in the Eastern Cape. One group, which meets weekly, is for those suffering from sex addiction, and the other is for the partners of the addicts.

Because this issue is so controversial, the partners often don’t have anyone that they can talk to. They feel lost and are afraid of being judged if they say anything to friends or family. I realised after counselling many sex addicts that there was a huge need for their partners to have a safe place to share too.

What is sex addiction?

Although there are many definitions of sex addiction, it can be described as any sexual behaviour which becomes compulsive, interfering with the individual’s normal life, causing stress and tension in relationships with family and loved ones, and affecting their work environment.

Sex addiction is ironically not about sex

It stems from sufferers trying to compensate for something in their lives that is missing, like seeking comfort after being abandoned by someone they loved. Addicts use sex to compensate for something in their lives which is missing. To treat it, they need to identify the trigger - go back to the root cause. Only then can addicts begin the road to recovery.

Sex addiction starts with an escalation in sexual behaviour

Individuals may be preoccupied with porn and masturbation, but it often progresses to voyeurism and exhibitionism. Sex addicts often cheat on their partners, putting their own health, and that of their family at risk. The issue escalates further and further as they push boundaries and sex is their drug of choice.

I believe that the internet has led to an increase in instances of sex addiction

When people are looking for a release, or are seeking to fill a void in themselves, they turn to coping mechanisms that make them feel better. For some it can be alcohol, for others it is food and for others it is sex. The release of serotonin in the brain following orgasm can become addictive. It often starts with porn because it is so easily accessible on the internet. However, as with other drugs, the addicts seek more frequent and stronger ‘highs’ and so their behaviour escalates.

Sex addiction is treatable

I believe that with the correct therapy, and a supportive environment, relationships between an addict and their family can be repaired

It is a very tough road, and it involves a lot of forgiveness and the rebuilding of trust, but I have seen many successes. I would strongly advise those who might be suffering from sex addiction, or those who can see themselves going down this path, to seek help.

These are some questions that individuals can ask themselves to see if they might be suffering from sex addiction:

  1. Do you feel that you have lost control of your sexual behaviour?
  2. Do thoughts of sex constantly enter your mind?
  3. Are you struggling to focus on daily activities because you’re preoccupied with sexual thoughts or sexual activities?
  4. Has your sexual behaviour ever caused relationship issues, or issues in your workplace?
  5. Do you find yourself seeking increasing ‘highs’ from your sexual behaviour – experimenting in things that you know might be harmful to yourself or your family?
  6. Has your sexual behaviour caused severe health consequences such as STD’s, HIV risk?

To find out more about the sex addiction support groups for sufferers and their family members, contact Leandie Buys on: 041 379 5851 or email info@leandiebuys.co.za This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Contact Leandie
+27 (0)41 379 5851 info@leandiebuys.co.za Email me Visit us on facebook

Sexology is a professional and specialised area of therapy which explores the many physical and emotional reasons for sexual difficulties.


Anyone who has experienced relationship or sexual difficulties for a long period of time would benefit from seeking professional counselling.


According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 3 out of 10 men, and 4 out of 10 women, experience sexual problems.