Types of Sex Addicts: Part 4

This week, we are going through the different types of sexual addicts.  Teri and Tamara started the weeks blog off with the different types of socially forgivable behaviors, and Natalie started the discussion Wednesday of the more socially unforgivable behaviors in sexual addiction.  Today we will wrap up with the last two sex addiction behaviors, that tend to be far less understood- based on the work of Maureen Canning, author and expert in the field of sexual addiction: Fetishism:  is an obsession with an object or a body part for the purpose of sexual arousal and/or sexual acting out.  Fetishism is a more detached escape from reality, because the focus is on an object rather than a person.  The sexually addicted person experiences sexual pleasure without even the fantasy of human contact or a person.  Sometimes, the object is used to stimulate a fantasy of human contact. This can lead emotional isolation and further relationship problems, as the sexual addict becomes more ingrained in the obsession of the object and the compulsion to sexually act out-- all at a distance from true intimacy and relationship.

Bestiality:  Is an attraction or interaction with animals for sexual arousal.  The sexual addict is really searching for love, touch and nurturing, but at some point in their lives, this need has been confused with sexuality. Combined with the fear of emotional vulnerability and intimacy, this urge is acted out with animals, rather than people.  This form of sexual addiction does not just happen in rural areas or in farming communities, though Maureen Canning states that it can be more common in farming communities because of the more natural process of witnessing the sexual/birthing process of animals.

If you are struggling with a sexual addiction, or if you have a loved one struggling with sexual addiction, here are some additional resources:

Sexual Addiction? by Tamara Portee -

Sex Addicts Anonymous-

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous-

Lust, Anger, Love:  Understanding Sexual Addiction and the Road to Healthy Intimacy, by Maureen Canning, MA, LMFT  (website at

Out of the Shadows, by Patrick Carnes(also, Patrick Carnes website on sexual addiction at: )

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.