May 29, 2014

Sexual Addiction and Life Satisfaction

Dr. Kevin Skinner, Clinical Director at Addo Recovery

A few years ago, I decided to add two measurements of happiness to my research with individuals dealing with sexual addiction. I had already included scales for assessing depression and anxiety, but I felt that assessing the happiness level of individuals dealing with sexual addiction would give me another perspective. I wondered how individuals struggling with compulsive behaviors would score in comparison to the general population.

The answer? Both married and single individuals dealing with sexual addiction scored significantly lower than the general population. I was stunned.

In fact, I sent the scores to the author of one of the scales to get feedback. The author asked for more information about my sample because it was one of the lowest she had seen. My sample had been completed by more than 1500 people from all over the world. They came from various religious backgrounds, economic situations, and ethnic backgrounds.

These results validate my experience in working with individuals who are struggling with sexually compulsive behaviors. In general, they want to be happy and yet their compulsive behaviors hinder their personal level to find happiness and overall life satisfaction. This finding has helped me realize that when I am working with individuals trapped in sexual addiction I need to focus on helping them find and develop a better quality of life—I want to help them improve their life satisfaction.

In my work I discuss how individuals can significantly improve their quality of life as they go through the healing and recovery process. Recently, I read that Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, said that the study of happiness is as effective as taking an anti-depressant. If that is true, I believe that the study of happiness could be a very effective way to combat an addiction. If you struggle with addiction and want to improve your quality of life, I strongly recommend that you begin a study of how to improve your quality of life.

Here’s a quick suggestion: At the end of each day take a few minutes to write down three things that you are grateful for and why each of those three things happened. The research shows that this habit will improve your level of happiness. This may sound silly, but finding the good in each day is a way to naturally improve your overall quality of life.

If you are struggling with a sexual addiction, I invite you to consider your quality of life. Are you happy? Do you like where your life is heading? If not, one starting place is to take stock of your quality of life and begin taking steps to increase you level of happiness. Good luck in your journey!


Dr. Kevin Skinner
Clinical Director, Addo Recovery

Further Reading