Because the cause of compulsive sexual behavior isn't known, it's not clear how it might be prevented, but a few things may help keep this type of behavior in check:

  • Get help early for problems with sexual behavior. Identifying and treating early symptoms may help prevent compulsive sexual behavior from getting worse over time, or escalating into a downward spiral of shame, self-esteem problems and harmful acts.
  • Seek treatment early for mental health disorders. Compulsive sexual behavior may be worsened by depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behavior.
  • Identify and seek help for alcohol and drug abuse problems. As with mental health disorders, substance abuse can cause a loss of control and unhappiness that can lead to poor judgment and may push you toward unhealthy sexual behaviors.
  • Seek treatment for childhood sexual abuse. Many people with compulsive sexual behavior were sexually abused as children. Appropriate professional treatment may help heal those emotional scars.
  • Avoid risky behaviors. Stay away from strip clubs, bars or other areas where it might be tempting to look for a new sexual partner. Likewise, it's a good idea to stay off the computer, or install software that blocks pornographic websites.
Sep. 15, 2011

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