Sexaholics Anonymous

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) is one of many twelve-step programs based on the original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. SA takes its place among various 12-step groups that seek recovery from sexual addiction: Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexual Compulsives Anonymous and Sexual Recovery Anonymous. Collectively these groups are referred to as "S" groups since all their acronyms begin with that letter: SA, SAA, SLAA, SCA, SRA.

SA helps recovering "sexaholics." According to the group, a sexaholic is someone for whom "lust has become an addiction." Thus SA distinguishes itself from other S groups by defining sexual sobriety as no sex with self or with partners other than their spouse. In 2001, the author of the SA White Book further refined this definition to mean a spouse in a heterosexual marriage. However homosexual sexaholics aren't excluded from participation in SA meetings and some homosexual SA groups have been formed under the traditional AA name of "Live and Let Live."

The group uses the book "Sexaholics Anonymous" (often referred to as "The White Book") as a guide. The book explains that "the sexaholic has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong. He or she has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop."


Unlike SLAA, which considers the AA Big Book as containing some outdated ideas and old-fashioned concepts, SA fully accepts and unabashedly encourages all AA General Conference-approved literature for use in SA meetings. Some SA groups will refer to AA literature more often than to their own SA texts. SA seeks to be somewhat of a replica of AA, applying all of AA's principles to lust and sexual addiction. In this sense, SA differentiates itself from other S-groups in having a more AA-style type of sobriety and view of relapses and thus the strictest kind of sobriety definition. Books:



Because SA's sobriety definition has clear roots in traditional Western morality, the movement has a great appeal to Evangelical Christians, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics and religious Jews. Jesus Christ taught in the gospels that lust was a serious sin and the Bible clearly forbids extramarital, adulterous and promiscuous sex.

The majority of SA members tend to be men since female sex addicts typically struggle with relational and sexual addictions simultaneously and often gravitate more towards Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Additionally, there is a greater cultural stigma placed on female sexual addicts than their male counterparts. Some heterosexual SA members obviously find it easier to be in a group with a smaller concentration of the opposite gender, since therein lies the object of their sexual addiction.

Some SA members appreciate SA's strict sobriety definition because it helps to avoid a self-defined sobriety that is too permissive. As with members of other S fellowships some SA members add additional behaviors to their "bottom lines" such as voyeurism, exhibitionism, viewing pornography, unsurrendered fantasy and objectification of others in an attempt to achieve "progressive victory over lust."


Some authors and psychologists who deal with sexual addiction feel that SA's sobriety definition is too restrictive, or that its definition, while well-meaning, errs in favor of traditional cultural and religious mores and misses many who act out with their spouse within their marriages. A leading psychologist involved in sexual addiction treatment, Patrick Carnes, clearly encourages self-defined sobriety in his writings, saying that a no-masturbation definition of sobriety is only appropriate for some sex addicts and that bottom lines can in fact be modified over time. Some gay and lesbian authors criticize SA for its pro-heterosexual marriage stance.

In their adherence to the 12 Traditions adapted from AA, other S groups do not offer an opinion on SA, or indeed on "any outside enterprise," but they might not agree with the opinion expressed here about them, that they are less similar to AA than SA. A common argument is that their approaches as potentially more accurate and more thorough, comprehensive treatment. Also other S Groups see their own programs as squarely based on AA's disease-concept, for example they forego use of the term 'lust' in describing sex addiction just as AA forgoes use of the term intemperance or gluttony to describe alcoholism. Some use the widely accepted term "compulsive sexual behavior" in use by the medical and psychology establishments.

Some feel that, by defining sexual sobriety as only occurring within a heterosexual marital union, SA has stepped beyond the role of treating a compulsive disease because it conflates sexual orientation with compulsivity, and thus has taken sides in the debate on the roots of homosexuality. Other S fellowships, meanwhile, take the position that the issue of sexual orientation is often a completely separate, or outside issue, and as such, they can have no opinion on it. Many people recovering from compulsive sexual behavior report that repressing their sexual orientation was fuel for their pattern of compulsivity, and that their sexual sobriety only became possible through acceptance of their sexual orientation.

Modern sexologists sometimes encourage the use of pornography and masturbation in order to explore and express one's own sexuality, however this is clearly forbidden to SA members abiding by their own literature.

The "founder" of SA himself, Roy K., has written a document about seeking a deeper surrender than currently occurs in many regular SA meetings. Some regular SA meetings can devolve into "relapse culture" where members continue to attend for years without ever accumulating any long-term sobriety. The issue is that anyone can attend SA as long as they claim to have a desire to be free from lust and be sexually sober (according to the 3rd tradition of SA) - yet there is usually no apparatus to quantify this desire and constant relapsers are tolerated.

Some Christian leaders generally criticize the 12-step movement's adherence to God as a "higher power" that can be defined by individual members as a God of their understanding.

See also

External links

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This article is based on "Sexaholics Anonymous" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: