Five Questions to Assess Problematic Sexual Behavior

Five Categories of Problematic Sexual BehaviorIn 2017 I published an article titled "A Framework for Categorizing Chronically Problematic Sexual Behavior" in the journal Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity.  This short article presented a way to assess a person's sexual behavior patterns for any problematic aspects without the need to apply labels or theories and in a way that applies equally to people who hold very different sexual values, norms and practices.  It solved some dilemmas that I've long had with the limitations of the "sex addiction" theory base and realized my desire to open up services to people who do not have diminished self-control but still have a need for formalized professional assistance. It took me 15 years to crack the code and the result ultimately seems very simple and common sense.

This article was well received among its few readers and it was awarded Article of the Year by the publisher.  It's central ideas went on to form the basis for the "Advanced Topics in Problematic Sexual Behavior (ATPSB)" certificate training offered to therapists by the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH).  People who have taken this training report that this simple framework is both easy to understand and helpful in a variety of settings and applications.

This year I was honored to receive the "Carnes Award" by SASH for my development of this theory-neutral way of understanding problematic sexual behavior patterns.  Since any problem with a pattern of sexual behavior is discoverable in these five common-sense questions it's no longer necessary to assess the type or frequency of a person's sexual behavior.  SASH has just published this 12 x 18 inch poster that does an admirable job of presenting the essence of this framework in an easy to understand format. 

This simple framework is a robust 'utility tool' for opening up lots of important sexual health conversations without labels or even a requirement of pathology to access assistance protocols.  It informs the many men's groups I offer in my Atlanta counseling practice.  I could retire now feeling that I have made a lasting contribution to decreasing sexual suffering and shame through this framework.  I hope people continue to find it helpful in various settings and applications and I welcome questions, challenges, suggestions and general feedback.

Bill

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT is an Atlanta therapist and counselor who offers individual, relationship and group therapy for lots of different adult situations, including difficulties related to a wide range of non-criminal problematic sexual behavior patterns.