Sexual Addiction Counseling

Pat Franje
Board Certified Christian Counselor

Karla Christensen
Karla Christensen
Mahaska Health Partnership Counselor
You’ve heard of all sorts of addictions, including drugs or alcohol, but another serious addiction people struggle with is sexual.

Sexual addiction is a real mental illness, just like an addiction to drugs or other habits that take control of your life. In fact, sexual addiction is often the underlying cause of many other mental health issues.

Pat Franje is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor. He and MHP Counselor Karla Christensen received training through Patrick Carnes’ sexual addiction program to help people with this addiction. Carnes originally began the program around 20 years ago, after fighting his own battle with the illness.

Carnes’ program gives counselors the tools necessary to treat their community for sexual addiction. The training involved a 160 hour course to join the handful of Iowa mental health professionals certified in treating this type of addiction.

You’re probably wondering, how does someone become addicted to sex? Well, with the Internet in the palm of almost everyone’s hand, it’s easier than ever to have access to whatever content you want, day or night.

This addiction is an impulse control issue, which can be triggered by many things, including gaming; which has become a popular activity over the last two decades. Once impulse control issues develop, they can quickly spiral out of control into addictions like this.

Individuals struggling with sexual addiction may have grown up in a dysfunctional home where everyone pretended like life was perfect; they learned at a young age that lying was okay and that you don’t have to share or be close with your loved ones. They may also have been abused in the past.

Though past history is an important factor in sexual addiction, this illness, like many others, knows no boundaries. It can affect anyone at any time, no matter the person’s age or socio-economic standing. It is estimated that 5% of the population is affected by sexual addiction, but with the growing ease of access to technology for all ages, this number is likely higher.

Some of the possible warning signs of sexual addiction include:

  • Multiple sex partners
  • Cybersex
  • Unprotected sex
  • Frequent one-night stands
  • The use of prostitutes
  • Feeling of shame and guilt
  • Unable to resist impulses to engage in extreme sexual acts
  • Looking at sexually explicit magazines or Internet sites
  • Being preoccupied with sexual thoughts
  • Wondering if their sexual behavior is normal
  • Complaints from partner about sexual behavior
  • Using sex to escape problems and feeling depressed afterward
If you or someone you know is struggling with sexual addiction, you are encouraged to visit and take a screening test. Pat and Karla are also available for appointments Monday through Friday from 8 am – 5 pm. Don’t hesitate to get help because of embarrassment or shame; this addiction is like any other addiction and professional treatment is the first step to recovery.

Mahaska Health Partnership Behavioral Health Services now has two counselors available to treat sexual addiction, along with multiple other mental health issues. They also offer mental health and substance abuse screening and evaluation, medication management and group and individual therapy services. Call 641.672.3159 for more information or to schedule an appointment.