Sex Addiction in Young Adults

These conditions can occur at any age

Defining Young Adult Sex Addiction

Sexual behaviors can become particularly problematic for young men, frequently before they even realize it. For many young men, engaging in sexual exploration is an important part of their transition into fully functioning, independent adults. It helps them to learn about who they are and how to be good partners in their intimate relationships. For some, however, normal exploration can spiral into out-of-control and destructive behavior.

From Healthy Exploration to Unmanageable Disorder

Pornography is easier to access than ever with the proliferation of the Internet and mobile devices into our homes, workplaces, and social spaces. As a result, people are being exposed to sexually graphic content at earlier ages, with children as young as 8 years old being seeing pornography in the normal course of internet use.

For some young men, this early exposure can lead to problems with intimacy and the desire to isolate themselves from others. It can also lead to difficulties in school and failure to launch as an adult as hours and days are spent in the pursuit of pornography, internet chats, “hook-ups,” and erotic gaming. Several factors come into play during this stage of life that can make identifying and treating the condition in this age group unique.

Contributing factors related to sexual addiction in young adults :

  • Difficulty distinguishing between healthy sexual exploration and unhealthy sexual behaviors
  • Immersion in technology and easy access to online pornography and “hook-up” apps
  • A tendency to balance multiple romantic or sexual relationships at the same time
  • Experimentation with alcohol and stimulants

Our Approach to Sexual Addiction in Young Adults

At Gentle Path, we specialize in working with our young adult patients to identify which of their behaviors are problematic for them and which are part of normal development. We can help young men identify the root cause of their need to avoid intimacy, develop coping skills for stress and anxiety, and learn how to build healthy relationships.


Individualized Programs

During the first few days under our care, every patient completes a series of assessments, including trauma evaluation, a psychological evaluation, a chemical dependency assessment, a biopsychosocial assessment, and a psychosexual assessment. The results are interpreted by Dr. Patrick Carnes and our team of psychologists to help design and individualize each patient’s treatment program and help them determine what’s healthy for them and what is not.

teenage male on phone at night

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Change Your Story

Gentle Path is a safe, nurturing community composed of peers where your journey of recovery will include not just dealing with outward behaviors but examining the underlying causes. The goal is to gain the courage to face difficult issues (including grief and loss), heal from emotional trauma, and become accountable for your feelings, behaviors, and recovery.


Taking that first step is hard, but there’s a new life of health and hope just waiting for you. The next chapter of your life can begin now, but only you can change your story.

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