A few years ago, in 2013, noted sex addiction expert Rob Weiss published a short book called Sex Addiction 101. Weiss says that brief volume was intended as merely a giveaway to patients at the sex addiction treatment facilities he oversees, handed out as a way of introducing clients to the basic concepts of sexual addiction. Only as an afterthought was the book made available for sale. Unsurprisingly, people all over the world bought copies – myself included. As a quick and dirty handy reference guide it was quite good, but it was hardly the soup to nuts offering implied by the title. Recognizing that, Weiss quickly pulled the book from the marketplace and rewrote it – both expanding it and updating it. I, for one, am very glad that he chose to do this, as the new version of Sex Addiction 101, recently released, is by far the best and most up-to-date sex addiction book available.
Weiss starts this 248 page volume with a general explanation of sex addiction – what it is, what it looks like, how it escalates, and even what causes it. Next he examines the different populations affected by sex addiction, and the ways in which compulsive sexuality meshes with other addictions and psychological disorders. Then he moves into the process of recovery, discussing everything from boundary plans to 12-step groups to therapy to various forms of specialized treatment. Importantly (and perhaps in response to all of the sex addiction “haters” out there), he continually backs up his assertions and advice with the latest in scientific research. Still, he somehow manages to keep the material lively, engaging, and easy to read.
Throughout the book, Weiss stays cognizant of the fact that modern-day sex addicts tend to act out with and/or through digital technologies as often (perhaps more often) than they do in-person. This awareness, coupled with the dozens of illustrative examples he gives, provides sex addicted readers with an almost endless supply of “aha moments” with which they might identify. Quite frankly, any person who can read this book without at least a dozen or so pangs of self-identification is probably not sexually addicted. This, of course, is the mark of a writer who really knows his stuff.
Interestingly, the best part about Sex Addiction 101 is not the fact that Weiss nails it in terms of understanding and presenting everything that readers need to know about sexual addiction, it’s the fact that he consistently infuses this information with a message of hope – letting readers know that a healthy sexual and romantic life (and a better life in general) is possible with a bit of effort and guidance. As such, Sex Addiction 101 is highly recommended for anyone who thinks that he or she may have a problem with compulsive sexual behaviors. Loved ones of sex addicts and therapists of sex addicts will also find the material to be both enlightening and helpful.