SM: What can a woman do if she thinks she’s in a relationship with an addict?
Pinsky: [Her partner] saying they’re going to change means nothing, they have to get treatment. And if they’re not willing to get treatment, get out. But realize you will need some treatment too because just like they’re attracted to these behaviors, there’s a reason you were attracted to this type of person. The relationship won’t work unless both of you are treated.

SM: Are there differences between male and female sex addicts?
Pinsky: It ultimately ends up in the same place, but often they come to it via different mechanisms. Men are driven toward orgasms and women are driven oftentimes toward intimacy and connection. So they enter via different doors but they end up in the same place.

SM: Can recovering addicts ever have sex?
Pinsky: Usually there’s a period of abstinence. But it’s like an eating disorder, you have to eat. There’s a healthy way to approach the behavior. [But] it’s like any other addiction; they can slip into trouble very easily. It’s all very alluring, very powerful biology is pulling on them.

SM: What are the treatment options for sex addiction?
Pinsky: It’s 12 step [programs] primarily. That’s all that really works. Sometimes individual psychotherapy and sometimes medications are helpful. But the treatment is a similar model to any other treatments of addiction.

For more information on sex addiction and to find a treatment program near you, visit the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health at http://www.sash.net/. Or to take a Sexual Addiction Screening Test that can help determine if you or your partner might be a sex addict visit www.sexhelp.com.