It is very common that the person presenting at the office of a psychologist or a sex therapist that has engaged in cyber infidelity has already been labeled as a sex addict. The label may have come from the wounded partner, internet searches, or television. It has become a self label. The person is typically desperate and on the verge of losing a marriage or significant relationship. Anxiety is high, sometimes accompanied by depression. Because the person’s behavior has been destructive and has felt out of control he or she assumes that he or she is a sexual addict. The label sexual addict creates shame and is sometimes used as a synonym for pervert or degenerate. These labels tend to be destructive and damaging psychologically to the individual and ultimately to the relationship that is trying to survive.
By recognizing the behavior that led to and maintained the cyber infidelity as out of control sexual behavior the individual is not pathologized or labeled in a negative and self condemning way. Instead of being shamed the person is empowered to recognize that sexual behavior is a choice. Choosing wellness and healthy sexual behaviors that are self-determined becomes the goal. By working collaboratively in treatment a personal guide to sexual behavior based on the preferences and choices of the individual is constructed. Both risk factors and protective factors are identified as part of the treatment plan. Risk factors are avoided and protective factors are enhanced. The resulting empowerment creates hope and confidence.