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Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  499 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
With the revised information and up-to-date research, Out of the Shadows is the premier work on sex addiction, written by a pioneer in its treatment.

Sex is at the core of our identities. And when it becomes a compulsion, it can unravel our lives.Out of the Shadows is the premier work on this disorder, written by a pioneer in its treatment. Revised and updated to include th
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 23rd 2001 by Hazelden Publishing (first published 1983)
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Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is very needed, and very sad. It shows a world few of us will ever understand. It is a revolting world filled with atrocities with victims on all sides. It shows the horror of sex addiction in all its forms. It shows the sad side of the addict, and the reason it is so very hard to get better, to stop acting out. It shows a way to get better, and hope for the future.

Sex addicts are usually not sex offenders. There are plenty of sex addicts who don’t end up doing anything illegal and the
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
My therapist gave me this book hoping that I would see that I was a sex addict. But when I read it, I was convinced of the opposite.

Basically, if you feel guilty enough about your sexual desires and want to stop them, this book might help validate those guilty feelings. But if you're like me and feel perfectly justified in taking pleasure out of life instead of obsessing over social norms, this book just makes you feel sorry for those people.

Their problem isn't that they're sex addicts, it's th
Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Carnes presents examples of previous clients he has provided therapy to in order to show the thoughts and beliefs of those who are "sex addicts." He used very little supporting research throughout the book, and many of his references included books written by him. He presents pedophiliacs, paraphiliacs, etc. as "sex addicts" and states that sex addiction as a disease. He includes a chapter on the 12 Step Model based on Alcoholics Anonymous as a form of treatment for sex addicts. Again, there is ...more
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
At the age of 41 I was newly sober and for the first time in my life facing my demons with a relatively clear mind. One of those demons was sexual abuse and the sexual acting out engendered by it. Carnes book is the bible on sexual addiction. I have been an alcohol and drug counselor since '95, and this book has proved valuable to many of my clients who are ready to read it.
Evan East
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a supporter of the twelve steps program so I cannot fully advocate this book. Having said that, I did gain extremely valuable and urgent new understanding regarding sex and romantic relations.

I was able to recognize in my own core beliefs some damaging ideas:
- "No one would love me as I am." Which stems from my childhood when my parental figures didn't give me unconditional love but made it a reward for academic performance and obedience. I thought that if people want a relationship is
Chris Gager
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really read this book. Browsed is more like it. It seems to be a bit outdated... published 23 years ago. Still, plenty of good stuff about sex addiction. Not much about female sex addiction, though. I suspect there's plenty more info out and about now. As he doesn't mention them, I assume that SAA and SLAA were either not up and running at the time or had only just gotten going. He does mention AA and Alanon as I recall. Maybe I'll get back to it in the future.

So now I'm browsing the up
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Vanessa by: Counseling Supervisor
3.5 stars. As a counseling intern at Salvation Army (SA), my supervisor recommend I read this book. SA counsels those with alcohol and substance abuse addiction; sexual addiction (as well as other addictions) can co-occur along side substance abuse and clients can have multiple addictions. I thought the stories in this book were interesting to read and it really gives you a glimpse of the addicts' struggle. It does a good job explaining what the addicts go through, their thoughts and emotions. T ...more
Joe Class
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a tough book to read but really helps you understand what people with sexual addiction go through. Perhaps we should be more kind and understanding to all people with addictive tendencies. It's changed my mind about how I view alcoholics and drug addicts even though all three addictions are very different. Reading the book allows you the opportunity to see what it's like for them. You may not understand all of it, but at least it's a start.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Good info to start understanding what sex addiction is. It really damages the brain. This book helped me start to empathize with those who've gotten caught up in this, since most are started in their childhood, instead of being mad at them. Now my efforts go to fighting the problem & getting help for those caught up in it. Patrick Carnes is essential reading if you are studying this topic or have a friend or relative who struggles with this.
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it
I think the book did a good job explaining the cycle, and steps etc. of sexual addictions. What probably wouldn't be as helpful (for an addict) is reading some of the examples, that were usually pretty basic, but still may sometimes give too much of an idea. But then again, maybe it's what people need to read/know to see that their behavior truly is abnormal and unhealthy.
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual, self-help
I think I've read most of Patrick Carnes books now. Starting with his original book that explored sexual addiction. This was also helpful. My only criticism is that sometimes the examples he uses, in trying to be general and inclusive, are sometimes more graphic than I wished. But even then, they are tastefully done. For me this one is worth re-reading a few more times.
Kym McNabney
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a good read for those wanting to get a better understanding of why or how, someone can do something that we would consider sexually inappropriate, to say the least. It's also insightful for those that are co addict; living with someone how is an addict, whether that is to sex, drug, food, or anything else.
Andrew Brockelman
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The most candid and specific book on this topic I've read yet (not that I've read that many, but still...). He spares no one when he gives the reader insight on specifically how this addiction affects different areas of one's life. Extremely interesting, but, very uncomfortable to read.
Aug 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Good source of study on the topic.
Andrew Frazier
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: addiction
Carnes has been working on this topic for a long time. I highly recommend this book for the counselors looking to learn more about sexual addiction.

Wesley Fox
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Picked this book as part of background research for a new story I am writing. When I started I knew absolutely zero about sexual addiction. This book was recommended as the ideal tutorial on the topic and definitely fulfilled that purpose.

The author neither makes excuses nor condemns sexual addicts, and his primary point is that it is similar to other forms of addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling). Society treats sexual disorders and crimes much differently than the others, and the treatment appa
Deb Wilson
Honestly, while there was some interesting information, the book read like a lot of babble, repeating itself over and over again. I was looking for something more aimed at psychology, not something written for someone who is considering entering a 12 step program themselves. I also honestly felt the entire book could have been fit into a 25 page booklet, including all of the tables and checklists. This is another one that will be sold back to Amazon if they'll take it, or donated to the local li ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough Subject

Out of the Shadows was well written and informative. It helps to explain why those with sexual addiction do what they do. I don't like the theory that they can't help It or that they are too ashamed to get help--but I don't believe that has any bearing on the content written by this author.
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Important and informative but sorely disappointing in what it has to say about treatment and recovery. it speaks a little of 12-step programs and how they can help, but as a clinician it was pretty empty otherwise. That said, it did help me better understand the condition and the field and done of the underlying (familial) conditions. My guess is that there are better books out there though!
Oct 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I thought this book was very interesting. Perhaps, because the topic seems so taboo. The author includes several case studies to explain different addictions. The end of the book for me felt rushed...or at least didn't summarize the book very well.
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read this a couple of times several years ago. Found it shocking at the time but I've read a lot of other books on the topic since then so I don't know if it would have the same effect again. I plan to read it again.
Bob Griffin
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction. Carnes helps us understand persons driven by the dark edges of relationships that are harmful. And there are suggestions on how to help such persons.
Sep 09, 2010 rated it liked it
The book is a mix of pyschobabble and many real life stories you can relate to and make sense of. It describes the words and behavior of the addict and co-addict and the role that families, friends and society (in general) play in creating, nurturing, discouraging and stopping addictions.
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: counseling
Really great, comprehensive, and readable book about sexual addiction. Helpful for clinicians, addicts, or family members of addicts.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
A very good, basic primer and overview of sexual addiction. It was a good mix of expository and anecdotal.
Kelly Davis
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Opened my eyes as to why a child and adult of sexual abuse would become so addicted to sex themselves...
Jeffrey Backlin
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
A helpful presentation of the author's research on sexual addiction and the effects it has on people.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. The best book I've yet read on sexual addiction
David Robbins
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has opened my eyes and my understanding of sexual addiction. It helped me see how my childohood affected me entire sexual life. This is a must read for anyone suffering in sexual addiction.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
The standard introductory text into sex addiction. If you are a sex addict the examples may or may not be extreme for you. Try to relate to the principles the author is trying to convey.
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Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D., is an internationally known authority and speaker on addiction and recovery issues. He has authored over twenty books including the bestselling titles Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, Facing the Shadow, Betrayal Bond, Don’t Call It Love, A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps and The Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles.

Dr. Carnes’ research provid
More about Patrick J. Carnes...

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