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Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  686 ratings  ·  57 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 t
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 23rd 2001 by Hazelden Publishing (first published 1983)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  686 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Ramón S.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A classic in its genre. Really useful
Aug 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Good source of study on the topic.
Jeremy Manuel
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, addiction
Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes was one of the old books from my college/graduate school days (I can't remember exactly which) that I am no revisiting to see if it was worth keeping a hold of. This was a difficult, but also an interesting read for me. As the subtitle of the book indicates the book is about understanding sexual addiction and that is no small topic to tackle.

Carnes tries to get you to see things from the viewpoint of the addict. To see certain behaviors as part of an addictio
Channing Hardy
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
For those readers looking to better understand sexual addiction, hyper-sexual disorder or compulsive libido levels I simply can’t recommend this book. Patrick Carnes is a true behaviorist attempting to create tools to manage, not recovery, from a biologically rooted issue. In essence, he’s performing weed control with scissors. To best understand why there are better choices I’ll introduce Dr. Carnes’ clinical perspective on sex as an alternate title of the book, such as: “You’ve been having sex ...more
Rebekah Gamble
It's a good book following a 12 steps process for dealing with sexual addiction. I think for the time it came out it was a little more relevant as it addresses issues around seeing people dealing with sexual addiction as people and not laughing these issues off- which perhaps there's some selection bias here but I don't really see so much of that in the communities I'm in these days. The first few chapters are painfully slow and somewhat boring, but the book picks up about half way through. I'm ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am not sure why I picked this book but part of me kept thinking about the recent high-profile cases like Kevin Spacey and Harvey and why these people do what they do. This book gave me a decent understanding of it. My ignorance for these activities has been replaced with understanding as to why the addicts do it. This is a good book except for some repetition and should be read by everyone who is struggling to understand why addicts do what they do.
Piko Neal
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Introduction

This book is a good introduction in the world of sexual addictions. Since the base book was written at a different time the references are dated, but the themes and concerns are still very relevant probably even more so. Reading like is needed too understand how rampant this issue is.
Rory Bogan
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Overall a pretty good book for the issue of sexual addiction. Some of it was a bit too graphic and uncomfortable for me, but then it delved into the mindset of addicts and co-addicts as well as in-depth discussion of the twelve steps for recovery. This is not for leisure reading, but if you or someone in your life has struggled in this area, it may be worthwhile.
Brandon Baggett
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
I don't know what to think about this book. There is a wide range of sexual addictions and this one focuses on many of the worst-case scenarios. I am not sure if I would recommend this to most people.
Bruce Wadd
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A confronting and deeply i formative book which could be the foundation for a complete life or career change. It heralds a coming tsunami of addicts in our 21st century society. This book can help you prepare.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
quick and easy read! very informative too
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very graphic and shocking. Must read for guys who need a reason or motivation to control their sexual thoughts, temptations, and fantasies, besides the fact that they're loved and a child of God.
Sebastian Gil
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting insight on addict and coaddict and how our cultural believes do support the addiction.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very good read. Simple, straightforward, written authoritatively. Eye-opening to the world of addiction, specifically sex addiction. It made me feel compassion.
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
Dermot O'Sullivan
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Patrick Carnes is superb at describing the nature and cause of sexual addiction especially the four beliefs that underpin it. He devotes a section also to coaddicts which means this is a book for partners and family of addicts a well. Only complaint is that his examples tend towards the high end of the scale. The reader would be forgiven for thinking that every sex addict has been raised in a highly dysfunctional family where Mom was a distant alcoholic and Dad committed incest. Otherwise a very ...more
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!
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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
“Unstructured time, a heavy responsibility for self-direction, and high demands for excellence seem to be the common elements in these situations that are easy triggers for addictive behaviors. Procrastination” 0 likes
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