TV has always been filled with lovable and quirky characters ― like Don Draper of “Mad Men” and “Hank Moody” of Californication ― with sexual interests that border on compulsions. In recent years there have been many portrayals of “sexual addiction treatment” in movies and on television.
Sex addiction is a serious condition with many symptoms that range from heavy use of internet porn, prostitutes and affairs to engaging in sex binges. When it comes to Hollywood, stories may be exaggerated and there is often nudity, graphic sexuality and the acting out of compulsions. In many of these portrayals, the characters end up in violent, or self-harming, situations.
Be warned that these movies are explicit because of the subject matter and should come with a trigger warning for anyone in sexual addiction treatment. On the other hand, many of these sex addiction films reflect the real, grittier side of compulsions and an earnest attempt to heal ― through therapy, 12 steps and rehab.
Here are 10 sexual addiction treatment movies.
- “Addicted.” Zoe Reynard, played by Sharon Leal, is a mother of two who has a perfect, loving husband and life. Dissatisfaction takes over and she turns to pornography, and then, affairs, with men who become toxic. Her behavior nearly ends her marriage. Through sessions with her therapist and group therapy, she’s diagnosed with sex addiction and discovers her behavior is rooted in unresolved childhood sexual trauma. She repairs her marriage, first by working on herself. Also stars William Levy and Boris Kodjoe.
- “Thanks for Sharing.” Mark Ruffalo plays, Adam, a self-declared sex addict who in five years of sobriety has never had sex. He’s devoted to his recovery group and abstinence. He routinely has television sets removed from hotel rooms so he is not tempted to watch porn. When Adam reluctantly starts dating again and things fall apart, he spirals out of control, reverting to old compulsions. Also stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim Robbins.
- “Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life.” Justin Petersen, 16, (portrayed by Jeremy Sumpter) is an All-American high school student and athlete with a steady girlfriend. Around the time he makes the same All-Star team his mother swam on years before, he’s shown a soft porn film starring a girl he likes. It initiates his interest in X-rated content and his consumption escalates. He’s suspended from the swim team, loses his girlfriend and is being called a “porn freak” at school. Falsely accused of a violent act, he’s attacked. Depressed, he returns to swimming. Rather than drown, he finds a reason to live.
- “Shame.” Michael Fassbender stars as Brandon, a handsome and single New York City businessman who has relations with prostitutes and must self-pleasure several times a day. He sneaks porn breaks on his work computer until he gets caught. His risks become greater, leading to dangerous flirtations and encounters. His troubled sister, Sissy, shows up, stirring old family trauma. When she harms herself at home, he saves her, but it leads to his emotional breakdown. In the end, he appears to want to change but it’s unclear. This film has frontal male nudity and explicit scenes.
- “Don Juan.” Jon Martello, portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who also wrote and directed), is a handsome New Jersey native who likes women but prefers porn and self-pleasuring. Stepping out of his pattern, he dates a woman who tries to mold him into the perfect male ― but sex with her is lacking. When she discovers porn on his computer she dumps him. He takes counsel from his friend Esther, who encourages him to see that porn is a way to lose himself without commitment and it’s time for him to risk himself in a relationship. The begin dating. Also stars Scarlett Johansson.
- “Love.” This Netflix series produced by Judd Apatow focuses on Gus, a nerdy tutor of child stars, and Mickey, a radio producer who is a member of AA and of Sex and Love Addiction Anonymous (SLAA) groups in Los Angles. An unlikely couple, they develop an attachment. Mickey realizes she’s avoided problems through alcohol and sex with the wrong guys. She says she needs time to recover. Adventures of this odd couple continue in Season Two.
- “Addicted to Sexting.” The social phenomenon of sexting and why people are attracted and seduced by it is the focus of this documentary. Experts in psychology, entertainment and medicine are interviewed. High-profile sexting scandals are covered but it also takes a look at the pros and cons, and proposes ways in which sexting may be healthy, fun and positive.
- “I Am a Sex Addict.” Filmmaker Caveh Zahedi bares his soul with candor and humor as he reveals his decade-long struggle with sex addiction. This quasi-documentary is a confession and re-enactment of his “fetish” for prostitutes and his struggle of trying to make his real relationship work.
- “Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict.” The book by author Sue Silverman turned Lifetime movie, it portrays a married woman who embarks on an affair and continues with risky behavior that puts her marriage and job in jeopardy. She suffers from abandonment issues when her husband is away, and when her lover is with his family. When she begins a new affair with a client, a friend urges her to see a therapist. She comes to admit her compulsion and goes for sexual addiction treatment.
- “Black Snake Moan.” Samuel L. Jackson plays Lazarus Redd, a deeply religious man. Bitter since the loss of his wife, he keeps to his farm. Christina Ricci plays Rae Doole, a young woman who is beaten and left on his property. He carries her in to care for her. He discovers the attack was by a local man, after she’d gone on a sex binge in the wake of her boyfriend’s deployment. He decides she was put in his path so he could save her. His unorthodox approach to “cure her” of her compulsions leads to awakening and growth for both.
Thanks for Sharing
LOVE on Netflix
Addicted to Sexting
I Am a Sex Addict
Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict
Sex Addiction Movie Articles