Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teen Sex Addiction: When Should a Parent be Concerned?

The following material is from the Oxbow Academy website. Oxbow is a residential treatment program in Utah that specializes in sexually compulsive behavior (including sex offender behaviors). I have personally seen this program in action and I STRONGLY encourage parents who suspect a residential program may be necessary to make the call to Oxbow. You will be in the best of hands.

What are considered “normal” teen behavior in regards to sex?

  • Sexually explicit conversations with peers
  • Obscenities and jokes within cultural norm
  • Sexual innuendo, flirting and courtship
  • Interest in erotica
  • Solitary masturbation
  • Hugging, kissing, holding hands
  • Foreplay, (petting, making out, fondling) and mutual masturbation **
  • Stable or Serial Monogamist intercourse: Stable monogamy is defined as a single sexual partner throughout adolescence. Serial monogamy indicates long-term (several months or years) involvement with a single partner which ends and is then followed by another. **
  • Is my teen's behavior risky?

    Risk level is determined by the specific efforts the young man makes to avoid any structure or deterrent put in place by parents or authorities to stop the behavior. For example, a young man may be looking at pornography on the family computer. Having caught their teen parents put a block on the computer. The young man “hacks” through the block to continue access. That is considered risk.
    Some teens are embarrassed when caught. They value their relationship with their parents and stop the behavior. If the young man continues behavior, his parents may take away the internet service. Some adolescents will go as far as being caught in a friend’s home accessing porn on their computer. Being in a friend’s home has increased the level of risk the teen is willing to take.
    The bottom line is that the young man is willing to take a higher risk to continue his behaviors – even after it has caused family and/or social consequences.


    Although some of these yellow flag or cautionary behaviors are not necessarily outside the range of normal behavior exhibited in teen peer groups, there should be a serious assessment made in order to rule out any red flag, and/or illegal behaviors. This is especially true when the behaviors are in the context of more than one issue that is listed below:
    • Sexual preoccupation/anxiety (interfering in daily functioning)
    • Pornographic interest (The type of pornography is a major factor here.
    • Bestiality, child pornography, or violent pornography are examples of serious behavioral warnings.)
    • Sexual intercourse/promiscuity (indiscriminate sexual contact with more than one partner during the same period of time.)
    • Sexually aggressive themes/obscenities
    • Sexual graffiti (especially chronic and impacting individuals)
    • Embarrassment of others with sexual themes
    • Violation of others’ body space
    • Pulling skirts up/pants down
    • Single occurrence of peeping, exposing with known peers
    • Mooning and obscene gestures
    • Masturbation to underwear (very common)


    Red flag behaviors need further specialized evaluation. It would be extremely rare to have a student involved in a single red flag behavior. Usually there will be additional yellow or red flag behaviors. Often, if more questions are asked, a pattern starts to appear. Red flag behaviors include:
    • Compulsive masturbation (especially chronic or public)
    • Degradation/humiliation of self or others with sexual themes
    • Attempting to expose others’ genitals
    • Chronic preoccupation with sexually aggressive pornography
    • Sexually explicit conversation with significantly younger children
    • Obscene phone calls, voyeurism, frottage, exhibitionism, sexual harassment
    • Touching genitals without permission (i.e. grabbing, goosing)
    • Sexually explicit threats (verbal or written)
    • Sexual contact with a significantly younger person. (Sibling, neighbor, relative)
    • Coerced sexual contact
    • Coerced penetration
    • Sexual contact with animals (bestiality)
    • Sexting (The use of cell phone or other electronic devise to send pictures of oneself or others.)


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