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Contrary to Love: Helping the Sexual Addict Paperback – April 19, 1994

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Patrick J. Carnes is a nationally-known speaker on addiction and recovery issues. He is the author of Out of the Shadows, Contrary to Love, A Gentle Path Through the 12 Steps, and Don't Call It Love. He is the clinical director for sexual disorder services at The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona. Carnes is the editor-in-chief of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, the official journal of the National Council of Sexual Addiction/Compulsivity, an organization for which he also serves as a board member. He also serves on the national advisory board of the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden (April 19, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568380593
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568380599
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The title of this book reveals the premise that Patrick Carnes presents. He tells us that the behaviors of sexual addicts are not actions of love, but of abnormal, compulsive rituals performed in a desparate attempt to self-treat the feelings of despair and anger that has become the fabric of the addict's life. This book is not an introductory volume, it is quite thorough and detailed. The author outlines six phases of sex addiction as well as explaining three levels of behavior. He points out that the different levels of behavior are not necessarily progressive, but the phases of addiction ARE. While this book is designed specifically for those who are care-givers for the sexually addicted, it also gives comfort and insight to the co-addict or codependent involved with the addict. The thoroughness and detail that he writes with may actually be beyond the easy comprehension of many addicts themselves, due to their cloudy comprehension and frequent separations from reality, but I would recommend this book as a challenge and as an invaluable tool for breaking the chains of sexual addiction.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very comprehensive book on the mechanisms of sexual addiction. It is direct and thorough, with lots of detail on the dynamics of this disorder and the does a good job of describing the disorder at the individual and systems levels.

I agree with the reviews below that this particular book might be a bit much for someone who is caught in the midst of early recovery sexual addiction and the attendant self deception that accompanies it. However, for someone well into recovery it offers much in terms of understanding this disorder at a deeper level.

This is a very good book for therapists considering different approaches to treating sexual addiction. Patrick Carnes is not shy about presenting his point of view and he is certainly an authority in this field.

I have also read Out of the Shadows by the same author and preferred this for my purposes in understanding sexual addiction. However, I think the two books speak to different audiences and both have value. Out of the Shadows is more appropriate for a sexual addict in recovery or for people trying to get a general understanding of sexual addiction.

My favorite book on this topic is Women, Sex and Addiction by Kasl. Her focus is on women, but there is a lot of good general information, case studies and explanations. However, it lacks the rigorous treatment of the disorder from a systems approach as well as the various treatment options. It does, however, include spiritual aspects of the problem and presents the topic in a very compassionate way. It also includes a lot of good information on sexual codependence
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Format: Paperback
For me it would have been more difficult to appreciate this book had I not read "Out of the Shadows." I had purchased these books over ten years ago but only read them within the past few months. One of the great values of Carnes approach is his no wholes barred, stratight on approach to addiction and the role that sexual addiction plays. There is nothing wishy-washy in his approach to the dilemma, nor is there anything apologetic about his criticisms (i.e. limitations) of AA and common theraputic practices. To me he is entirely convincing which speaks for his clear understanding of addiction that adds for the breakdown of social or societal illusions and delusions. I just wish he took more seriously what he refers to as stage one addictions to which he does concede some degree of (to me mostly unjustifiable) normalcy and acceptance based on social norms. Aside from that, it is simply an outstanding book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is not written for the lay person dealing with this issue, but rather for the mental health professional. The "evaluation" pages are helpful but that was about it. I highly recommend, "Out of the Shadows".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a counseling student in grad school and used this book for a book review project. Excellent resource for counselors!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very difficult book to read if you have a history of emotional, relationship, or sexual difficulties. Anyone who reads it will see themselves to some degree. Finding out where you are in the strata of possible diagnosis is the key. For me it was at first devastating, then as understanding was reached, it finally became life changing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Would have liked more material about recovery. The book has solid advice and information about sex addiction. Another great book from Carnes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is such a great book for both the addict and the family and partners to understand what is going on in the mind of a sexual addict.
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