About the Film

Film Summary

The Courage to Love is a personal documentary about sexual addiction from the perspective of four people who share their stories of addiction and recovery.

The four characters featured in the film include Sylvia a former sex worker, Greg a musician, and Jay & Paul - two recovering addicts who now work professionally as sexual addiction therapists. The film looks into the pasts of each character to see what contributing factors led to their sexual addiction and looks at the variety of behaviors in which each character acted out sexually. In the film, each character also talks about the treatment that helped them to overcome their sexual addiction so that they could experience love and intimate relationships for the first time in their lives.

The Courage to Love is one of the first documentaries ever made about sexual addiction and will help to raise awareness about a very real public health issue.

Filmmaker Statement, by Paul Ginocchio

I started filming The Courage to Love in the Fall of 2007, when I packed up my video equipment and drove solo from my home in the San Francisco Bay Area to the greater Seattle area to interview Jay and Greg - who had both agreed to share their recovery stories for my documentary video about sexual addiction. At that time, I was in the second year of a master's in psychology program, on my way to becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist. The motivation to create this documentary was in direct relationship with my goal of becoming a psychotherapist – to help others who suffer from sexual addiction. I had spent a decade healing with other recovering sexual addicts as an active member of the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous twelve-step recovery program. The shame and secrecy of my own recovery process from this hidden mental health issue and the hope that I experienced recovering from it, encouraged me to create a documentary video to help educate more people about the reality of sexual addiction.

As the idea for this documentary emerged, I naively believed that my years participating in a twelve-step community would make it easy to find interview subjects for this film. I quickly realized that very few people wanted to "risk" being in front of a video camera talking about their sexual addiction and recovery. I asked countless recovering people to be interviewed for film and was met with virtually the same response: "I am so proud of you for doing this documentary, BUT I can't take the risk of people knowing that I have a sexual addiction." In early 2007, the first person to agree to be interviewed for the film was a female from my recovery program. She turned out to be a sensational interview and her story gave me hope that I could actually make this documentary. Less than a year later, I received a letter from her stating that she changed her mind about being in this documentary due to a new job and feared that she would get fired if her employer someday saw this video. The letter threatened that if I used her interview that she would hire a lawyer and sue me. This would not be the last time that I would bump up against the closet of shame and secrecy of sexual addiction while creating this documentary.

Over the seven years creating The Courage to Love, I have witnessed people in the media and in the professional psychotherapy community debate about the existence of sexual addiction. Many argue that sexual addiction does not even exist. My purpose in creating this film was not to debate professional opinions about the validity of sexual addiction, nor to offer scientific proof. The Courage to Love is about the lived experience of sexual addiction and recovery through the personal stories of four people – Jay, Greg, Sylvia, and myself. Throughout my years of recovery, I learned not as much from professionals or experts but from the real men and women who shared their experience, strength, and hope in the basements of churches at Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous twelve-step meetings. It is through hearing countless personal stories of lives shattered and lives repaired through the mystery of recovery that this film was born. It is my hope that The Courage to Love will help to educate people who are curious or confused about sexual addiction and ultimately to help those who are still suffering.

Paul Ginocchio, MFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the creator of The Courage to Love documentary film about sexual addiction. For more information about Paul's psychotherapy practice visit: www.paulginocchiomft.com.