Sexual Addiction Counseling

Austin Sex Addiction CounselingSex addicts use sex in the same way an alcoholic uses alcohol.  Sex is used to numb and medicate feelings and escape from the painful aspects of their lives. The sexual experience becomes mood altering and in time becomes central to the sex addict’s life.

It is important to understand that addiction is a “solution” to pain, past trauma, and anxiety of potential further hurt – addiction literally becomes a coping mechanism.  If somebody starts doing something to cope, and if they do it long enough, the body adjusts to the point that it needs that level of activity just in order to feel balanced.

Typically what happens is that an addict responds to stress by using sex, alcohol, food, drugs, etc. and when the stress goes away the behavior is reinforced.  Overtime, the behaviors become addictive and the addict cannot stop.  In the above drawing, addiction really isn’t about alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex – it’s about a solution to pain.  It is a maladaptive response that has become part of the system and has reached the point where it has become pathological. The addict will use whatever works to take away the pain.

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The person struggling with sexual addiction uses sex or views porn in the same way an alcoholic uses alcohol or a drug addict uses drugs.  It is used to numb and medicate feelings and escape from the painful aspects of one’s life.  The sexual experience becomes mood altering and in time becomes the way he copes with a life of pain.

It is important to understand that addiction is a “solution” to pain, past trauma, and anxiety of potential further hurt – addiction literally becomes a coping mechanism.  If somebody starts doing something to cope, and if they do it long enough, the body adjusts to the point that it needs that level of activity just in order to feel balanced. He is not “weak” but rather truly addicted to coping through viewing porn.

A person who is addicted to sex is living in an imaginary, self-created world that avoids the possibility of experiencing rejection or the risk of pain that a real relationship can offer.  It is a person’s attempt to avoid the pain often caused by real intimacy.  The sex addict is essentially creating a pseudo-relationship with someone/something that can be controlled and manipulated; such as a picture, a video, or a prostitute.

The main issue of sexual addiction is not the need for more sex, rather, it is to control and avoid pain.  This is similar to how an alcoholic or drug addict uses alcohol or drugs to avoid their pain. Recovery from sex addiction requires you to get into a regular pattern of tough recovery work.  You are fighting to change many, many years of conditioning.  Recovery will not occur overnight or even over a couple of weeks.

How do counselors know when addiction is present?

Here are four symptoms of addiction:

  1. Inability to stop
  2. Tendency to get angry when denied sex or porn.
  3. Secretive about the sexual behaviors
  4. Continue to pursue sex or porn despite negative consequences

Porn/sex has a powerful affect upon the chemicals in the brain.  (To read more about the chemical’s released and how one becomes addicted.)