Sexual Addiction Counseling
Sexual addiction (or also called “Problematic Sexual Behavior” or PSB) is similar to other addictions in that it’s main goal is to numb, escape, and obliterate the person’s underlying pain and/or loneliness. It often begins in adolescence and continues into adulthood.
Sexual Addiction is characterized by persistent and escalating sexual thoughts and acts that have a negative impact on the individual’s life. Those with sexual addiction struggle to control or postpone sexual feelings and actions. Men and women with sexual addiction often do not know how to achieve genuine intimacy, forming no attachment to their sexual partners.
Eventually, the pursuit of sex becomes more important than family, career, and even personal health and safety. As sexual preoccupation increases in terms of energy and time, the sex addict follows a routine or ritual leading to acting out on desires which is then followed by feelings of denial then shame, despair and confusion.
Sexual Addiction Denial
The person struggling with the compulsive sexual behavior feels shame but rationalizes, justifies, and minimizes that its not as bad as it is. He may simply say to himself that “all men do it,” “I am just more sexual than other men,” or “I’ll stop when I find the right partner or spouse.”
Sex addiction can take the shape of many forms: affairs, online pornography, compulsive masturbation, seeking out prostitutes, strip clubs, massage parlors, online chat rooms, dating websites, phone sex, exhibitionism, and so on. These behaviors are the symptoms of the real problem.
Underlying Problem of Sex Addiction
We believe that the real issue has little to do with sex and much more to do with how the person struggling doesn’t know how to get their emotional needs met in healthy ways due to past relational wounds, trauma, and pain. Sexual addiction is a counterfeit relationship. It takes the place of real relationship because real relationships have caused the sex addict past pain (abandonment, abuse, neglect, rejection, etc.).
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.
Individuals who experience significant traumas in childhood (such poor parental relationships or childhood sexual abuse) may also be more prone to develop sexual compulsions in adulthood. Adults with traumatic childhood histories are also more likely to have the diminished self-esteem and self-image that is common among individuals who display addictive behaviors toward sex and relationships.