Often people ask me if sex addiction is a real thing? My response is yes watching porn has been shown to activate the same reaction in the brain as cocaine use. I have worked with many clients who have reported taking risks around their sexual behaviours that they would never dream of taking normally. They state that at the time that they are feeling the obsession to ‘act out’ sexually the thought of the possible consequences do not deter them. They talk about loss of marriages, police arrests and loss of jobs being amongst some of those consequences. Even with the threat of loosing all or some of the above ‘ sex addicts’ state that the compulsion to act out sexually is still stronger.
‘Addiction is a condition that consists of a repeated compulsive need for and use of a habit forming substance or behaviour despite the adverse social physical or emotional consequences’
There are other arguments that suggest sex addiction is not real but is in fact a smoke screen for what is really more about who you are as a person. These arguments suggest that for instance watching violent porn is unlikely to make you act out in a sexually violent way unless you already have a predisposition towards being violent and/or aggressive.
Lennard J Davies States that ‘it’s real in the sense that people say they have it. But it is invented in the sense that how much sex you have, how happy you are with that, how guilty you feel about what you do in the dark with whom are all heavily subject to culture and morality. Our culture is, after all, obsessed with sex, and obsessed with controlling sex. Sex addiction is the perfect poster boy to embody that dichotomy.’
My work has lead me to believe that there is a little bit of truth in both arguments. There is likely to be some underlying trauma that has predisposed a person towards acting out sexually but whatever the truth is the fact remains that if it is causing pain to the person or anyone else then change is most likely required. The first step is admitting you have a problem and then asking for help.
Sex addiction therapy works in a very similar way to drug and alcohol dependency therapy. A plan of action needs to be devised which more often than not will include the client figuring out what behaviour is causing them pain and learning ways to then abstain from it. Such behaviour is called a ‘bottom line behaviour’. Therapy helps clients work towards abstaining from unhealthy behaviours that cause them pain and work towards building healthy intimate relationships.
If you are worried about your sexual behaviours and think you might be a sex addict call me Victoria Abadi on 07983726647 for a free 20 minute telephone conversation.
Cited Lennnard J Davies, Pschology Today