An Overview of Sexual Addiction & Sex Addicts
It is documented among people within the 12-step programs that of all the addictions, sex is that the most difficult to master. Far from the notion that sex addiction is that the “fun” one, the suffering of individuals handling this affliction is gigantic . It is common for members of the sex recovering groups to be unable to take care of any continuous time of sexual sobriety, giving thanks to despair and hopelessness.
Before treatment, sexual enactment is that the addict’s only source of safety, pleasure, soothing and acceptance. It vitalizes and connects. It relieves loneliness, emptiness and depression. Sex addiction has been called the athlete’s foot of the mind: it's an itch always waiting to be scratched. The scratching, however, causes wounds and never alleviates the itch.
The percentage of people who go to therapy or a 12-step program is quite small. The majority of sexual compulsives sleep in isolation, crammed with feelings of shame. Almost one hundred pc of the people that come to me for an initial consultation — whether it's for compulsive use of prostitutes, phone sex, a fetish, transvestism , or masochistic encounters with dominatrixes — relay that beneath the shame they feel in telling me their story, they also experience a way of freedom that comes from finally being able to share with another person the hidden, shameful, sexually compulsive acts that imprison them.
The life of a sex addict gradually becomes very small. The freedom of self is impaired. Energies are consumed. The rapacious need for a specific quite sexual experience drives the addict to spend untold hours within the world of his addiction. Inexorably, the compulsion begins to exact higher and better costs. Friends slip away. Hobbies and activities once enjoyed are dropped. Financial security crumbles as thousands of dollars a year are spent on sex.
Then there is perpetual fear of exposure. Relationships with partners are ruined. The appeal of intimate sex with a partner pales as compared to the extreme “high” of indulging within the dark and devious world of sexual compulsion.
What is a Sex Addict?
Sex addiction, of course, has nothing to try to to with sex. Any sexual act or apparent “perversion” has no meaning outside of its psychological, unconscious context. What sets sex addiction aside from other addictions and makes it so persistent is that the topic of sex touches on our innermost unconscious wishes and fears, our sense of self, our very identity.
While the definition of sex addiction is that the same as that of other addictions — recurrent failure to regulate the behavior and continuation of the behavior despite increasingly harmful consequences — sexual compulsion is about aside from other addictions therein sex involves our innermost unconscious wishes, fears and conflicts. Sex addiction may be a symbolic enactment of deeply entrenched unconscious dysfunctional relationships with self et al. . It involves a derailed developmental process that occurred as a result of inadequate parenting.
Ø participating in a 12-step program;
Ø going to an outpatient clinic;
Ø engaging in aversion therapy; or
Ø using medications to stave off hypersexuality.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is employed to assist the patient control or repress the instinct for a period of your time.
Addicts usually have a dysfunctional mother-child relationship. An unempathic, narcissistic, depressed or alcoholic mother has low tolerance for the child’s stress and frustrations. Nor is she ready to supply the empathy, attention, nurturing and support that foster healthy development. The end in later life is separation anxiety, fear of abandonment and a way of imminent self-fragmentation.
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