Recovery from Sexual Addiction: Further Questions:
Further Sex Addiction FAQ's
The professional positions of those addressing sexual addictions seem to roughly be divided up into two separate categories: Those who regard Sexual Addiction to be a disease afflicting the person and those who regard Sexual Addiction as a choice.
Those who regard Sexual Addiction as a disease see this as the compassionate choice that protects those who suffer with addictions from experiencing the judgments of those who would seek to moralize and institute punitive measures against them. They correctly see shame, fear, guilt and punishment as antithetical to healing.
Those who regard Sexual Addiction as a decision see the disease model as disempowering people, promoting the falsehood of, "Once an addict, always an addict," and rightly insist that people can and do cease to be addicts and become free from addiction.
We approach addiction from a third vantage point that holds Sexual Addiction to neither be the core of the problem, nor the primary problem. We see addiction as a simple attempt to regulate a traumatized autonomic nervous system. Our foundational question is not about why you are addicted but why is there pain, and how can we help you deal differently with that pain?
What other questions are often asked about sexual addiction?
1. "Can you HELP ME?"
Absolutely yes, we can. Sexual addiction is real and serious, but, if caught and treated early recovery can be relatively swift -- especially in younger people. After years of forming habits, recovery can take a lot longer. If you even suspect you are getting close to addictive behaviour, Contact Us today.
2. "How can a person stop masturbating?"
Masturbation in and of itself is not necessarily a problem. Masturbation becomes a problem when it becomes an addiction (when it becomes compulsive), when it is used to medicate emotion, when it continues even when other opportunities for sexual expression are present and when it begins to replace real relationships with other people. When masturbation reaches this stage, the problem is really not the masturbation, the problem is the addiction in which the masturbation simply plays a role. When addiction is present, is likely that assistance from a therapist is warranted to address the underlying flight from the self, shame and emotions that gives addiction its energy and life.
3. "I need sex. Why do I just want more and more of it?"
Contrary to popular belief, sexual addiction does not morph and change into other disorders. (People who struggle with an addiction to viewing strippers rarely develop a desire to molest young boys or engage in same sex behaviours in washrooms for example.) However, tolerance within a genre often does increase resulting in the person needing more stimulation, more frequent experiences and greater novelty to achieve the same thrill/numbness. Tolerance, withdrawal and replacement are key components of any successful addressing of sexual addiction.
4. "Why am I addicted?"
The simple answer: Your heart was made for so much more then it can trust and feel worthy of. All sorts of factors combine to determine which addiction a person will pick and all sorts of different life experiences can contribute to the damage that drives a person away from what they were created to enjoy but the bottom line is pain -- pain that will not go away on its own, that blocks you from really reaching out and desperately needs to be brought out into the light and healed.
5. "Why do I feel so guilty/shameful?"
Guilt and shame are respectively the byproducts of judgment and condemnation (innately theological questions) and your heart was never created to live with either of them. The standard answer given is to suggest that they will resolve once you have changed behaviours and made amends for past wrongs. But, those answers never work and we don't deal in pat answers here anyway. Guilt dies when a person experiences the reality of the Gospel and stands in the wonder of what was already done; shame dies when a person comes to see themselves as they really are - as God made them to be.
The wonder of what Christ did is most clearly seen when a human heart longs to know Daddy (ABBA) and is freed to move towards engaging such - the ethical changes that also happen to occur are interesting, but, by comparison, utterly irrelevant. Guilt and shame are never erased by behaviours -- they are born away by a love Whose very presence obliterates them.
6. "I am addicted, whenever I'm on the net, I have to visit erotic sites. Why do I feel bored without it?"
Let's cut to the chase: It's not boredom and it never was. It's about fleeing an emotional state, compulsivity, distracting yourself, replacing missing connections and self deception. In other words, it's about addiction, it's cyclical and it needs help. What feels like boredom is a misconstrued longing for something else. Something that hurts too much to face and needs to be numbed out.
7. "I'm sexually attracted to children, is there anything I can do?"
Yes, and you need to do it quickly. Patterns of sexual arousal to children are a very serious concern. If left untreated, those patterns of attraction may result in sexual contact with children. It is critically important that anyone with this type of sexual attraction seek help. These attractions are the result of deep childhood wounding and require immediate help from a trained professional.
8. "With the recent onslaught of the drug Viagra, I can't help but wonder is there a drug (or drugs) that curb sexual desire in men?"
There is - and you probably DON'T want to take it due to terrible side effects. It's called Depo-Provera - a female hormone used as a form of birth control - that is also occasionally used as a treatment for sexual offenders to decrease sex drive. Depo-Provera may take away some biologically based sexual desire, but it also causes men to grow breasts, experience cardiovascular disease and develop osteoporosis. And, it is rarely successful - especially if new coping behaviours are not learned and used. There is simply no substitute for healing the heart.