In this context, an addiction involves an uncontrollable craving and compulsive need for a particular behavior or specific object.
Sex Addiction or Compulsive Sexual Behavior (CSB) is characterised by and not limited to - recurring sexual urges, behaviours that can interfere with an individual’s day-to-day functioning, fantasies and risky sexual behaviour.
For some individuals, CSB can include compulsive masturbation or becoming obsessed with pornography. For others, CSB can lead to exhibitionistic type behaviours, multiple sex partners/affairs, unprotected sexual acts, visits to sex workers, ritualistic behaviours, cybersex, and even sex on the down low, to name a few. CSB can become dangerous when individuals are unable to stop themselves from engaging in behaviours that put them in physical risk.
According to Patrick Carnes (2001),
"a sex addict goes through four cycles repeatedly: a preoccupation with thoughts of sex; ritualization of preparation for sex (such as primping oneself and going to bars); compulsive sexual behavior over which the addict feels he or she has no control; and despair afterward as the realization hits that he or she has again repeated the destructive sequence of events."
Individuals may engage in behaviours they feel are immoral, or behaviours that lead to feelings of extreme guilt, shame and can affect their ability to function normally in day-to-day life. This also extends to impacting individuals in being able to be intimate, sexual and connect with their primary partner or even being afraid of “contaminating” their partner if they have engaged in risky sex acts with others.
In my clinical experience, I have found that sex addicts can have low self esteem and distorted beliefs and justifications around their behavior. CSB can be used as an escape from intense and unpleasant emotions, dealing with stress or anxiety or trying to relive an intense high experienced at one time in their life. Some sex addicts are able to justify their behaviours and deny they have a problem.
There is a lot we can do in session to help you get back on track, feel more in control and form healthier behaviours. All cases are unique and in session we will be able to diagnose your severity and work accordingly. We will put together a plan based on your case history, symptoms, underlying cause, concerns as an individual and also work towards your specific goals. You will be given specific exercises and tasks to do at home - this will complement our work and potentially allow you to experience positive results and/or relief from behaviours sooner.
Therapy will include sex therapy and counselling. If you are interested in hypnotherapy and nlp as part of the therapy process, please visit my practice website for more detailed information: lucidmind.com.au.
For information on Porn Addiction, please click here.