Understanding Sexual Addiction
by Jake Kastleman; Edited by Utah Family Therapy
Sexual addiction is a widespread and common issue nowadays. It includes activity in pornography addiction, sexual addiction, and abuse within relationships, seeking out new sexual partners frequently, and more extreme cases like the hiring of prostitutes and attending of brothels.
In any case, one thing to understand, most who are caught up in sexual addiction are not caught up in it because they are evil, filthy, or seeking to mistreat others.
Those with these addictions became entrenched in them because of deep, internal pain. These internal wounds continue to grow as the person’s addiction does. Alongside this, the longer they use their addiction as an unhealthy coping mechanism, the more dependent they become on it both emotionally and chemically.
A majority of sexual addictions begin due to an inability to connect with people and to feel loved.
If one does not love themselves and they do not feel loved by others, many times they can react to this accumulated pain and shame by seeking out addictions. The same way a substance user seeks out drugs to get their “fix” to cope, sex addicts seek out sexual relations and plagiarized versions of what we are meant to experience in loving, healthy, committed relationships.
Paradoxically, as sex addicts desire this deep connection (as we all do), they then turn to this surface-level, unhealthy uses of sexual abilities. Each time, they are left dissatisfied, empty, and craving more, because the real needs within them are not satisfied. In addition to this though, there are detrimental changes that occur in the user’s neurochemistry. Fortunately, though, they can be healed over time.
Neural circuitry forms new pathways in the brain that keep a user coming back again and again, as these outlets give momentary pleasure and trick the brain into believing they will deliver what they seem to promise. Sadly, each time an addict does this, they are forming habits and views that lead them further from the ability to build real relationships and enjoy them. Also, the brain is being chemically damaged over time, ruining abilities for genuine connection, enjoy socializing, pursuing goals, love, caring, and overall satisfaction with everything in life.
Human beings are meant to take time to build relationships.
It is a slow process, and it is supposed to be. It requires patience, commitment, and presence. If a person gives themselves and their partner time to cultivate a relationship based upon the real stuff – emotional intimacy, understanding, laughter, experience, growth – they are then able to feel close and truly enjoy being with one another in a deep and meaningful way.
Once two people have taken that time, and they are in love and committed to one another, it is at this point that they can express physical intimacy and experience it with fullness. Without this, the experience is fleeting and ingenuine. It leads to dissatisfaction and selfishness within a relationship, and can even drive the two partners apart.
Sex Addiction Because Of Abuse
In addition to all of this, it must not be forgotten that some sexual addiction come as a result of trauma and abuse. For these individuals, there is hope; a lot of hope in fact. But as is the case, it requires the person to go through a healing process and involves a great deal of effort and perseverance.
As is the case with all addictions, willpower is not the answer. Many addicts fail to overcome their addiction for years because of one simple reason: they do not know-how. As is the case with anything, recovery takes practice. But before it can be practiced, of course, the person struggling with it must be taught the tools and the skills for how they can work through addiction. This requires guidance.
Utah Family Therapy, we understand addiction.
Several people on our staff have even been through their recovery processes in the past. We understand the pain and struggle.
Most importantly though, we understand how it is worked through, healed, and overcome.
Using methods of Multisystemic Therapy ( Intensive Outpatient Therapy), we take a unique approach to recovery. Addicts will have the opportunity to heal not just themselves, but those in their environment. Using our expertise as therapeutic professionals, on a daily basis, and our deep understanding for real change that comes through genuine connection and empathy, we will guide you and your child to ensure a better future for both of you. Sex addiction is a struggle you’re experiencing, it’s not who you really are.