Breaking the Vicious Spell of Sexual Addiction

Posted on September 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

One might have fantasized about the gorgeous women they ever laid their eyes on but if someone went ahead to conquer each and every such woman in an endless but a methodical quest then such an individual might be considered to be prone to sexual addiction. Though, it may not sound like a life threatening situation but the social and the psychological implications of this condition will make you think otherwise.

Sex addiction has a major difference than other types of addictions like alcohol or drug addiction as it involves the act of sex which is a normal activity that is performed regularly unlike consuming alcohol or drugs. However, sexual addiction is basically all about engaging in a relentless pursuit of sexual pleasure despite the knowledge of its consequence to oneself and others. It is an addiction that can permanently damage a person but just like all other addictions it too can be cured with the right treatment.

An essential key to the right treatment of sex addiction lies in understanding the key reasons behind the addiction. There can be various causes like early exposure to inappropriate sexual activity or materials or physical, sexual and emotional abuse especially during childhood or the adolescence period. Growing up in rigid and disengaged families also can contribute to the development of sexual addiction in an individual as such families tend to ignore, restrict or make the child feel inadequate and as a failure. Thus in such circumstances the child tries to escape from his family issues and resorts to sexual fantasies like masturbation or engaging in covert sex early in life to escape from the tensions.

Addiction recovery in such cases starts with helping one to stop that behavior first. All this can be done by attending these recovery oriented support meetings or to maintain a support system via a therapist or a support group with the back up of a sponsor. Also some professional doctors can offer counseling and therapy in cases of sex addiction but the role of family and friends in encouraging and supporting the individual is instrumental in faster treatment. Also, the infamous 12 step sex program for treating addictions states sexual addiction as the most difficult to master is it would involve an extremely dedicated approach to treat the addiction. However, one of the most effective ways to conquer sexual addiction is by counseling strategies like individual counseling, group counseling, counseling of the addict’s partner and couple counseling. The motive of these counseling sessions is to help not only the addict but also the partner or the spouse who faces trauma due to the addiction.

Prior to treatment a person caught in sexual addiction might perform sexual acts to feel safe, comfortable and accepted but it is one condition that separates an individual from everything in life that a person holds dear. And the only way one can break out from a situation that will destroy one’s social structure is by going through addiction recovery. While alcohol and drugs have to be bought, sex is a normal experience and this recovering from an addiction based on a routine act is difficult without help.

Body Image Impacts Sexual Experiences

Posted on September 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

Research has found that body image and sexual anxiety are predictive of sexual esteem, sexual assertiveness, and avoidance of sexual activity. The research study contributes to the literature of sexual satisfaction in single women aged 30-50 by studying self-esteem, body image, and sexual knowledge. There is a gap in the literature examining sexual satisfaction within the age group of women 30-50 years of age. Walkers’ findings suggest that recommendations for further studies be conducted to focus on these variables in the level of relationship commitment whether a couple is dating infrequently or they are single. Because the variables of self-esteem, body image, sexual knowledge, and sexual satisfaction using an older population have not been studied collectively, it is not known whether sexual experiences are influenced positively or negatively by self-esteem, body image, and sexual knowledge. Individuals may blame their sexual dissatisfaction on sexual dysfunction.

As a woman becomes more familiar physiologically with her body, she can begin to become more aware of how her body will respond when she is sexually stimulated. Many women seek counseling, and those problems that present in the counseling session are rooted in depression. Research studies have stated that the symptoms of depression stem from unsatisfying relationships. Some women have sought help in counseling guidance for relationship problems that are often sexually based. People are almost totally incapable of experiencing a satisfying sexual relationship, whether it is from intercourse, heavy petting, and so forth, without a positive image of their body or normal level of self-esteem. The literature review describes how the self image of the body is developed and formed by environmental factors. Women shape their body image by many factors such as family influence, friends, and media. Many women compare themselves to what society has set as the ideal. The self-efficacy theory will be applied to the variable of body image, which is the second component of the theoretical framework to support the research study. Women’s beliefs and their capabilities to form either a positive or negative image of the body influence the outcome of their sexual experience. Individuals are more likely to continue their efforts until success is achieved if their perceived self-efficacy is high. Increased self-efficacy has been shown to be related to behaviors associated with weight loss and self image of the body.

The literature review describes the environmental factors that contribute to the development of women’s body image. The self-efficacy theory is applied to support the development of body image and one’s capabilities and beliefs to successfully engage in the possession of a positive body image. The literature review analyzes the studies that have been conducted on women and body image. The dissatisfaction of body image plays a significant role in a woman’s self-esteem and how she perceives herself to the world. The self-efficacy theory can be applied to the development of women’s body image in this research study. The theory refers to one’s beliefs in one’s capabilities to successfully engage in specific behaviors. Therefore, the way a woman feels about her body and if she believes she has a positive image of her body, she will successfully engage in positive behaviors. A person who has a negative or positive body image is affected in their sexual pleasure and its relationship to satisfaction.

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Sexual Addiction – Help For the Sex Addict’s Spouse – Part 5

Posted on September 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

Can the spouse of a sex addict find help individually for the effects of the sexual addiction on their lives? Sure. Much of the time, however, it is the crisis of discovery of the acting out, or some other related crisis that brings the sex addict and spouse into treatment. They usually seek services at the same time, if the spouse gets help. Unfortunately, many times only the addict is treated.   

Although there are inpatient and outpatient treatment services, many sex addicts and their partners have a difficult time finding an appropriate treatment provider. Couples may seek marriage counseling and no address the sexual addiction.    

Possible reasons for this are varied, but couples often come to counseling with a variety of relationship complaints that may not be immediately identifiable as sexual addiction. Addiction-related behavior or problems may be hidden intentionally or unintentionally from the therapist and the couple may not understand the connections between the sexual behavior and their other presenting problems. Additionally, many treatment providers have a general lack of knowledge about sexual addiction.  Sexual addiction demands treatment.   

Once sexual addiction has been correctly diagnosed, the addict’s number one goal would be abstinence from the compulsive sexual behavior(s).  A first step in achieving that goal is to define “abstinence”. Although abstinence in drug addiction treatment is easily defined, that is not necessarily the case with sexual addiction.  A lifetime of abstinence is not usually recommended, but treatment for sexual addiction will often involve complete sexual abstinence for a period of time (often 60-90 days),  Spouses should be part of the discussions about definitions of abstinence and any expectations of abstinence within the marriage for any period of time. This is important because couples often assume that they agree on something when it has not even been discussed.  

Treatment for the addict and co-addict would involve education about sexual addiction.   The importance of using all recovery resources available, (i.e., sex addicts anonymous (SAA), sexaholics anonymous (SA), Co-SA (co-dependents of sex addicts), group counseling, individual and couples counseling would be discussed. Therapists would also usually make reading recommendations.  

What kinds of issues would the spouse of an addict work on in counseling? Many spouses initially have the attitude that it is the addict only that has “the problem”. But when you look at the devastation in your own life that is associated with the sex addiction, you begin to see not just the benefit of counseling but the importance of it. 

A line of communication begins, with assistance in learning effective, non-acting out dialogue. Couples learn fair fighting and active listening skills. This assists in a more comprehensive disclosure about the sexual compulsivity.  The addict usually feels some relief about getting the secrets out into the open. But both the addict and spouse usually feel overwhelming shame. Both may feel grief. The spouse or co-addict may grieve the loss of the fantasy marriage. The addict may feel grief over the loss of the addiction. The spouse inevitably feels betrayed and very angry. Painful issues are uncovered. Couples need good communication skills in order to talk about these painful experiences and feelings. Although the couple may be talking about these issues with each other, they may still be withdrawing and isolating from other family members and friends due to shame. Self esteem takes a hit in early recovery but usually recovers during the process of recovery over time.   

Couples usually need help with rebuilding, not just the trust and intimacy in their lives, but with damage to infrastructure, like finances. Some of the negative consequences of sexual addiction are loss of job, financial devastation, and an arrest or other legal consequences (i.e., sexual harassment). These are issues that require the processing of feelings, and problem solving skills. Partners need help working through the emotional damage of the acting out, with working through hurt feelings and betrayal, rebuilding trust, and recovering a willingness to risk letting down their guard with each other.  

The spouse needs therapeutic attention of his/her own. Treatment goals for the co-addict would probably involve a frank discussion of feelings about the acting out, with an assessment of the damage to the spouse from that acting out. Spouses often blame themselves for the acting out, believing that if they were pretty/handsome enough, smart enough, sexual enough, etc. that their spouse would not be acting out. They may feel guilty about not seeing it earlier and/or not recognizing the problem so that it could be solved. 

The spouse usually needs help with learning to let go of responsibility for the addict’s recovery, to stop inappropriate caretaking or enabling, or to stop trying to control the addict. The co-addict is assisted in empowering themselves to make decisions based on strengths rather than fear. Self-esteem is a focus of therapeutic attention. 

Co-addicts often discover in the process of recovery that they had their own issues before the sexual addiction issues surfaced. Similarly, the addict usually has the beginning of their sexual addiction before the marriage. A lot of co-addicts (and addicts) uncover addictions of other family members, and unresolved family of origin trauma, like childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect. These are issues that need to be addressed and treated in order to be able to truly be intimate in relationships.   

Just as the addict needs to change their core beliefs in recovery, the co-addict must change some core beliefs about themselves and their own competence in recovery. As recovery continues, and time passes, the co-addict can eventually regain the trust for their addicted spouse. This is not a short process, and the addict often gets frustrated, angry, and resentful when the spouse continues to bring up the past, and discuss and process negative feelings. Counseling helps facilitate this process with assistance in talking about it and reminding the addict that it takes the spouse this long to work through those feelings. 

The spouse’s ability to regain trust for the sex addict is in part dependent upon their perception of addict’s performance in honesty, consistency, dependability, and sensitivity to the co-addict’s feelings.  Identifying and working through one’s own issues, along with increase self-esteem and self-confidence, helps facilitate the recovery of trust. 

Other important therapeutic work of the spouse is development of a plan for how they would deal with relapse. Through their own hard work they learn to determine for themselves what they are willing to live with and what they are not. They learn to define and declare their bottom lines and to set boundaries about relapse accordingly. They learn to reject unacceptable behavior and take care of themselves. Co-addicts can learn to trust their own opinions and reality and make decisions appropriate to being responsible for their own health, welfare, and happiness.   

Treatment is not just for the addict. Even if the addict does not recover, the spouse can, if they are willing to do the work. Just divorcing the addict, usually does not solve the problem for the co-addict. Without work, the emotional baggage that you carry around from one relationship to another just keeps getting heavier. 

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