What is Sex Addiction?
Sex Addiction is generally characterised as compulsive thoughts or acts pertaining to sex, masturbation or porn. Like all addictions these behaviours or thoughts progress and escalate over time, as it takes more and more to achieve the “fix” or “high”. With this progression and escalation often comes an increase in the negative impact on the sufferer’s personal and sometimes even professional life.
During sex the human body releases a cocktail of powerful feel good chemicals, which produce a ‘high’ that can become addictive. Similarly to substance abuse, over time the body will become resistant to these ‘highs’ and the threshold for what’s needed in order to achieve that same buzz increases.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Having frequent, casual sex.
- Having sexual fantasies, behaviours and urges in response to stressful life events.
- Feeling unable to control or reduce your behaviour, despite knowing there may be consequences.
- Persistent pursuit of high risk or potentially destructive behaviour.
- Repetitively engaging in sexual behaviour while disregarding the potential risk for physical or emotional harm to yourself or others.
- Neglecting recreational, occupational and social activities to engage in sexual behaviour.
- Suffering from intense ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ in mood surrounding sexual activity.
- Feeling that you need to engage in more and more sexual activity in order to produce the same results.
- Feeling shame and/or guilt after engaging in sexual activity.
Sex Addiction Counselling:
We offer face to face counselling to Addicts, Partners as a couple once through recovery.
In one to one counselling with addicts we will explore whether there is an addiction problem, the severity of the problem, motivation to change these behaviours. We will address underlying causes and help you to find different coping strategies. We will also regularly “check in” to work towards recovery and sobriety.
In one to one counselling with Partners of addicts, we will offer support through this really difficult time, recognising the trauma you are going through. Partner of addicts also often internalise a lot of difficult emotions, shame, guilt, anger and many other intense feelings about the addict, about themselves and about the relationship. At a time when there will already be a lot of strain these feelings can lead relationships into a confused and sometimes volatile place. Ideally, the best setting for a sex addict’s partner to get recovery is in the same place the addict receives it – with a supportive counsellor or psychotherapist trained in the treatment of sexual addiction.
We believe that it is important to work on individual recovery before beginning counselling together as a couple.
Allowing the addict to work into recovery and sobriety and partners to have support through this trauma and time to understand some of the confusion of lingering thoughts and emotions.