I would like to address the topic of sex addiction today.
There is a lot of sense and nonsense about this subject and due to this, a feeling of obscurity, for example starting with the definition. There is not yet a professional consensus about this. In the just released new edition of the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition 5 which outlines all classifications of mental disorders) the professionals involved didn’t reach consensus. Instead they have referred to the diagnosis of Hypersexual Disorder, with the note that further research on this disorder is needed before using as a definitive diagnostic classification.
From my perspective, based on my clinical experience, the main symptoms involve: lack of control, disturbance of work or relationship and dissatisfaction. In my private practice I see men with these symptoms regularly who are not in control of their drive to watch porn, their usage of sexual chat rooms or have no resistance to opportunities to be involved in sexual activities with people other than their regular partner. Of course, in order to reach out for help for this problem the man has to overcome a certain feeling of shame, acknowledge he has a problem and be clear that he wants to resolve it.
But how do you know whether you are sex addicted?
Here are some questions that might be helpful to you, obtained from the Sexual Addiction Screening Test:
- Is sex almost all you think about?
- Has your sexual behaviour put you at risk for arrest for lewd conduct or public indecency?
- Have people in your life been upset about your sexual activities online?
- Have you attempted to stop your online sexual behaviours and failed?
- Do you hide some of your sexual behaviours from others?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to the majority of these questions, you might want to consult a specialist to help you with your sexual behaviour.
Usually the problem of sex addiction has a not yet comprehensively explained connection with low self- esteem. This is to be assessed in therapy to work on setting goals and limits of the particular behaviour, in cooperation with the partner if present. The involvement of the partner is essential and most of all beneficial to improve the intimate relationship and the feelings of connection between the partners. And this also provides the opportunity for the partner of the client to express their feelings of anger, incompetence, rejection and self-doubt. Other causes of sex addiction are associated with past negative sexual experiences and a lack of satisfying emotional responses in an individual’s past or current circumstances. These experiences may allow them to spend too much time thinking about or being occupied with sexual activities.
If you recognise any of these symptoms yourself or in your partner and you would like to address this, feel free to give the practice a call for enquiries or to make a booking. I would be pleased to be able to assist you deal with the underlying reasons for your sex addiction by improving your relationship and your feelings of competence.
Sex Therapy at Attuned Psychology is an important service offered by our practice. For more information and to make enquiries, visit our Sex Therapy Adelaide page.
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