A person struggling with sex addiction may feel a lot of shame and powerlessness. They may have tried to stop certain sexual activities, or not have affairs, or stop masterbating or viewing pornography, but end up relapsing as the drive is too strong. This hopelessness can cause someone to retreat into fantasy, that ends up inflaming the desire for sex, creating a vicious cycle. If you have tried to stop unwanted or inappropriate sexual activity on your own, treatment from a sex addiction center can offer the encouragement, and resources to truly heal. Working through a program for people addicted to sex can help you get control over your desires, to say no to sexual impulses when you want to or when there are negative consequences, and learn how to form real, emotionally connecting relationships that may or may not have a sexual component.
Signs You May Need Sex Addiction Counseling
Wanting to have sex, in and of itself, is a normal part of being human. However, like any good thing, sex can create serious problems if taken to an extreme. People with sex addictions may have multiple affairs and casual sexual encounters, masterbate several times a day, or engage in extreme sexual acts that may be dangerous or painful. With an addiction,the urge to have sex becomes so powerful that it’s difficult to think about anything else until the desire is met. They might spend a lot of time and mental energy thinking of how to obtain sex, or unsuccessfully try to control their behavior. Often, their sexuality is accompanied by feelings of guilt and shame. They may try hard to get rid of their sexual desires, but “act out” against their will. A few other signs of sex addiction are:
- Feeling the need to lie about your sexual activity
- An inability to care about or connect emotionally to a sexual partner
- Having sex without regard to the consequences
- Frequent one night stands, soliciting prostitutes, or having multiple sexual partners at one time
- Engaging in cybersex or viewing ponography at the expense of other activities
How to Get the Most Out of Sex Addiction Counseling
The process of recovery from sex addiction will vary slightly from person to person, based on the severity and length of the addiction, and what the trained professionals consider to be the best path forward. Like all addictions, sex addiction is frequently rooted in self-deception. You deal with your overwhelming emotions and feelings of shame by repressing and denying how you feel. The first, and hardest, step in seeking help is learning how to be honest, with both yourself and others, about your thinking about sexuality and how you would like it to change. That will enable you to best put your all into the program, and thus get the maximum benefit. Some resources available to you include:
- Psychiatric medication that can help curb compulsive thoughts and behaviors.
- Individual counselling
- Group therapy
- Trauma-focused therapy
- Family and couple counseling
- Education on healthy behaviors
- Neurofeedback and other stress-reduction techniques
After Sex Rehab
Learning how to manage your addiction and find a new way to live is not going to come automatically. Rehab will give you the tools to respond to your addiction in a healthy way, but it is still up to you to choose that good response every day. Reminding yourself of your own strength to choose to be in control, as well as your commitment to real, healthy, relationships is an important part of staying committed to your recovery. Aftercare resources can provide additional support, and allow you to renew your passion for recovery.