Compulsive Sexual Behaviour is presented in range of different forms.
Sex addiction is in itself a controversial concept. Does it exist? Is it an excuse that celebrities use after being caught cheating on their spouses? Is it a term that therapists use to repress healthy sexuality based on their own faulty moral compass?
Sex addiction is real. It is diagnosable. It is treatable. The World Health Organisation defines “compulsive sexual health disorder” as a “persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behaviour.”
There are a different number of compulsive sexual behaviours including but not limited to multiple sexual partners, pornography addiction, paying for sex, voyeurism as well as online infidelity, online sex and porn addiction. These behaviours when left unchecked may have negative and destructive outcomes in one’s life.
Sex addiction is not about having too much sex. People suffering from sexual addiction struggle to get their emotional needs met in healthy ways. Instead they develop a dependent relationship to sex which leads to a pattern of out-of-control behaviour.
With the onset of the Internet, accessibility to sex is now much easier than ever before and it can be accessed with relative anonymity. Like all addictive behaviours the potential consequences can be devastating: loss of self-esteem, damaged relationships, financial and professional ruin, compromised health and so forth.
One of the fundamental problems with diagnosing and treating sexual addiction is that there is no visible scarring like other addictions (Drugs, Alcohol, Food, Gambling) and as a result it can go underground for many years which forces the sexual addict to live a double life.
I specialise in treating sexual addiction with a particular emphasis on rebuilding healthy relationships with oneself and others. The Riviera Wellbeing Centre runs a number of transformative groups and intensives which can be an essential part of the recovery process. We use psycho-education and group therapy to encourage positive change. An important component of the group process is experiential in nature. The group works together, supports each other and shares their similar issues. Progress is evidenced by increased awareness and the ability to make healthy choices versus being driven by impulses.
Porn addiction, internet sex or cybersex addiction has become, and continues to become a major problem in today’s world. Given the accessibility everyone has to the internet on their smartphones and tablets, it is not surprising. Many addicts report spending hours on the internet watching porn and losing track of time. Work and family commitments are soon de-prioritised and often with serious life consequences.
The use of porn does not make someone an addict. However if a person has developed an unhealthy relationship and/or dependence with their usage, problems and consequences emerge.
Someone addicted to watching pornography will most likely feel powerless over their watching of pornography, the amount of time spent with it and possibly the type of pornography used. There will most likely be negative consequences as a result. It becomes an increasingly isolated activity. The more one uses porn, the less they feel connected to themselves and their loved ones. Intimacy becomes both sought after yet increasingly unobtainable.
Porn addicts often combine their use of pornography with compulsive masturbation. Some combine or follow their use of porn with other sexually compulsive behaviours such as anonymous sex, prostitution and exhibitionism and voyeurism.
It is important to seek the help of a professional who is trained in working with sexually compulsive behaviours.
Free Weekly Support group
Gavin runs a free weekly online support group for men suffering from sex/porn addiction. This is not a 12-step group or therapy; it is a place to share struggles or triumphs, to give and receive support, and to just not be alone. We want this to be a safe place for all who identify as being a male sex, porn, or love addict.
This group is not recorded but does allow you to turn on your video camera so you can see and be seen by others in the group. You have the option of turning off your camera to remain more anonymous if you so choose. Either way, we ask that you keep your microphone muted until you wish to speak so that any background noise is not disruptive to the group.
Love Addiction is the term used to describe someone who compulsively seeks relationships and/or affection of others. Being “in love” can become paramount to the love addict and wholly related to their sense of self-worth. Sex may become confused with love and yet their relationships lack any real intimacy. Love is sought yet unconsciously feared.
Like all addictions, there can be serious negative consequences. Individuals can feel powerless over their love addiction. Frequently people with love addiction engage in multiple affairs that frequently prove unhealthy and put themselves at risk. Sometimes love addicts remain in relationships feeling unhappy and detached and sadly their experience of feeling increases.
Love addiction and the searching for unhealthy attachment of others sometimes is the result of earlier traumatic experiences. It is important to work with a professional who is qualified in treating all issues that are related to love and sex addiction.
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