Relationship Counseling for Individuals and Couples
What Is Sex Addiction?
"Like an alcoholic unable to stop drinking, sexual addicts are
unable to stop their self-destructive sexual behavior. Family breakups,
financial disaster, loss of jobs, and risk to life are the painful themes
of their stories.
Sex addicts come from all walks of life - they may
be ministers, physicians, homemakers, factory workers, salespersons,
secretaries, clerks, accountants, therapists, dentists, politicians, or
executives, to name just a few examples. Most were abused as children -
sexually, physically, and/or emotionally. The majority grew up in
families in which addiction already flourished, including alcoholism,
compulsive eating, and compulsive gambling. Most grapple with other
addictions as well, but they find sex addiction the most
difficult to stop. Much hope nevertheless exists for these
addicts and their families.
Sex addicts have shown an ability to transform a life of self-destruction
into a life of self-care, a life in chaos and despair into one of
confidence and peace."
Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D., Author of "Out of the Shadows"
Sexual addiction is defined as any sexually-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one's work environment.
Sexual addiction has been called sexual dependency and sexual compulsivity. By any name, it is a compulsive behavior that completely dominates the addict's life. Sexual addicts make sex a priority more important than family, friends, and work. Sex becomes the organizing principle of addict's lives. They are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behavior.
Dr. Patrick Carnes estimates three to six percent of the population are facing sexual addiction. It remains unclear whether one gender has a higher incidence of sexual addiction than the other. Research by Dr. Carnes shows that approximately 20 - 25% of all patients who seek help for sexual dependency are women. (This same male-female ratio is found among those recovering from alcohol addiction, drug addiction, and pathological gambling.)
Why Don’t Sex Addicts Just Stop Their Destructive Behavior?
Sexual addicts feel tremendous guilt and shame about their out-of-control behavior, and they live in constant fear of discovery. Yet addicts will often act out sexually in an attempt to block out the very pain of their addiction. This is part of what drives the addictive cycle. Like other forms of addiction, sex addicts are out of control and unable to stop their behaviors despite their self-destructive nature and potentially devastating consequences.
Key to understanding loss of control in addicts is the concept of the “hijacked brain.” Addicts essentially have rewired their brains so that they do behaviors (drinking, drug use, eating, gambling, and sex) even when they are intending to do something quite different. The triggers to these maladaptive responses are usually stress, emotional pain, or specific childhood scenarios of sexual abuse or sexual trauma. Breakthrough science in examining brain function is helping us to understand the biology of this disease.
How We Can Help
If you feel you or your partner are experiencing any of these conditions, please call me as I am one of the rare Couples Therapy Specialists who is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist trained directly by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. from the International Institute for Trauma Professionals.
Please feel free to call or contact me directly NOW for a confidential, complimentary telephone consultation about your concerns and to discuss your options. Contact me at (818) 859-6766 or use the Contact Form to the right to learn how I may be of assistance to you.
A Change in One Person
Can Lead to a Change in the Relationship
Source: Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. www.SexHelp.com