Recovery from any addiction starts with sobriety.? Sobriety is easy to define in alcohol and drug addictions (e.g., an alcoholic knows they must abstain from alcohol in order to maintain sobriety).? Unfortunately, not every addiction has a clear definition of sobriety ? such is the case for sexual addiction.
The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) defines sex addiction as ?a persistent and escalating pattern or patterns of sexual behaviors acted out despite increasingly negative consequences to self or others.?
Does sexual sobriety mean that one must abstain from sex forever?? The answer to this can be debated by professionals until the end of time; however, sexual sobriety is rarely defined as complete abstinence from sex for the rest of one?s life.? A person wishing to recover from a sexual addiction needs to establish an appropriate definition for one?s own sobriety.
When beginning to recover from a sex addiction, a person will usually come up with a contract with his or her therapist (and/or sponsor) that clearly defines what sexual sobriety entails for that unique individual.? This contract involves defining and establishing sexual boundaries.? It is imperative for a person to have a clear definition of his or her own sobriety, in order to steer oneself away from acting out impulsively in sexually triggering situations.
Many individuals suffering from sexual addiction do not seek treatment or help, because they are afraid that they will be forced to stay abstinent forever.? The goal of treatment is not abstinence ? instead, it is to develop the ability for a healthy sexuality.? The Center for Healthy Sex defines healthy sex as ?consensual sex between adults that yields pleasure and personal growth.?
According to the Center for Healthy Sex, sex addiction is an intimacy disorder.? Their website states, ?A frustrated inability to dependably connect with healthy intimacy in primary relationships drives the sex addict to connect in unhealthy ways that further reinforce the basic inability to connect.? This kind of irrationality underlies the tragedy of untreated sex addiction.?
In order to recover from a sex addiction, one must learn to connect with others in a healthy nonsexual manner.? This is often achieved through the therapist-client relationship, as well as through making connections with people in support groups. ?Therapeutic relationships enable the client to accept his or her inner-self in order to be able to develop a healthy sexuality.? Through a person?s commitment to change, persistence, openness, and willingness, one can develop a healthy sexuality established in honesty, trust, and acceptance.
1. Center for Healthy Sex. n.d. Web. 3 April 2013.
2. The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH). n.d. Web. 3 April 2013.
Filed under: Addiction, Conditions and Disorders, Love and Relationships, Recovery, Treatment ? Tags: Acceptance, Addiction, change, consensual sex, healthy sex, healthy sexuality, honesty, openness, persistence, sex, sex addiction, sexual addiction, sobriety, therapeutic relationships, therapist, Treatment, trust, willingness