Although his research methods have been criticized, Alfred Kinsey’s reports on human sexuality opened the door for honest discourse on the sexual practices of men and women. More than fifty years have passed since publication of the Kinsey Reports, in which time science, medicine, and psychotherapy have made great strides in understanding human sexuality. The greatest of those strides may be in the willingness of people to discuss problems associated with sexual practices, and the last barrier to fall on that front is a general willingness to consider and to seek therapy for sex addiction.
Counseling for Sex Addiction Treatment
As with many addictions, the first step toward seeking counseling is to recognize and acknowledge that a problem exists. Sex addiction symptoms will generally not be recognized by an individual’s friends or family. The individual sufferer himself will need to accept his problem when he experiences chronic obsessions over sex, he seeks to have sexual experiences with multiple different partners, he lies to cover up his actions, he flirts with illegal sexual activities such as patronizing prostitutes or viewing child pornography, or his regular daily existence and relationships begin to suffer due to his chronic focus on sex. Some sex addicts will not acknowledge a problem until they have a life-changing experience, such as a prostitution-related arrest. Others will be able to see the problem before it gets to that point.
A person who seeks therapy for sex addiction will naturally be concerned with opening himself up to speak about his problems honestly, but sex addiction counselors are trained to be non-judgmental. Sex addicts may also fear or reject any suggestions to give up certain conducts that give them pleasure. A qualified counselor will address these concerns and will help a person who suffers from this affliction to understand how overcoming the problem can lead to greater sensations of pleasure without any of the attendant shame or guilt that often accompanies sexual activity that is pursued through an addiction.
Counseling for sex addiction treatment most frequently involves behavioral therapy that teaches an individual to shift his focus away from sexual activity when he is faced with common addiction triggers. A person might pursue certain actions out of boredom, stress, depression, or some other psychological disorder. Counselors will look for these triggers and seek ways to help an individual to avoid them or to respond to them in a positive manner.
As the behavioral therapy works to change a sex addict’s conduct, the counselor can delve deeper into an individual’s background and upbringing to understand the forces that created his sex addiction. Like individuals who suffer from substance addictions, some sex addicts fall prey to their obsessions as a result of chemical changes in their brains. Others may have been raised in dysfunctional families, or they might have experienced some emotional trauma or sexual abuse when they were growing up. If an individual’s sex addiction is in addition to one or more other psychosocial disorders such as depression or anxiety, his counselor might also prescribe antidepressants or other pharmaceuticals to treat those disorders as well.
Ultimately, sex addiction is not a harmless problem. Aspects of a sex addict’s personality might be stunted as a result of his sex addiction or by the root causes of that addiction, and he will not be able to experience full and mature relationships with others if those causes are not addressed.
If you believe that you are experiencing problems with your own unhealthy focus on sexual activities, please contact the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, at 512-360-3600. We will provide confidential and non-judgmental advice on whether you would benefit from counseling, and we can provide information and assistance to find a counselor that offers the most comfortable environment and relationship to discuss and address your situation.