Sex addicted people lose control over their sexuality. She becomes unwanted and coerced, as if they are not having sex of their own free will. Their sexuality can be compared to a drug: it evokes negative emotions, but at the same time it is impossible to refuse it.
Sex is like a drug
Addicts are constantly looking for more and more powerful experiences. Vivid experiences do not last long, and such people strive to quickly repeat this experience. “They are raising the bar higher and higher,” says psychoanalyst Jean-Benoit Dumonthey, an addiction specialist. “And so they soon discover that their sexuality goes against their beliefs.” Sadomasochism, hard sex are used …
Sex addicts often use the phrases “dose needed”, “own portion”. Sex plays the role of a stimulant for them, like alcohol or marijuana. “Yes, these are comparable things,” says the psychoanalyst. – For some, deprivation of the “dose” causes breakage: limbs tremble, teeth clack. These are the same withdrawal symptoms experienced by those deprived of heroin or alcohol. “
Addiction leads to the fact that psychology is changing. Perception narrows, a kind of tunnel appears. It gives the illusion of being protected, but at the same time, other people simply cease to exist.
Another as an object
Sex addicts are looking for more and more new partners, but are not interested in their personality. The other ceases to be a person for them in the full sense of the word. He turns into a body, an object of masturbation and is not perceived as a person.
“One of the ways to get out of addiction is to return another to his human position, to allow him to become a subject,” the psychoanalyst emphasizes.
We can take alcohol away and never touch it, but we cannot get rid of our sexuality.
Addicts destroy social ties, their destructive passion consumes their time and thoughts. They may refuse to meet up with friends if there is an opportunity to have sex. If they are in crisis or frustrated, they may behave aggressively, taking out their rage on others for having lost the ability to control their lives. In most cases, in the company of others, they feel ashamed: “if only you knew who I really am.”
Sexual addiction is in many ways similar to other types of addiction, but there is also a peculiarity – its “tool” is inseparable from us, it is a part of our personality.
“We can easily resort to masturbation,” explains Jean-Benoit Dumontay, “because this drug is so difficult to combat. We can take alcohol away and never touch it, but we cannot get rid of our sexuality. Therefore, there is always a risk of becoming addicted. ” So we need to continue to live with our sexuality, but do it differently.
But at what point does hypersexuality turn into addiction and can they be distinguished? The former is adjustable and can be enjoyable, while the latter is uncontrollable and causes guilt and shame.
Sex addiction affects people of all ages, of any gender, with a wide variety of addictions, but some typical signs can be distinguished.
The majority of addicts, as the psychoanalyst explains, are men of about forty, who in everyday life often find themselves in stressful situations and bear great responsibility. For example, politicians or doctors on whom the lives of others depend, sometimes literally. They begin to use sex as a way to defuse the accumulated tension.
For single people, getting out of addiction is more difficult, and addiction itself is much more destructive.
Most often, a traumatic episode of a sexual nature is found in their past: obscene behavior of someone from the environment, promiscuous relationships, incest or violence. This event makes them vulnerable. Their child or adolescent psyche has not yet matured and matured enough to cope and process impressions, which contain duality: they simultaneously generate feelings of rejection and excitement.
This breakdown later develops into deep inner anxiety. It is also often revealed that they grew up in an environment of addiction – for example, one of the elders had problems with alcohol.
Lies and exposure
Sexual addiction is inseparable from lying. Addicts not only have two phones, they have a double life. “Most of my patients are married,” says the psychoanalyst, “so they had or will have to tell their partners what was going on.”
All of them face the risk of losing someone they love. It is also a moment of intense shame: they have to reveal their true face, recognizing the fact that they previously hid it.
Yet revealing the truth is a relief: in most cases, partners already knew that they were hiding something from them. At the same time, learning about the addict’s infidelity, they understand that the reason is not in them. In most cases, having experienced a shock, the partners of addicts still find the strength to understand and forgive. They stay together to help recover and their help is invaluable.
For single people, getting out of addiction is more difficult, and addiction itself is much more destructive. Yet addicts themselves can find a way out of addiction. It starts with refusing to lie to ourselves.
Find the way out
All addicts go through the stage of denial, when the addiction seems to be manageable. Until this stage is over, healing will not begin. The first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem. The second is asking for help. It is necessary: we are too inclined to deceive ourselves and therefore cannot become therapists for ourselves.
You need to contact the therapist who knows how to work with addiction, the psychoanalyst emphasizes. The therapy itself consists of two stages. The first is a discussion of illness. The addict asks himself important questions:
- What am I doing?
- What is happening to me?
- When does this happen?
- What is unsettling me?
So his life becomes more conscious, he learns to see the manifestations of his illness. Then a deeper, analytical stage begins. This is the work of finding out the causes of addiction and finding new behavior in difficult situations.
Three parts of healing
Three important parts of therapy:
1. Avoid boredom. The time and place occupied by addiction should not remain empty, it is important to fill them with something. It is important to find something that gives pleasure, captivates. Boredom is a risk factor for any addict, whatever his drug may be. This substitution does not happen immediately and requires patience.
2. Create a new reaction. The addict is trying to treat himself in a new way. He listens to what is happening to him and learns to delay his response to stress. He may decide that after something has happened, he will wait 5 or 10 minutes and thus avoid the previous automatic reaction. He gets the opportunity to act deliberately.
3. Anticipate crises. He also learns to anticipate crises that could cause an addiction attack, tries to plan events so that they do not cause a stressful reaction.
Healing means that old behaviors cease and new patterns are created. But the predisposition to addiction does not disappear, in this sense it is incurable. In case of injury, relapse is possible. That is why we must remain vigilant. At first, this requires an investment of effort, but over time it becomes habitual.