Distress, shame and guilt about the behaviors erode the addict’s already weak self-esteem.
Sexual addiction can be conceptualized as an intimacy disorder manifested as a compulsive cycle of preoccupation, ritualization, sexual behavior, and despair.
Sex addicts use behaviors rather than substances as coping mechanisms.
These might include masturbation, compulsive viewing of pornography, infidelity, one-night stands and a host of other ‘acting out’ practices that undermine the ability to form intimate bonds with another human being.
Regardless of the particular brand of sex addiction, this stage of reentry into the dating pool is critical for every sex addict.
The use of certain antidepressants (SSRIs) has proved to be very effective in treating the impulse control problems of many sexual compulsives.Individuals who are highly disciplined, accomplished and able to direct the force of their will in other areas of life fall prey to sexual compulsion.More importantly, people who love and cherish their partners can still be enslaved by these irresistible urges.Instead of seeing transparency as a punishment or a hindrance, the addict must come to view it as rock-solid security measure again potential relapse, where relapse would eliminate all chances at personal happiness.The realm of healthy dating may seem strange for other reasons as well.However, once in therapy, there inevitably comes a day when the sex addict is ready to embark on that daunting journey we call dating.For a man who has spent years, if not decades, relating to porn actresses on a computer screen, encountering a flesh and blood partner can seem unpredictable and terrifying.After all, addiction tends to arrest people emotionally, and in recovery they often surface at the point from which they left off, feeling, for instance, like a 20-year old trapped in a 35-year old’s body.Here the therapist can offer gentle, loving encouragement to try giving people their own age a chance.Central to the disorder is the inability of the individual to adequately bond and attach in intimate relationships.The syndrome is rooted in early attachment failure with primary caregivers.