Read our related article, Whatever it takes to get and stay abstinent from sex addiction.Pin It
Sex addiction can kill your relationship. It is a serious mental health issue, a dysfunction that affects many areas of your life. Your risky sexual behavior hurts you and others around you. It is unlikely – just about impossible – that you can handle sex addiction on your own. Probably you do your best to fight off your addiction, however, you cannot. You fail over and over again. You hate yourself for your weakness. You do not want to betray a loved partner. You have to live with guilt. You take risks that you do not want to take. You might need help from a sex addiction therapist.
A therapist does more than listen to you. You can share your burden with someone, it is helpful in itself, but a trained sex addiction counselor can do more: she or he can provide advice and professional guidance. Their assistance might very well save your relationship.
1. A Professional Can Deal with your Shocked Partner
If you want your relationship to survive, you will need a disclosure to your partner. A disclosure means that you are honest with your partner and you take all the responsibility for everything you have done. You cannot recover from your earlier behavior without this step. You will have to tell your partner about your sexual acting out. It will be a rough situation. Do not face it on your own. If you – or your shocked, infuriated partner – give in to impulses of rage, disappointment and sorrow, or if you start a blame game, your relationship might turn for the worst.
You and your partner would be served best attending professional sex addiction therapy. When the counselor feels the time is right disclosure will occur. This date may vary, it always depends on your specific circumstances.
A therapist should be present when you tell your partner that you are a sex addict and you were unfaithful (probably on many occasions). Chances are that your partner will be shocked and angry. A therapist can tell you how to do the necessary preparations. He or she will give a structure to this hard conversation, letting you know how you should tell everything, step by step. A therapist will help you express your guilt. With his or her help, you can let your partner know that you regretted your mistakes, you are accountable and you are willing to change and what that change looks like moving forward.
2. A Trained Sex Addiction Counselor Knows How to Tell It
A sex addiction therapist will help deal with your partner’s reaction. A therapist will know what has to be shared and what would cause more harm than good. Your therapist will sometimes make you write a letter, this will provide a structure for the forthcoming situation. Once you know what you want to talk about, you can avoid of getting distracted by angry outbursts, blame, defensive behavior and other harmful reactions.
3. A Therapist Will Find the Roots of your Problem
A therapist will help you find the reason behind your addiction. Sex addiction is a behavior that seemingly helps you deal with stress and negative feelings, many of these feelings are hidden in your subconscious mind. Sex addiction often comes from childhood traumas. Such issues are hard to face. It will stir up emotions that you probably cannot handle. Dealing with these traumas also requires help from a mental health professional. Your addiction is a obsessive-compulsive behavior. It is a mental disorder; you cannot get rid of it on your own.
4. Guidance through Hardships
Your way to mental health and recovery will not be easy. Your partner will have a rough ride, too. He or she might feel furious and disappointed. He or she does not trust for a long time and may blame you.
Your partner can have his or her own issues: codependency or anger. A counselor can address the partner’s issues, too. Your partner might have sensed that something was not right all along, however, you dismissed his or her worries. Sex addicts often lie, and – when they want to get off the hook – they are verbally abusive. Both you and your partner should change your approach.
A therapist can help you and your partner avoid pitfalls while healing your broken relationship. Your aim is to take full responsibility for your sexual behavior and not to cheat on your partner anymore.
5. A Therapist Can Help Avoid Staggered Disclosure
There exists a behavior that experts call staggered disclosure. It means that you do not tell everything to your partner, you hide some of your sex adventures from him or her. It is very harmful. Again, you will find yourself in a tangled web of lies. It will undermine your partner’s trust which was already damaged. A trained addiction therapist can recognize such tactics and will help you avoid it.
Those are five reasons a therapist is recommended for disclosure.
Please comment on the ways a professional helped you in this disclosure process. Or any pitfalls you avoided or what you can relate to in the comments below.
If you’re the partner or the sex addiction check out these posts below for further information:Pin It
Pornography addiction is “…cunning, baffling, and powerful.”
Relapse, while not required, is often a part of recovery.
All too often, I hear the story of chronic relapse. Again and again, despite one’s best efforts to stop, the “dark wolf” of pornography addiction rears its ugly head.
Does this sound familiar?
“I don’t know what happened.”
“I was doing the things I was supposed to do and just ‘found’ myself looking at porn.”
“I seem to just have a cycle of about [name a number] of days sexually sober and then I relapse again.”
“Maybe I just can’t do this…”
Stop. Start. Stop. Start.
Below is the list of 6 ways people stay addicted to porn and keep the battle going.
Here is the list in no particular order:
1. Keep Secrets – If you don’t take the risk of being honest and vulnerable you won’t stay sober. Pornography addiction thrives in the dark. Keeping your secrets will keep you in your porn addiction.
2. Only go to 12-step meetings when you have the time – We understanding being busy. Most people have bust schedules. It can be tough to juggle family, work, and recovery. But if you keep meetings a low priority you will keep acting out.
3. Find a counselor that won’t hold you accountable – A good counselor will hold you accountable. That can be uncomfortable and awkward. Sticking with a counselor who knows less than you do about porn addiction will only be hurting you and push you further into your addiction.
4. Masturbation – Tell yourself that it’s okay to masturbate as long as you don’t use pornography or as long as you don’t “finish.” You have sexual needs don’t you? Masturbate in early sobriety and you will be back to your pornography quicker.
5. Take your time getting a 12-step sponsor – Asking someone to be your sponsor feels pretty weird, calling him is awkward, and having coffee and sharing things with him is stranger still. You say to yourself, Sponsorship is a good idea that you can get to when the time is right or eventually you will find the right sponsor… we hope you heed this warning: delay in this area is very dangerous. A sponsor is a vital part of recovery and acting out is right around the corner without the utilization of a sponsor.
6. Neglect self-care – Now is the time to work as many hours as you can to get caught up. Stay up late working or watching TV and eat whenever you think about food. Exercise is optional. Burn the candle and watch your sobriety melt away.
That’s the list. The six ways people stay addicted to pornography. It’s your choice.
You can be free and stay free from your addiction: First, if your in this hole, stop digging and make a decision to get help. Follow directions. Be accountable. Find a path to a spiritual experience and live your life with healthy sexuality, intimacy, and integrity. Make a decision to do whatever it takes, no matter what it takes, for as long as it takes to stay sexually sober.
You are worth it!
Below are some thoughts to help keep you “in the moment” as you journey toward healthy sexuality and physical and emotional fitness. If you find yourself in a difficult situation or frame of mind, choose the thought that addresses your stumbling block. By keeping a “just for today” mindset, you will be better equipped to focus on what is right in front of you rather than dwelling on what happened in the past, even if that was last week. Feel free to add your own “just for today’s” to this list:
- I will focus an hour at a time if that’s what it takes to control my compulsions.
- I will view my new plan for physical and emotional fitness as something that I am doing for myself rather than as something that is being done to me.
- I will check in with my sponsor and share my feelings about today.
- I will think about moving my body off the couch and doing something physical. Even if I dislike “exercise,” I can take a walk or work in the garden, play ball with my kids.
- I will call a friend or find a way to help others instead of feeling sorry for myself.
- I will count blessings rather than past sins.
- I will make a list of the things that are right with the world as opposed to the global “reasons” I have to be unhappy or fearful.
- I will treat my journal as an understanding, compassionate and guiding friend and not a “bartender” who is supposed to absorb my tale of woe.
- I’ll give myself a break if I “slip” and go right back on my sexual recovery plan. A slip does not have to mean failure. If I give in to the “I slipped so I might as well go back to old habits” mindset, it is a recipe for failure, and I’m stronger than that.
- I’ll have gratitude for the support of friends and family. They are about my wellbeing, and I’m thankful for that.
Share your Just for Today Moments with us.Pin It
You’ve been working hard on your sexual addiction recovery and you’re making real progress. People are starting to notice “the new you,” and comment on the positive changes they see, and congratulate you on your new outlook. This terrifies you. What if all this work is for nothing? What if you go right back to where you were before? What if? What if? What if?
Has this ever happened to you? Dwelling on questions about an uncertain future? Who we are today is the sum total of our past experiences, but that does not mean that we cannot change. So many of us are victims of our own bad habits, but we can become survivors of those habits. We do not have to settle for the person we were. Although we cannot rewrite history, we can move forward and write a new story for our lives.
You may have heard the saying, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift.” Worrying takes a great deal of mental energy and robs us of that gift. If we stop dwelling on the past and the “what ifs” of the future, and channel that energy into who we are today, then life would seem, and be, different. Instead of questioning, we will be doing. And by putting all that energy toward every today we live, we will stop questioning tomorrow because we are succeeding, every day. The past is the past. We can learn from it or we can repeat it. It is what we do with today that counts. Focus on the here and now rather than looking over your shoulder. There’s a reason that the motto of many fellowships is “One day at a time.” Because it works. Live your sexual addiction recovery one day at a time.
Think you may have a problem? Take out online sex addiction test with instant results.Pin It
The answer may surprise you. It looks like you, or me, or your neighbor down the street. Sex addicts don’t “stand out” from the crowd. We have families, go to work or school, might be community leaders or even spiritual leaders. We’re college presidents and college students. CEOs and mail clerks. Beauticians and physicians. We are regular people, just like the person in the mirror.
There is no “face of sexual addiction.”
You won’t identify an addict the way you might a meth addict, who wears his addiction on his face, or an alcoholic, who manages to get drunk at every opportunity, or the food addict, who can’t seem to stop eating. People addicted to sex are normal people who have an abnormal need to act out. We Addicts use sexual activity to seek pleasure, avoid unpleasant feelings or respond to outside stressors, such as work difficulties or interpersonal problems. This is not unlike how an alcoholic uses alcohol. In both instances, any reward gained from the experience soon gives way to guilt, remorse and promises to change. need to satisfy a craving deep within that often has very little to do with sexual satisfaction.
A sex addict might use his addiction for power, or to relieve stress, or to avoid problems in his daily life. It’s an escape mechanism, much the way alcohol is for an alcoholic. There are dozens of theories about how sex addiction has to do with biochemical changes in the brain, but I don’t want to dwell on the brain right now; this book isn’t about “how did this happen?” but more about “what do I do now?” It’s about recognizing the face of sex addiction and figuring out how to help yourself to escape the trap in which you find yourself.
How did he get to be a sex addict?
Sam was your average 35-year old with an MBA and a great job that had the makings of a brilliant career. He had a wife, 2.5 kids, and a pretty house with two cars in the garage. The future looked bright for Sam and his family. But with that great job came a lot of stress, and he started to use the Internet on his lunch hour to wind down and relax.
Sam’s “extracurricular activity” had started innocently enough. He’d been trolling websites on the Internet one day, when he happened upon a racy looking site with scantily-clad girls in provocative poses. The girls were gorgeous, and what healthy man, married or not, didn’t like to look? With a lot of quiet time at work, there was just so much opportunity to view more and more of the sites. Sam noticed that the girls seemed to be getting younger and sexier looking but he shoved any misgivings to the back of his mind – he was enjoying himself too much.
Until the day he was called into the boss’s office. They knew what he was looking at in all those hours he was supposed to be working. They would not press charges, to report him to the police, but he was fired and told to leave immediately.
Now he had no job, but that wasn’t the worst part of this mess. How in the world was he going to tell his wife what happened?
Does sexual addiction sound familiar? Does this ring a bell about someone you know or someone you heard about, or even someone in your family? What started out as a seemingly innocent pastime turned into a criminal act capable of ruining a lot of lives.
Think you may have a problem? Take out online sex addiction test with instant results.
If you know you need help and are ready to get started go to or contact page and reach out for more information.Pin It
Congratulations! If you have committed to attending 12 Step meetings, you have decided that you want a life in recovery. Using the 12 Steps is an excellent way to regain control of your life, but it’s not enough. While being close to a group that shares your problems can be a rewarding experience, there are areas of your life that are not addressed in 12-Step meetings. Additionally, the people in your Tuesday night sexual recovery groups are not equipped to deal with your unique circumstances. For that you need a qualified sex addiction therapist.
Here’s why a sex addiction therapist is needed:
• Group therapy sessions may seem to be the same as 12-Step meetings, but there is one very important difference. In 12-step meetings, addicts share their stories and feedback is discouraged, whereas in group therapy, advice and suggestions from others in the group is strongly encouraged. While sharing happens in both groups, only in group therapy is it reciprocal, supplying valuable coping skills for the addict.
• The second promise of the 12 Promises of AA states, “We will not regret the past nor wish to turn our backs on it.” Exploring the past is essential to recovery. Sex addiction often has its roots in trauma, and it is necessary for a sex addiction therapist to help you handle that exploration.
• Disclosure to your partner is vital to your recovery. This must be handled with the greatest of care and a lot of preparation is necessary before you attempt it. Many therapists recommend that disclosure be performed in their presence in order to help handle any possible reactions from your partner.
• Porn addiction has a compulsivity component that needs to be addressed by a mental health professional. Talking about it in meetings will help, but not make it go away or help you to control it entirely.
• Re-establishing trust in a relationship takes time, patience, as well as the guidance of a sex addiction counselor. Without the tools a therapist can provide, the relationship may flounder and die.
• Oftentimes, partners need therapists to help them understand their own co-dependence with their sexually-addicted partners. A sex addiction therapist is eminently qualified to handle your partner’s issues.
The bottom line is that it’s unwise to choose between using the 12 Steps and using a sex addiction therapist. Instead, use both. In 12 Step meetings you will gain the community that you need to help you continue in your recovery, and therapy will give you the tools to uncover your core issues as well as how to handle the many aspects of recovery.
Do you have experience you can share? Please comment below about how your sex addiction therapist has helped you in ways that a 12 step meeting alone could not.
Learn more about our sex addiction therapy services
Choosing a sex addiction counselor: Are you getting the best care?