Understanding the problem


Relatable stories

“It was 3am. I was back in my hotel room after spending hours of making poor choices and drawing deeper into my sexual shame. I had a business meeting scheduled within a few hours. Still I couldn’t sleep. My mind was filled with sex scenes and the creeping sense of regret that always followed my sexual craving.

First, I started out as usual by looking at porn in my hotel room, an expense that sometimes would show up on my hotel bill. Then, I went to a strip club where I paid for countless pricy drinks and lap dances. Eventually, fully intoxicated, I headed back to my hotel room alone, but first, I went for my shame coup de graçe and paid for sex with a street prostitute.

The house of cards I had built was falling apart and I was falling apart. Why couldn’t I control myself? I kept telling myself over and over that I wouldn’t behave this way again. Yet here I was, engaging in humiliating and risky behaviors that only made me feel awful about myself.

At first I thought that I just shouldn’t drink anymore. If only my problem was alcohol and not sex but, it was becoming clear to me that sex was my drug of choice. I was on my way to losing much more before I came to see that I was addicted to sex and I was out of control. It was only then that I sought help.”

The fix

In health, we learn to appreciate the gifts of even difficult feelings, remain connected to our bodies, and find comfort in intimate relationships. Sex addicts, however, live life detached from their feelings, disconnected from their bodies, and isolated from intimate relationships.

For sex addicts, sex is a “fix” for virtually any problem. It is an association, developed in the brain during an extended period of time to bridge the abyss between their ongoing problems of stress, fear, boredom, pain, or shame, and a perceived solution (sex or arousal).

The longer and more frequently they use sex as the solution to a perceived problem, the deeper a neural pathway gets grooved in the brain. A neural pathway is like a rut that starts as a subtle craving in response to stress and becomes a powerful, often subconcious need.

To make matters worse, the sex addict’s brain gets increasingly over-sensitized to stress problems and requires more and more intensity and arousal to satisfy more frequent needs. Their brain literally misperceives even slightly stressful events as significant ones that require a “fix.”

Picture the alcoholic who after a stressful day at the office proclaims, “I really need a drink!” Now, substitute sex for alcohol and you get the picture. What was once a “fix” or an escape from stress begins to control the addict. It’s at this point that the solution of sex has become the problem of sex addiction.

Prostitutes, sexual massage, and porn!

Sex addicts “act out” with pornography, affairs, sexual massage, anonymous sex, or other behaviors. It’s all about arousal. It’s all about a sex “fix.”

The sex addict’s behavioral choices matter just as little as the alcoholic’s choice whether to drink whiskey or beer. Both get you drunk!

Do you use sex…

  • To “fix” boredom with excitement and intensity?
  • To feel alive?
  • To get a thrill?
  • To “fix” feelings and escape the moment?
  • To check out for a while? To “fix” anxiety?
  • To relax?
  • To help you sleep?
  • To calm your nerves?

Ready to get started on making a change in your relationship? We can help.

See available appointments

Sonoran Counseling Services, Inc.
1130 E Missouri Ave,
Suite 550 Phoenix, Arizona 85014
T. (480) 287-2393