Sex Addiction: There Is a Solution
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Sex Addiction: There Is a Solution

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sex addiction there is a solutionVery few people understand sex addiction. It’s widely assumed to be an addiction to having sex—which can be a part of it but not a necessary component to qualify. The idea of a woman being addicted to the act of having sex is typically music to any man’s ears and tends to be received like a six-year-old receives the news that they have season tickets to Disneyland. But the reality of sex addiction is not something most people would want to experience. For most sex addicts, it’s less about the act of sex and more about the validation they receive from sexual engagement on some level. For some sex addicts, the act of sex can be the beginning of the comedown because it’s the anticipation of it—the secret behavior, the sneaking around, the sexual attention—where the addiction lies.

The good news, according to sex addiction therapist Linda Hatch, is that recovery from this rarely discussed affliction is possible. But, says Hatch, unlike with alcoholism, there is a definite end point where people can say they’ve recovered. The process, which Hatch says typically takes between three and five years, is a lot like alcohol and drug recovery in that it involves acknowledging there is a problem, asking for help and being willing and open to taking suggestions given by a therapist or a sponsor (or both). The work requires a willingness to change and a commitment to the process, as it can involve long periods of discomfort. Sex addiction has its own withdrawal period when the addict experiences cravings (for their old behavior), dreams about acting out and peculiar physical symptoms as well as restlessness and drastic mood swings.

So just like with any addiction, sobriety from sex addiction is an adjustment and no matter how badly someone may believe he or she is ready to get better, there is always the chance of becoming antsy, losing momentum and relapsing—in turn running the risk of never returning to finish the work needed to make a full recovery.

The concept of sexual sobriety can also be confusing for people. Unlike drugs and alcohol, sex is something that is considered a healthy part of life so, they reason, it shouldn’t be considered something bad to stay away from. But there is healthy sex and there is unhealthy sex, which can vary from person to person. For instance, no doctor will say that masturbation is unhealthy—in fact, most will tell you quite the opposite—but it can become unhealthy if it’s used compulsively or as a way to escape reality or avoid intimacy with others.

Masturbation is also unhealthy when it is done in excess—a tipping point that might be different for different people. If the frequency or the timing of someone’s masturbation habits are making that person unhappy—or if it’s interfering with an ability to manage life—then it is usually considered problematic. One person might be late for work every day because he feels compelled to masturbate before he leaves the house. This might cause his boss to write him up, putting his job in jeopardy. Meanwhile, another person can surely masturbate every night before bed without creating any negative consequences. Much like drinking, the question of how much is too much has to do with how it affects a person’s life.

So if you are concerned about your sexual behavior—whether it’s promiscuity, unsafe sex, compulsive masturbation, porn addiction, prostitute addiction or anything that causes your sexuality to be a source of pain for you—there is no time like the present to get cracking on tackling those issues. Why not, especially when you can be inspired by the fact that in three to five years, you could be healthily sexing with the best of them? While that might sound like a long time, it’s a hell of a lot shorter than a lifetime of battling shame and unmanageability from your addiction.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.