Sex Addiction and Porn Addiction
Why do people act out sexually? What is out of balance in their lives that sends them online looking compulsively at pornography, running off to massage parlors, or getting mixed up in multiple meaningless hook-ups?
All kinds of problems distress people to the point that they act out. There is often undiagnosed depression, anxiety, panic, trauma, attentional problems, stress, grief–the list is long. They sometimes have erotic desires that they feel ashamed of and cannot speak about. They may be lonely or bored. They may be poor communicators, unable to tell anyone what they really need–not only sexually, but emotionally or spiritually.
You can think of sexual acting out as a symptom of sexual identity crisis. What someone really wants and needs sexually is getting twisted up into something that nature never intended. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable–not a monkey on your back!
What I want is to help you–and your partner–define what healthy sexuality is all about. I want you to experience real sexual satisfaction. I want to help you have happier relationships with others. And I want you to feel like you’re in control of your sexual behavior.
So called “sexual addictions”—especially excessive use of Internet pornography—are becoming increasingly common. Instant access and clever pornographers make it easy to fall into the trap of using pornography for sexual gratification, rather than turning to a loving partner. Other types of sexual problems that interfere with normal sexual and emotional functioning include multiple affairs, anonymous sex, sex in questionably legal circumstances, exhibitionism, frotterism (sneaky touching), and so forth.
When Do Behaviors Become A Problem?
Sexual addictions can sometimes be very destructive. For example, someone might have multiple sex partners and not take precautions against sexually transmitted diseases. They also put themselves at risk by having sex with someone unknown to them. Again, such behaviors may be destructive to the relationships that a person feels are most important.
When do behaviors become a problem? When they . . .
- Interfere with or replace normal sexual relationships
- Take up a lot of time that could be spent with one’s partner or family
- Are used to self-medicate mood, stress, insomnia, and so forth
- Cost money that takes away from the family budget
- Upset one’s partner on emotional or moral grounds
- Cause deep shame or guilt
At The Buehler Institute, I have the knowledge and training to help intervene with sexual addictions. This can be a difficult behavior to change, because sex is highly rewarding to the brain. However, strong motivation, a willingness to take responsibility for one’s behavior, and ability to make use of the therapist’s recommendations go a long way toward resolving this problem. Treatment includes:
- Acknowledgement of the extent of the problem in your life
- Understanding how you misuse sex and why
- Learning about the addiction cycle
- Identifying risk factors and triggers
- Overcoming bad feelings about yourself and sex in general
- Reclaiming a healthy sexual life with one’s partner
The Buehler Institute is run by psychologist, certified sex therapist, and author Dr. Stephanie Buehler. I am located in Newport Beach, CA.
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