Sexual Compulsion: Sex Therapy in Philadelphia, Ocean City, Santa Fe, Mechanicsville
What is a sexual compulsion? The Center for Growth / Sex Therapy believe sexual compulsions are best understood as a form of an intimacy disorder. People typically experience compulsive sexual actions and / or thoughts. For example, people who have a sexual compulsion, compulsively masturbate, view pornographic material, cruise the Internet, engage in telephone sex, swing, have affairs, go to gentlemen clubs, frequent prostitutes, engage in voyeurism and—in the extreme—rape people. The common element among sex compulsions is that they feel powerless to stop / control their behavior. It’s as if the behaviors are controlling them. Frequently, the sexual behaviors are progressive. Even as people living with a sexual compulsions suffer the natural consequences of their behaviors: diminished self esteem, depression, decreased interest in things unrelated to sex, economic problems, relationship difficulties, health risks, job loss and possible arrest, they are still unable to listen to their rational self. They are unable to control their behaviors.
People living with a sexual compulsion, organize their world around sex. People living with a sexual compulsion interact with others as a way to facilitate their ability to obtain sexual pleasure. Sexual compulsion takes up a lot of time and energy. As their energy investment increases, a pattern of behavior tends to emerge. Specifically, the person living with a sexual compulsion begins to engage in ritualistic behaviors as part of their “acting out.” Though it’s different from person to person, the ritualistic behaviors may be flirting, masturbating, surfing the Internet, having one-night stands, swinging, frequenting massage parlors, and even raping someone. Sexual compulsions are not about the actual sexual behavior, but about the anticipation of sexual behavior, the temporary relief felt during sexual behavior, and the denial of feelings while being sexual. Most notably, after the sexual acting out, the person living with a sexual compulsion usually experiences some combination of: remorse, guilt, depression, despair, shame, hopelessness, confusion and resolve not to do it again. Then the cycle repeats itself.
While the recovery process is different for person who makes the decision to change their ways, there are some themes. Recovery typically involves the following four concepts: 1) Detoxing; 2) De-traumatizing; 3) Centering & Healing; and 4) Sexual Health. The Center for Growth, Inc / Sex Therapy., defines detoxing as stopping the behavior and learning to tolerate the uncomfortable feelings: boredom, discomfort, anxiety, emptiness, pain, and sadness. De-traumatizing is best understood as identifying and exploring past events that have contributed to the uncomfortable feelings that the sexual compulsion masks. Centering and Healing refers to learning to be comfortable with self and identifying new coping mechanisms to reduce negative feelings. Sexual Health is defined as learning ways in which to express one’s own sexuality. Full recovery is not celibacy, but rather developing the skill set needed to be sexually intimate with self and others.
According to the DSM 5, the diagnosis "Sexual Compulsion" does not exist. The concept of sexual compulsion is a new and emerging field. While one could spend hours debating whether or not there is a diagnosis for this condition, many people are suffering from too much sex on the brain. From our perspective, if you think you have a sexual compulsion you probably have one. To help clarify this issue, read our tip on How to Distinguish between a high sex drive, or a sexual compulsion or take the sexual compulsion quiz. If you are struggling, and want to sign up for sex therapy in Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Mechanicsville VA or Santa Fe NM call 215 922 5683 x 100 or you can self schedule.