Sex addiction has nothing to do with sex.
Sexuality has simply become the vehicle by which wounded individuals medicate their deep-seated and long-standing emotional pain. This pain existed within the sex addicted individual long before his or her adverse behaviors manifested – long before this outward expression of inner turmoil began. When we understand this, we clearly see that it is not the act itself that needs to be treated or resolved – rather, the pre-existing pain must be uncovered, addressed, and adequately worked through.
Masculinity and Sex Addiction
The majority of men who struggle with sex addiction share several common traits. Firstly, the sex addicted male will prey on women (or other men, depending) who are perceived to be weak, vulnerable, and emotionally unhealthy. Choosing an independent, strong, healthy, and intelligent sexual partner is essentially out of the question. The sex addicted male prefers to engage in relationships that pose little threat of intimacy. Ideally, relationships will be purely sexual – transactional and short-lived.
Secondly, the sex addicted male almost always embodies a deeply wounded masculinity. These men feel inherently unlovable, unworthy, and inadequate. In many cases, the sex addicted male remains unaware that these are his core beliefs – he presents himself to the outside world as confident, competent, and capable. Deep down, he desperately craves an authentic intimate connection. He constantly combats the flawed paradigm of desiring a genuine connection and violently fearing intimacy. He is afraid that if he gets too close to another individual, he will be exposed for what he truly is (or rather, what he truly believes himself to be) – an inadequate man unworthy of love. In order to avoid developing the intimate connection he so fears, he will seek out and engage in sexually addictive behaviors. Eventually, he will find himself trapped in a vicious cycle of compulsion, self-loathing, and shame.
When the sex addicted male decides to confront his issues and face his underlying pain, he finally opens the door to obtaining an authentic sense of masculinity. This sense of masculinity is not derived from the cultural and societal gender standards that have been in place for centuries. They are not derived from his perceived worthiness as a man – his ability to defend, build, protect, and acquire. No, authentic masculinity lies in the ability to feel integrated, grounded, centered, and whole – to feel and understand inherent worthiness, and to come to terms with and accept self on a thorough and lasting level. This unparalleled sense of self-compassion and innate value is the direct result of a willingness to do the work, followed by a commitment to action. What work? In short… the healing. The process of healing from past, unresolved pain can be quite difficult, and it is often (temporarily) emotionally strenuous. Yet rather than living an unfulfilling life filled with self-destructive behavioral patterns, meaningless relationships, and shame, facing and addressing deep-seated pain (no matter how temporarily uncomfortable) is always the better option.
Sex Addiction Recovery for Men
As previously mentioned, it is crucial to understand that acting out sexually is not the problem – it is merely a consequence of the deeper, core issue. Look at it like this – a simple cessation of drinking is not the key to alcoholic recovery, but rather, only the very first step on a road of self-discovery and emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. Once you understand this, the next step is reaching out for help. Because underlying trauma (especially early childhood trauma) is such a common cause of sex addiction, and because sex addiction tends to go hand-in-hand with other behavioral and chemical addictions, inpatient treatment is often a wise choice. A program that is geared exclusively towards men is good – a program that is geared towards sex addiction recovery in men is even better. Next Chapter treats sex addiction as a primary diagnosis, working closely with men who have suffered early trauma and are still grappling with the long-term emotional and psychological consequences.
For more information on our program of sex addiction recovery for men, please feel free to contact us today.