Process addictions, like sex addictions, are a compulsive and obsessive need to engage in a process, like sex. Commonly misunderstood, an addiction to anything other than drugs and alcohol often doesn’t qualify to other people as a “real” addiction. Even recently in headlines, sex addiction and porn addiction have been deemed illegitimate addictions by the American Psychological Association. However, for the millions of people who feel unable to control their compulsive need to engage in sexual activity and experience deep, unsettling shame after doing so, the problem is very real. The problem is not always what the problem seems to be.
Not About Sex
Sex addiction is not about the sex. That’s a shocking fact for most people. An addiction not being about the addiction itself is not exclusive to sex addiction or other process addictions. Indeed, drug addiction and alcoholism are little about the drugs and alcohol. Gambling is rarely about the gambling. Eating disorders really have nothing to do with food, eating, or body image. All of these addictions are manifestations of coping mechanisms to deal with deeper, underlying issues. In rare cases, they are simply the consequence of doing something too much, cause a change in brain chemistry. Even then, it is widely believed, there had to be an underlying force causing someone to continue making such choices.
In a blog for The Good Men Project, one author writes that “sexual addiction is more about shame, isolation, and unworthiness than it is about chasing after sexual experiences.” Comparing the compulsive need for sex to the compulsive need for substances, such as alcohol, the author writes, “Compulsive sexual behaviour is what sex addicts use to numb out their emotions, just like alcoholics often use staying drunk to avoid feeling their underlying difficult emotions.”
Giving up sex for life would create more isolation than compulsively acting on it. Working through the underlying emotional issues can help someone create healthy relationships in their lives- with themselves and with their sexual relations. Healing from sex addiction is possible, as is healing from the co-occurring addictions which often come with it.
Aurora Recovery Centre offers residential treatment for sex addiction and dual diagnosis issues. We seek to uncover the past and ensure a healthy future. For more information, call us today at 844-515-STOP.