We all think about sex. Most of us, who are able, masturbate. Sometimes we masturbate to porn; sometimes we don’t. We’ve all experienced some dissatisfaction with our sexuality. Many of us want to enjoy sexual adventure in some way. A lot of us have even damaged relationships or put ourselves at risk as a result of poor decisions we’ve made about sex. And many of us are ashamed of and secretive about aspects of our sexuality.
Much of the information about sex addiction encourages you to believe that you’re a sex addict if you have sex in a way that looks or seems different than the way members of the mainstream population report that they have sex. If you frequent swing clubs or parties, enjoy a particular role-play, or pursue sexually adventurous experiences you could be labeled “sex addict.” Someone else is uncomfortable with your sexual expression so that must mean your behavior’s pathological. Right?
Obviously (or, perhaps, not-so-obviously), not everyone is a “sex addict.” So, with such broad (and subjective) parameters, how can you tell who’s a sex addict and who’s not? Let me clear it up for you. You are not a sex addict.
This doesn’t mean you are free from pain related to your sexuality. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have aspects of your sexuality which you have attempted to change, but didn’t sustain, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you don’t regret choices you have made about the expression of your sexuality (and the consequences that followed). Any and all of this can be true; you’re still not a sex addict. You don’t have to swear off casual sex, fetish, polyamory, sex with sex workers, masturbation, or porn forever.
Human sexuality is an expression of ourselves, how we feel, what we think, what we have interpreted from information received. Not limited to behavior, sexuality includes thoughts and feelings. There are reasons connected to why someone likes to incorporate S/M into their sexual relationships, why someone else likes to have sex in complete darkness, why someone takes risks with their safety while seeking out or engaging in sexual activity, why different people enjoy different types of porn, and why someone is turned on by one thing the same way someone else finds said element a complete turn-off. None of these people are “wrong” or “addicted to sex” or “bad.”
There are various occasions for which someone might seek treatment regarding sexuality. The treatment is not for sexual addiction, but rather, a guided inquiry into the desired sex life (and why), the current sex life (and why), and insight into what someone can do to create resolution. Sometimes the aim of treatment is to help them understand and accept their sexuality. Other times, the aim is to help someone understand and negotiate their sexuality, incorporate more flexibility to decrease distress and increase health and satisfaction.
Sometimes sexual dissatisfaction can be identified as sexual dysfunction. There are times when it is seen as a symptom of another condition, biological or neurological issues, or things like depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and beyond. Sometimes the dissatisfaction is a manifestation of an unfulfilled need to connect, a quest for empathy, or a way to find soothing. The work is to explore why someone does what they do, what it means to them, and where to go from here.
Treatment for sexual discontentment is a way for you to gain understanding about yourself, learn how to accept your desires and needs and make any changes needed to improve your life and your relationships.
If you would like more clarification about this, please contact me.
Love and Be Loved,