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Sex Addiction Treatment
Who Needs Sex Addiction Treatment?
If your desire for loving sexual intimacy has been replaced with chronic, compulsive, maladaptive hypersexual behavior in pursuit of immediate sensory rewards despite the harmful consequences, you need sex addiction treatment. This is the classic definition of addiction. Let’s break it down. First, it's chronic, meaning the person does it over and over, habitually. Second, it's compulsive, meaning the person is unable to control or stop it. Third, it's maladaptive, meaning it is an unhealthy way of trying to adapt or cope with a stressor. Fourth, it gives immediate sensory rewards, meaning the brain releases a chemical like dopamine, endorphins or oxytocin that rewards the behavior with a feeling of euphoria, happiness, or contentment. Fifth, the person repeats the behavior to get another reward only to find that the behavior must be intensified to get the same feeling. Sixth, getting the reward comes to outweigh the negative consequences of the behavior.
Here are some typical signs of a sex addiction:
Inability to set sexual limits or boundaries
Excessive time spent pursuing and engaging in sex
Negative consequences of sexual excesses
Prioritizing sexual indulgences over other obligations
Using impersonal sexual outlets such as pornography, prostitution, and cybersex
Increasing intensity of sex or risk-taking behaviors to achieve a sexual “high”
Feeling shame, guilt, and self-loathing, yet unable to stop
Relapsing during times of stress or boredom
If you’re a Christian, you may be asking, “Is it an addiction or a sin?” It’s both. Hypersexual compulsive behavior definitely fits the definition of addiction, but as is true of so many things, at its heart sex addiction is a seeking of and dependence on the gift rather than the Giver. Sex is a gift of God, but when we come to seek it apart from the purpose for which God gave it, that is sin: falling short of God’s will. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 says, “For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passions, like the Gentiles, who don’t know God.” God’s will is our “sanctification,” which means the state of being and doing right. When it comes to sex, doing right requires keeping away, not from sex itself but from sexual immorality, the obsession with and misuse of sex. We can do that by learning to control our body so that we are not controlled by our passions.
That’s easier said than done. You’re here because you want to do sex right, yet Romans 7:15 describes you: “I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” You feel helpless. You’ve tried prayer, fasting, Scripture memory, asking God to remove your urges, but nothing seems to work. Know that you are not alone.
Sex Addiction Has Become Pretty Common
It is estimated that 12 to 30 million Americans have some kind of sexual compulsion. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 6 to 8% of U.S. adults could be classified as having a sex addiction. This is upwards of 24 million people. And in our highly sexualized society, that number is increasing due to the easy access by the internet to sexual material including every variety of pornography, apps for making “hookups,” and cybersex. One study found that 4.7 million U.S. adults spend more than 11 hours per week looking at online pornography.
Christians are not exempt. The Promise Keepers organization did a survey of men who attended their conferences and found that over sixty percent said that they struggle with sexual sin. A quick read of the Bible shows that sexual sin has been a problem from the beginning. God’s strongest man, Samson; God’s greatest king, David; and God’s wisest leader, Solomon were all sexual sinners. And not only men, but so was the woman at the well of Samaria in John 4 who had multiple marriages and many lovers; and the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8.
Sex addiction is gender-blind. About one-third of sex addicts are women. Sex addiction just manifests differently in women than in men. Women sex addicts tend to seek domination. In defiance of the submissive role cast on them by society, they use attention-getting and empowerment to control and dominate men. They often engage in role-play, seduction, sexual bartering, and sadomasochism to feel strong by treating sex the way that they perceive men do.
Men sex addicts, on the other hand, tend to seek objectification. In defiance of the call to intimacy and emotional connection, they de-personalize sex by using pornography, voyeurism, anonymous sex, and objectification of the woman during sex. This probably has its roots in the way society teaches men from boyhood to show no emotions and treat women as sex objects.
Freedom Is Possible With Sex Addiction Treatment
Is it possible to be free from sex addiction? With sex addiction treatment, absolutely yes. But you are unlikely to break the grip of sex addiction alone. Sex addiction thrives in isolation but it dies in community. With the help of a therapist trained in sex addiction treatment, you will discover and address the root cause or causes of your addiction and learn strategies to address them in a healthy way so that your compulsive hypersexual behavior is no longer necessary to keep you on an even keel emotionally (which it really doesn’t, but we’ll talk about that in a moment).
Recovery will take time. You didn’t get into sex addiction overnight, and you won’t get out overnight either. Beware of promises of instant healing. Many people have had an experience of “deliverance,” and thought they were free. 1 Corinthians 10:12 warns, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.” Then it addresses the ever-present reality of temptation and the way of escape through “enduring” it. The fact that we must endure temptation means the battle is ongoing until the day when we can say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
The strategies that you will learn in sex addiction treatment work, but you have to work them and keep working them. As you do, over time, you’ll find that the urges that were huge get smaller and the urges that were uncontrollable become controllable. Then you will find your self-respect again. You will have a closer relationship with God. And your spouse who has experienced betrayal and heartbreak will find a reason to trust you again and experience intimacy and connection with you that was not possible before.
SEX ADDICTION TREATMENT IS THE KEY
It’s not that you haven’t tried to stop your sexual acting out. You have. There may have even been times when you went for months or perhaps years without acting out, but you always relapse. Maybe you have a disappointment or life gets stressful, and you cope by going back to that sexual crutch that you know is wrong but it makes you feel good for a moment. It gives you a place to hide from whatever is causing anxiety or depression or frustration in your life. But afterwards comes the guilt and shame and regret. So, you pray and ask God’s forgiveness and help next time. And you’re trapped in the cycle of sin, confess, sin, confess, sin, confess. Wouldn’t you like to break out of that cycle and be free?
Let’s understand what’s going on. Sex addiction, like all addictions, is complex and there can be many things driving it such as mood. Sex compulsions can be a way of coping with emotional pain or stress triggered by moods like sadness, happiness, or loneliness. It could also be driven by hormones such as too much androgen, the sex hormone that affects libido. It could be driven by past physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Many people with sex addiction report a history of abuse. But perhaps the largest driver of sex addiction is brain chemistry where people have become addicted to chemicals released during sex that give pleasure or relieve stress. They seek to re-experience this feeling by repeating the sexual behavior, but over time it takes more sex and more intense and riskier sex to get the same feeling.
In sex addiction treatment, we look at what is causing the anxiety, disappointment, depression, stress, etc. that you are using sexual acting out to regulate. Our bodies are always looking for ways to level out our systems, and they will use adaptive or maladaptive behaviors, whichever we give them. If you can learn to use adaptive, healthy coping mechanisms to achieve the cortisol level your body needs to relieve your out-of-sorts system and level you out emotionally, the sexual acting out becomes unnecessary and fairly easy to stop. This explains why you haven’t been able to break free of your sex addiction. Treating habits without treating the cause will always fail. If you need healing from a past trauma, we can help you with trauma treatment. We can also deal with loneliness, accountability, gaining strength from others, and getting a right view of God who loves you despite your sexual sins.
REASONS PEOPLE DON’T SEEK SEX ADDICTION TREATMENT
“I don’t act out all the time; I can control it.”
You say that because your brain chemistry is level right now, but in about 3 to 5 days that will change and your body will crave a “fix.” Start keeping a chart of your acting out days and you’ll see that there is a rhythm to it. You cannot break out of this rhythm by yourself. Only sex addiction treatment can help.
“I’m not hurting anyone, so why does it matter?”
Pornography use and sexual acting out affects your sexual desires and abilities, which warps your mind about what sex is. You become irritable and animosity may develop between you and your spouse as they don’t fit the images of your sexual fantasies. Inevitably, you will pressure your spouse to participate in your activities and/or fantasies, which will become more and more risky until your spouse is either drawn into the prison of addiction or leaves you.
“If I just pray harder and try harder, it will stop.”
Trying harder to stop your addictive behavior is called “white knuckling” it. It never works. In fact, it often causes anxiety and depression followed by triggers that cause you to give yourself reasons why it’s okay to do it “just this time, then no more.” This is followed by guilt, shame, anger, self-loathing, and then prayer for forgiveness and promises that you’ll never do it again. Yet the cycle will continue.
“All I need is more sex with my spouse.”
Does a heroin addict need more heroin to break his addiction? Does an alcoholic just need more alcohol? While sex is good and God-given, the way you have been using it is not. Healthy marital sex is giving, connected, and safe. But there are core issues driving your sex addiction that prevent you from having that with your spouse. Until those issues are addressed and you can see sex as the beautiful and intimate sharing of souls that it is, all the sex in the world won't stop your addiction.
WILL YOU TAKE THE FIRST STEP?
Romans 12:2 holds the key for breaking free from any addiction. It says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” You have been listening to what our sexually obsessed culture says about sex. You’ve been viewing its images and engaging with its fantasies. You need to be brain-washed! That is, you need to clean out the programming of your mind that the culture has done and reprogram your mind with God’s truth.
Sex addiction treatment from a Christian counselor will be in line with God’s word so that your mind and way of thinking can change from lies to truth, and you can then live in truth. Our behavior always sprouts from our beliefs. So, we will work to challenge your wrong beliefs with right ones so that you can walk in freedom and truth.
Don’t wait another minute. Reach out right now and make an appointment for a free consultation to get you started. Fill out the contact form on this website or call 972-422-8383 to take the first step on your journey to freedom
Getting the reward comes to outweigh the consequences...
4.7 million U.S. adults spend more than 11 hours per week looking at online pornography...
Wouldn't you like to break out of your cycle and be free?
Take the first step toward freedom...
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