Sex addiction is complicated for a variety of reasons. Right out of the gate, some argue it's not an addiction. Why? Some believe society's role in defining acceptable or unacceptable sexual behaviors leads to the label of a sex addict. On the contrary, others think people may use the term based on morals and values rather than scientific evidence. That leads to the next issue of defining symptoms, and finding the right approach to treatment.
Although the debate may exist, for many, there's no question about the reality of sex addiction. After all, if you've lost the ability to control urges, you know all too well how real this beast is. So, what can you do to start down the path that can lead you to recovery?
Let's talk about sex addiction and the role self-compassion can play in helping you along your way to recovery.
A simple way to define sex addiction is when you no longer have the ability to withstand the urge to act upon impulse, regardless of the consequences.
There are a variety of behaviors that may indicate you have a sex addiction. Examples include repeated affairs, multiple anonymous partners, or participating in unsafe sexual activities. Likewise, viewing porn, cyber or phone sex, prostitution, and voyeurism are all behaviors that can lead to or indicate you may have a sex addiction.
Another complexity of sex addiction is proving the powerful impact it has on the brain. However, many studies indicate it affects the brain the same way drug addictions do. As awareness increases, funding for more research tends to rise.
In the meantime, professionals who treat sex addiction have plenty of success stories to share. Treatment addresses topics such as toxic shame, relationships, healthy sexuality, and forgiveness. Likewise, the focus is also on emotional control, stress management, and relapse prevention.
Toxic shame and guilt seem to be a driving force of sex addiction. As a result, a great way to battle back is through self-compassion. Self-compassion allows you to shift your focus to your successes as you work toward change. This includes giving yourself permission to accept yourself as you are, rather than defining yourself by your past. Personal encouragement can lead to insightful growth. On the contrary, beating yourself up can leave you wanting to escape from painful thoughts and emotions.
Self-compassion is one powerful tool you can use on your journey toward recovery. Like any addiction, you'll need to teach your brain how to engage in healthy behaviors rather than responding to intense urges. This can take time. However, every time you choose to engage in a new behavior, you move another step closer to recovery. Over time, through consistent and frequent practice, your choices can lead to transformation.
Sex addiction is a battle many are facing today. You are not alone in your journey. At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we understand the challenges and complexities of this addiction. As a result, our program is designed to set you up for hope, change, and success. Visit our website to learn more.