Category Archives: Sex Addiction

A profile of 12 step programs for sex addiction

groupIf someone is an alcoholic, and wants to participate in a 12 Step Recovery program, it’s simple … go to AA. If someone wants to find a 12 Step Recovery program for sexual addiction, it’s more complicated. There are a variety of 12 step programs addressing sexual addiction. What follows in an excerpt from an article on the “Christians in Recovery” site (with some slight edits from me, to update errant info):

THE NATIONWIDE FELLOWSHIPS

People often ask why there are so many fellowships and how we differ. The nationwide fellowships originated between 1973 and 1979 in widely separated parts of the country. Each had already begun taking shape before learning of the others. As a result, each developed differently, and most formed separate networks. The differences have much to do with the personalities and needs of the founding members, especially the experience, strength and hope penned by the founders in their pamphlets and texts, often called in the AA tradition our “big books.”

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How to recognize safe people

For people in recovery, one of the most important issues is finding safe, genuinely intimate relationships. Many addicts have built walls of isolation around them, and don’t know where to turn for support and authentic friendship. Obviously, getting involved in recovery groups and finding friendships there is ideal. But even within a group of like-minded, recovering people, some are more likely to be supportive and helpful than others. Discernment is called for.

And what about other relationships, beyond the confines and relative safety of a 12-step or LIFE group? What about old friends, neighbors, or family? Some people have very limited access to recovery groups, and must develop safe and intimate friendships with people who don’t have the shared experience of a recovery journey. How can you discern who to trust? How can you recognize “safe people” who are candidates for genuine friendship?

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Not tonight darling, I’m online

man on computerAs some of you know, I’ve been working on a book chapter about pornography and sex addiction for Kevin Mahew Publishing, one of the leading religious book publishers in the UK. I’m co-authoring this chapter with Dr. Mark Laaser, and the book (as yet untitled) will come out sometime in later this year. In the course of research, I tried to find information and resources about pornography and sex in the UK. As it turns out, this was not hard to do, since the situation there is very similar to what we have in the US.

Here’s some quotes from an interesting and lengthy article with the intriguing title: “Not tonight darling, I’m online” by Adrian Turpin. While not endorsing everything said in the article, I agree with many of its conclusions, and want to highlight some great quotes from it.

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Sexual Misconduct in Our Schools — And What to Do

Teachers in trouble

The postcard above is one recieved by Frank Thomas for his Postsecret project (he asked people to send him a secret from their lives on a 3×5 postcard). He hasn’t used it on the Postsecret site yet – maybe it’s too controversial. Nobody likes to talk about sex abuse in schools, which is what this is. We better start not only talking about it, but doing something, because it’s a growing problem.

The AP recently ran a story that emerged from a seven-month study they conducted. After researching K-12 schools in every state in the US, they found 2,570 cases of sexual misconduct in the years from 2001 to 2005. Keep in mind that behind each of these 2,570 cases is a traumatized person — and usually more than one. It seems that many of these cases were the result of sexually inappropriate conduct perpetrated against numerous victims. The article does a good job of telling some of the stories, which helps put a human face on these cases.

The article also mentions a report mandated by Congress on this subject. This report estimated that as many as 4.5 million students, out of roughly 50 million in American schools, are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade. (That figure includes verbal harassment that is sexual in nature.) Put another way, this means that nearly 1 out of 10 students will be subject to sexual misconduct by a member of school staff. Continue reading Sexual Misconduct in Our Schools — And What to Do

Interview: How much sex is too much?

George Collins is a counselor in the San Francisco Bay area who has been in practice since 1995, working with sex addicts. Here are some excerpts from an interview with him, published in The Metro (a Bay area newspaper). I’m including this because I think he’s got some good things to say, and anyone with his experience is worth listening to. Enjoy:

Loren Stein (interviewer): How does someone know if they have a sexual addiction? Or in other words, how much sex is too much sex?

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How to spot the difference between a healthy sex drive and dependence / addiction

How can you tell if someone has a problem with sexual behavior? Sometimes peoples’ defense is simply that “I just have a strong sex drive.” Where is the line between a healthy sex drive, and addictive behavior? What follows is a list of criteria from Dr. Pat Carnes’ web site “Sexhelp.com,” with some edits and clarifiers from me.

While an actual diagnosis for sexual addiction should be carried out by a mental health professional, the following behavior patterns can indicate the presence of sexual addiction. Individuals who see any of these patterns in their own life, or in the life of someone they care about, should seek professional help.

1. The person exhibits a pattern of out-of-control sexual behavior

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Disclosure of extra-marital sexual activity to spouses

The topic that generates the most discussion – and anxiety – in our workshops is that of disclosure. Sex addicts who are in relationships need to come clean with their partners, but they are afraid that doing so will cost them the relationship. Knowing this, many addicts disclose the truth of their activities to their partners in stages. We call this “the installment plan” of disclosure, and it’s an exceedingly bad idea. Many wives I talk to are frustrated and confused because their husbands had used the “installment plan,” and they worry that they still don’t have the full story. “I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop,” they say. “I always wonder if there’s something more that he’s been holding back from me.”

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Isn’t it ironic: more porn equals less sex

MAPA LogoYears ago – before porn had become so common – its opponents warned that if we didn’t limit pornography, men would start objectifying all women like they do porn stars, and treat them accordingly. Rape and all kinds of “sexual mayhem” would result. Naomi Wolf has a great article on the Mothers Against Pornography website where she reflects on this. It’s certainly true that pornography has become ubiquitous, and is changing how people experience sex. But Wolf makes the point that it is actually lowering libido – in relation to real people – rather than raising it. Listen to her own words, which I quote at length from the article:

“But the effect (of pornography) is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.” Continue reading Isn’t it ironic: more porn equals less sex