Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the bottom right of this page
Can you be addicted to sex? Or to sex-related activities such as pornography, flirting online or cybersex? Some people argue that using the word “addiction” in this sense provides a convenient excuse for inappropriate behaviour, which can be stopped simply through a bit more self-control. Others say that other addictions (such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco) have a physical element to them that does not apply to sex- related activities.
Both these, and other arguments can be debated ad infinitum. Whether we use the word “addiction” comes down to definition as much as anything. Applying the label of “addict” to oneself can be difficult and shameful. It can also be helpful as an admission that one needs help.
My observation through work with a number of clients is that there are strong similarities between sexual addiction (for want of a better word) and other addictions:-
• The build-up to a fix is intense and exciting
• The fix is often followed by feelings of guilt and anti-climax
• These feelings are often remedied with another fix
• The activity is often kept secret
• There is often a need to escalate the level of activity to retain excitement
• The activity can take over the user’s life
These points do not apply to everybody or every addiction – but they are not uncommon, and so it can be useful to compare sexual addiction with other types of addiction. In making this comparison, it is important as well to think about difference; every addiction is different, and the best way to deal with your addiction is not to follow a set of rules but to treat it as a unique condition. You need to own your addiction, understand it and take responsibility for changing the way you behave. Others can help you, but they cannot do it all for you.
Group work can be helpful in dealing with addictions. One group to consider is “Sex Addicts Anonymous” which runs along similar lines to “Alcoholics Anonymous”. Being an addict can be lonely – who do you talk to? – and joining a group can make it easier to talk about your addiction, as well as being a place where you can get support from others who understand.
Group work is not for everyone, however. Individual work with a counsellor can also be very effective, and it also worth thinking about attending counselling with your partner. Very often people keep sex-related activities secret from their partner – maybe completely secret, or maybe the scale of them is secret. When your partner finds out, it is likely to be a huge blow to trust, rather like the discovery of an affair. Working together on the addiction can be important in starting to restore trust, as well as providing an opportunity for you to hear how your behaviour has affected your partner.