The label “sex addict” has been plastered on public figures like Anthony Weiner, Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Douglas, and David Duchovny (just to name a few). It’s easy to see that the extra-curricular sexual activities of these men have been harmful to their families, work, and themselves. The question for the rest of us is: Does the personal addictive patterns of celebrities reveal a pattern of sexuality that is occurring throughout our society (an expression that ultimately doesn’t bring greater satisfaction or meaning)?
What’s happening here?
In our practice as sex addiction counselors, we see men from all walks of life, famous and unknown, whose lives have “gone off the tracks.” Have the wheels of our natural sexual expression just gone off course? What does this mean for the individual who suspects that his use of porn is obsessive? What about his wife or partner?
You cannot know what you haven’t been taught.
Being sexual is an everyday part of being a human. As animals, we are subject to the instinctive urges to get more of what we like and get away from what seems dangerous or painful. The result of these urges is strong and instantaneous, so much so, that we may end up following an impulse that leads to suffering, rather than a greater connection.
What’s the solution?
If a sex addict’s life seems to be in shambles due to this type of behavior, that person can make their way back. The first step is to notice when they’re opting for instant gratification. Remember the stories of those celebrities mentioned earlier, who have not only gotten into hot water by indulging themselves with a young hottie, but also have brought themselves a world of pain. I’m sure they wish they’d made different choices in their lives. People can keep their lives going in the right direction by not acting on their impulses. Sex without intimacy is sex without true connection, which only leads to feelings of emptiness and isolation. Instant gratification is not glamorous.
By George Collins, MA
George Collins, MA, is a sex addiction counselor at Compulsion Solutions (www.compulsionsolutions.com) and is the author of “Breaking the Cycle: Free Yourself from Sex Addiction, Porn Obsession, and Shame” (New Harbinger Publications, October 2011) and the co-author with his wife of “A couple’s Guide to Sexual Addiction: A Step-by-Step Plan to Rebuild Trust & Restore Intimacy” (Adams Media, December 2011).