Is sex addiction an excuse for bad behavior, or is it something real?
Dr. Ley's assertion that "treating sex as evil leads to more secrets, less control, and less responsibility" is insightful. Many times, one of the unseen driving forces of behaving in a sexually addictive manner is the lack of awareness of the power and beauty of sex. As Dr. Ley points out, inhibiting a guy's inherent sexual nature emasculates him. By the same token, such an inhibition also de-feminizes a woman.
Taking Responsibility ... Compassionately
Dr. Ley seems to believe that adopting the term 'sex addiction' means failing to take responsibility. In his experience, the label sex addict — viewing sex addiction as a disease — causes an individual to feel like a helpless puppet. This is certainly not true for my husband, George. I have watched him over the years gain more and more mastery over his life (including over his impulsive behaviors) by compassionately understanding the basic nature of how addictive tendencies operate. It Can Be Hard To Talk About Sex Addiction
The hundreds of men who have successfully worked with the therapists here at Compulsion Solutions have also not turned into helpless puppets by classifying their problem as sex addiction. Their wives and partners did not suddenly forgive and forget with the diagnosis of sex addiction. The use of the label sex addiction simply aids in recovery. The term supports the process of taking responsibility and gaining control. It helps more clearly identify what is going on, placing a corral around the issue so that it can be seen in a new light.
Gaining maturity and mastery of our lives requires recognizing, accepting, and taking responsibility for our behaviors. This is fundamental to success and happiness in all areas. Every one of us has the task of learning how to work with our instinctive survival responses of fear, anger, and pain that kick in faster than clock time, faster than the thinking, reasoning part of our brain. Suffering, Addiction, & A Compassionate Way Out
Sex is instinctive and fundamentally pleasurable. It's natural. We all instinctively want to get more of what feels good and get away from the bad stuff. The challenge of maturity calls us to grow our capacities to bear discomfort and delay gratification. In this way, we learn to compassionately gain greater control of our behaviors.
Show Up And Tell The Truth
Dealing successfully with any type of addiction (chemical or behavioral) requires an acceptance of responsibility. The path to taking responsibility can start wherever is best for you. If the term sex addict for you equates to helplessness or the lack of ability to gain control over your behaviors, then Dr. Ley's take on viewing sexual addiction as a myth could possibly serve you. If the words sex addict turn you or your partner into an irresponsible oaf, then run away from that label sex addict as fast as you can. 4 Questions You May Be Asking About Sex Addiction
If, however, grabbing onto these words helps to identify previously unseen motivations or triggering circumstances, if it helps build compassion and understanding, then milk the term for all it's worth. I so appreciate how George speaks of this, "show up and tell the truth."
If your or your partner's sexual activities involve lying or shame, if they are selfish or self-destructive, please don't kid yourself. Allow yourself to truly see what's going on. Tell the truth, if only to yourself. Telling the truth supports gaining awareness, taking responsibility, and courageously seeking help. Get Comfortable With Yourself And Sex [Video]
If for you the label sex addict is an excuse to avoid responsibility or condone egregious behavior in your partner, then shun it. If however, the term sex addiction can be used as part of the healing process, then embrace the words. Do whatever it takes to foster a rewarding and intimate relationship with your beloved.
Paldrom Collins is a former Tibetan Buddhist nun and co-author of "A Couple's Guide to Sexual Addiction: A Step-by-Step Plan to Rebuild Trust & Restore Intimacy." Working with her husband and sex addiction expert George Collins at Compulsion Solutions, Paldrom counsels individuals and couples across the country. Is Your Husband A Sex Addict?
For the past seven years, through her depth of awareness, sensitivity, and her kind and compassionate qualities, she has been integral in helping individuals, couples, and groups find more love, deeper peace and meaning in their lives and closest relationships.
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This article was originally published at Compulsion Solutions . Reprinted with permission from the author.