Media Coverage Of Sex Addiction Can Help Alleviate Shame

Wow! You can’t get more mainstream than the Wall Street Journal! In my research I ran across this article and was impressed by it’s no-nonsense approach and helpful links.

Oprah, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil and many others in the media have done much to educate the public about the problem of Sex Addiction and as the public becomes more aware of the seriousness of this issue the stigma and sensationalism of the topic will hopefully decline. I am optimistic that this education of the masses will have a positive ripple effect on all Sex Addicts.

Sexual Addiction is based on shame. The addict, for whatever reason, has an abnormal sense of shame. My husband told me that whenever I would confront or question him about his behavior, even if it was innocent, he would feel like a small child who had just been caught doing something naughty. He said that his reaction to this emotion was to find any excuse to get out of the ‘punishment’ that he felt was surely coming. It seems as if it is a misguided survival tactic. Somehow he never learned to take responsibility for his actions and move on as most of us do.

Could addressing this issue with a counselor be a key to helping the Sex Addict recover?

What do you think?

Related Articles

Responses

  1. There are many ways of dealing with addictions, including therapy, 12-step groups, support groups, self-education, etc. It is my opinion that getting to the impetus for the behavior that grew into an addiction is important. My husband was sexually abused by an elderly neighbor from age 6 – 14. Early on, he tried to tell his father, who punished him for telling a lie and then forced him to apologize to the perpetrator. Realizing nobody was going to rescue him from the abuse, he had to rely on his own ability to survive it. He carried this secret, along with a tremendous load of shame and guilt for most of his life.

    My husband has been in intense therapy for the past 10 monghts with a therapist who specializes in both traumas and addictions. The resulting change in his attitude and behavior has been miraculous. From what we have learned, this type of trauma often stunts the emotional growth of a child and leads to compulsive sexual behaviors that often progress into an addiction. The inner child tends to get stuck in a reactionary mode, where the adult can’t effectively process behavioral consequences. The perceived punishment for not taking out the garbage is the same as getting caught in a sex chat room. This is especially true if the child grew up in a home where he experienced emotional or physical abuse and suffered severe consequences for all bad behavor. Getting caught is getting caught and it is something to avoid.

    My husband became a habitual liar from the very beginning of our marriage because he refused to acknowlege or take responsibility for his mistakes or bad behaviors. If he stopped for a beer with his buddies after work and forgot to call & let me know he would be late, he would make up some lie about a meeting or last-minute work assignment. For many years he had a habit of using tobacco “dip” and would go through elaborate means to hide it from me. If I questioned him about the tobacco, he always promised he had not used in months; then I would stumble across a container of tobacco and confront him. He always said he just slipped and bought one can that very day. His co-workers had a field day lording this over him and threatening to tell me about the “spit jar” he kept hidden in his desk.

    My husband went through life trying to avoid getting caught at anything because he was afraid of the consequences – even if it was as simple as explaining why he was late or didn’t complete a task as promised. This was largely because his dad always meted out stiff punishment for even the slightest wrong-doing. I’m sure I also contributed to his irrational fears, because I was very controlling and often overreacted to little things. There were times where he probably felt like a naughty child because I was acting like a critical parent.

    Thankfully, we are both in individual therapy where we are learning to identify, engage and redirect our internal personality parts. We are also in couples therapy where we are learning communication and conflict resolution skills neither of us experienced while growing up in our dysfunctional families. As a result, we have finally learned how to be intimate and communicate on a deep, meaningful level for the first time in our 36 year marriage.

  2. Debbie, thank you so much for the insightful comments. A Sex Addict’s actions are so typical yet they are always personal and hurt so much. I swear, I need to write a book that lists all the ‘scripts’ that Sex Addicts spew out. They are all so similar I can’t help wondering if they all went to the same ‘School of Sex Addiction’.

    As with my husband and myself, you and your husband are doing all the right things in trying to salvage your relationship. It is hard work and it never ends, but it can lead to a deeper and much more meaningful closeness that we have never experienced before.

    Keep us posted on your progress and you have all my best thoughts and energy.

  3. I’ve been with my husband for 2 and a half years now. We were just married in May of this year. On our honeymoon I felt something was terribly wrong. I felt so ugly and unwanted and I didn”t know why. Then, 5 weeks after we were married he started soliciting people on Craigslist for threesomes, setting up profiles on sites such as “Affair Hotel” and Adult Friend Finder.” He claims to have not physically cheated on me, but I have a very strong feeling that I do not know everything yet and may never know. At the moment I have a long list of acting out things that I do know of and I’m not pleased (to say the least). I told him from the beginning of our relationship that I felt that pornography in a relationship was poison. He agreed and all seemed well…

    During our relationship I have often felt my self-esteem slipping. I thought that we weren’t having passionate sex b/c I’m not that exciting to him , pretty enough or that after a few months the passion dies. I just didn’t know. I really believed that he loved me and maybe he did. But, how true is that love when he hasn’t been able to be true and honest with me? There has been no intimacy emotionally and very little physically.

    My question is this:
    I’ve only been married a very short time now and we have no children together. He claims that he loves me and wants to be the man I thought he was. He says he is prepared to do whatever it takes to fix this. The marriage counselor, my therapist and all the literature I read talks about how this sort of thing takes YEARS to repair. I’m thinking I can do it. I’m a fighter, but what am I fighting for exactly?

Comments are closed.