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#192112 - 11/21/07 05:23 PM Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPIC**
rcm Offline

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 156
Loc: Boston, MA

The issue of sexual addiction has been on my mind for a while now. Does anyone have any insight as to how to tell the difference between compulsive behaviour (masturbation) and sexual addiction? I understand compulsive behaviour can be a part of sexual addiction but how do you tell the difference? I started to address this issue with my former therapist who told me I am definitely not a sex addict but I still have that nagging feeling and have only been with my current therapist three times and barely touched on any issues at all. Any input will be welcome thanks.

Prince Zuko: [looking at a map] How am I going to find the Avatar? He is clearly a master of evasive maneuvering.
Sokka: [cut to him, looking at the same map] You have no idea where you're going, do you?

#192121 - 11/21/07 07:28 PM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPIC** [Re: rcm]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
There are some therapists who don't like the term "sexual addiction". For some, it has become overused, like "chocoholic" or "workaholic". Loses its meaning.

Compulsive behavior, at least for therapists, may be an easier area to define. So it may be an issue of definition.

As far as the t not being willing or interested in discussing what you want to talk about, remember that as long as you are not court ordered to be in therapy, it is your call about what you want to talk about.

Sometimes, I will point out to someone that it looks like he is avoiding something by focusing on something else. Example: I was seeing a survivor who preferred to talk about his marital problems. It was the same shit/different day thing for a bunch of sessions. When I tried to steer him back to the abuse, he would stay there briefly and then went back to the marriage. I offered to allow him to vent about his wife for 10 minutes a session and asked him if it would be ok to return to the main reason he was seeing me.... the abuse. He agreed and we continued this pattern. Much more productive.

When a t avoids certain areas that are not irrelevant, it may be that s/he is uncomfortable or unfamiliar with that. I've had people ask me if I have much experience in a particular area, and I have to be honest about it. It might be that the part s/he is avoiding rings bells for him/her somehow.

If you can't get a good answer, read the "Consumer's Guide to Therapist Shopping" on this site.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#192127 - 11/21/07 08:17 PM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPIC** [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
River Offline

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Nashville,Tennessee
I agree with Ken. Sounds like it is something you want to explore with your therapist and I would hope he/she will be willing to explore that issue, irrespective of the terminology. The one thing I want to add is that what is important is how you see it and what the issue (whatever you want to "label" it) means to you. There are some on-line self-diagnostic tools for "sex addiction"... I think at


#192140 - 11/22/07 12:23 AM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPI [Re: River]
mike5 Offline

Registered: 08/01/07
Posts: 171
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: River
There are some on-line self-diagnostic tools for "sex addiction"... I think at

There is a self assessment questionnaire at too.

RCM - When I first got into sexual addiction recovery, I was taught a couple of ways to determine if I was an addict. One was to try doing whatever sexual behavior I thought might be addictive - just do it for a few minutes and then stop. If I could quit doing it, and stay quit, then chances are it wasn't an addiction. The other is a common sense criteria for addiction: does the behavior or use keep me physically or emotionally isolated from those who love me or those I love?


#192215 - 11/22/07 07:57 PM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPI [Re: mike5]
GuyD2006 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 20
Loc: Louisiana
I have been in recovery for 2 years now. The SAA questionnaire was very helpful. It enabled me to identify specifics about my behavior which help to determine if I was a sex addict. I think I answered yes to the majority of the I knew the SSA program was needed for me.

Sex for me was the center of my life. I was always manipulating people to try to set up situations in which I could have sex with them or see them naked. Through the program I have been able to put sex ibn its place. Sex is just another part of my life now. I still struggle from time to time but I have friends in the program that I call to talk things out, before going out and doing something I would regret later.

Life is much better these days and if you have any doubt about your sexual addiction, it would not hurt to try an SAA meeting.

God Bless

Guy D.

#192216 - 11/22/07 08:01 PM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPI [Re: GuyD2006]
sabata Offline

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1950
sex to me is love--------i can not relate to love-------------------and i do no sex with others-------------

#192276 - 11/23/07 05:11 AM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPI [Re: rcm]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

Originally Posted By: rcm
but I still have that nagging feeling and have only been with my current therapist three times and barely touched on any issues at all.

A T will often spend time with a new client getting to know him and allowing him to build up confidence and trust in the T. It's pretty difficult to get anywhere if you don't trust the T enough to open up to him/her.

But if you feel you want to move things along a bit more quickly, I would just say so. You're the client; therapy should proceed at a pace with which you feel comfortable. If you are already prepared to get into sensitive areas, good for you! \:\)

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#192353 - 11/23/07 02:15 PM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPI [Re: roadrunner]
John Oarc Offline

Registered: 02/10/06
Posts: 633
Loc: Louisiana
"Does anyone have any insight as to how to tell the difference between compulsive behaviour (masturbation) and sexual addiction?"

I'm no expert but Looking at the trigger could help;

Stress, anxiety triggers it for some if not most of us and relief comes in the form of masturbation. Most agree that it is a control issue, you control the sexual energy soley. The molestation was out of your control and the quest to regain the control becomes the power and later the compulsive avenue for security, decreased anxiety. The next step is guilt much like the feeling after the abuse occurred, so like a domino affect the cycle of victim rears its ugly head creating more anxiety, shame thus the need to control again, thus appearing like an addiction to porn or sexual release.

I think the behavior is just an avenue of escape and a false sense of control. It briefly calms the moments anxious feeling, out of conrol feeling but much like any outside stimulus it does not last long and the need to repeat the behavior returns.

Its like eating a snack instead of the whole meal, leaving us wanting for more. Drugs, alcohol, gambling you name it, they just dont fullfill the souls need for inner peace and happiness.

The difference between sexual addiction, and compulsive behavior-

The obsession drives the compulsion, so sexual addiction could be the ritual behavior or mental act that is tagged to the obsessive thoughts, anxiety driven mental state. Rituals vary from person to person but I believe in CSA recreating the abuse is or acting out is the ritual behavior when the obsessive thoughts begin to take a tole.

Others place objects in an exact position, tap three times before opening a door etc. but for the sexual abuse I think we tend to act out sexually as if the soul is trying to bring this event to the surface to deal with it. Masturbation is a means of dealing with it but it makes us feel ashamed and can be non- productive, driving the cycle to repeat it over and over thus the appearence of addiction.

So the terms we place on behaviors are more than one dementional and what drives the compulsion is in my opionion the determining factor.

Hope this helps,

Edited by John Oarc (11/23/07 02:26 PM)
Whatever It Takes, God

#192360 - 11/23/07 04:42 PM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPI [Re: John Oarc]
John Oarc Offline

Registered: 02/10/06
Posts: 633
Loc: Louisiana
If we had been traumatized by lets say physical abuse instead of sexual abuse; our release behavior might be violence towards others or animals.

Our fist sexual experience was abnormal to say the least; it should have been very exciting and enjoyable, consensual not controlling or manipulative. Now imagine us trying to take our first sexual event into our adult lives and you can see that our idea of sex is skewed, our mates are unable to meet our needs in some cases due to the fact that our idea of what it is like is rooted in control and manipulation.

Do any of you find yourself looking for porn related to force or coerced sexual depictions, humiliation, domination?

It is like the program in our brain is trying to reboot and flow but it has a virus that we constantly know is there, not letting us feel free to experience sex in a loving passionate form.

We do get close at times but something is lacking in most cases.

Again, Iím no expert and I speak of what I have felt and encountered in my walk through this life.

Whatever It Takes, God

#192368 - 11/23/07 06:24 PM Re: Questions on sexual addiction **SENSITIVE TOPI [Re: John Oarc]
thesun3 Offline

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 49
You may not be an expert...but you've described what i've been trying to understand about my hx of abuse, and porn addiction to the letter. My best friend and my older brother manipulated and abused me using porn and masturbation. I've got so much etched in my brain that I fear I'll never get it erased. I find that I allow moments of anxiety and stress to mount, and all it will take is a TV commercial, or a magazine add...and the battle begins. I'm working hard to deal with my stressors in a healthier way. Thanks for your input.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

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