OUT-OF-CONTROL SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
"SEX ADDICTION," SEXUAL COMPULSIVITY, HYPERSEXUALITY OR OUT-OF-CONTROL SEXUAL BEHAVIOR?
All these names are used frequently and seemingly interchangeably. You probably have heard all of them at different times. It is because mental health and sexuality professionals are divided in how they conceptualize dysregulated sexual behavior. Consequently, they favor one model for understanding the origins of this problem, motivations driving it, as well as diagnostic criteria and treatment methods over the others. What is important and what ultimately matters is the fact that despite the differences in their models, all these researchers and practitioners share one crucial thing: their common interest in improving the lives of people whose excessive sexual behaviors have had a negative effect on them.
Also, just like the professionals, some clients prefer to think of their concerns as either "sex addiction", sexual compulsivity, hypersexuality, or out-of-control sexual behavior. They resonate better with the language and framework one of the models and not the others. Still other clients may be open to addressing their excessive and dysregulated sexual behavior without a need of labeling it but rather focusing on the goal of gaining control over it and eliminating its negative consequences.
SO WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
Dysregulated sexual behavior (at times also urges and fantasies) is subjectively experienced as compulsive, impulsive, distressful, recurrent, intense and out of control. It involves preoccupation, secrecy, violating relationship agreements (both clearly articulated and implicit) or personal values, ethics and desired self-image, as well as negative impact on various aspects of one's daily life (e.g., work, relationships, health). Some of these sexual behaviors are consensual and commonly enjoyable experiences (e.g., masturbation, viewing pornography) that in time have become disruptive or harmful. Other excessive sexual behaviors are outside the bounds of commonly accepted social and/or legal norms (e.g., affairs, illegal pornography, exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc).
MY APPROACH TO TREATMENT OF SEXUAL DYSREGULATION
I recognize that clients who seek help for sexual dysregulation face social and internal stigma. My style is non-judgmental and compassionate. I am a genuine, direct, and down-to-earth practitioner. My clients often comment on my ability to create sense of safety and comfort level in therapy process that allows them to fully and without shame explore various facets of their out-of-control sexual behavior and experiment with new, healthier behaviors as well as ways of expressing and meeting their emotional and sexual needs. In the course of therapy, clients develop new insights into their often competing motivations for and against their excessive sexual behavior. My specific interventions focus on such areas as behavior and thought modification, relationships skill, regulating emotions, addressing past trauma and impact of cultural and familial influences as well as recognizing and accepting oneself as a sexual being without guilt or shame.
If your sexual behavior feels out of control and you are concerned about its negative impact on you or your relationships, contact me today to discuss how I can help you.