Sexual Addiction

Beyond Sexual Compulsivity (Part 2)

Loss is a natural part of recovery. Because sexual compulsion is actually a misfired attempt to regulate the nervous system, it requires a conscious choice to say goodbye to these stale behaviors. This requires a willingness to say goodbye to this survival strategy and to trust that there is something better on the horizon.

At the same time, it’s helpful to identify and express gratitude. As a by-product of grieving, eventually you can acknowledge that you wouldn’t be who you are today if it wasn’t for everything that happened in your past. This is a significant . . .

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Beyond Sexual Compulsivity (Part 1)

Recovery from compulsive sex can feel like a rollercoaster with unexpected twists and turns behind every corner. Fortunately, the ride can get much smoother and less tumultuous as time and healing unfolds.

Long-term recovery is quite different than early recovery. In the beginning, stopping out-of-control sexual behaviors is the main focus while long-term recovery makes room for sex-positive, expansive experiences. In early recovery you start to notice the damaging activities of the past while long-term recovery often reveals . . .

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Sex Addiction vs. Compulsive Sex:
The Controversy Continues

A few years ago the World Health Organization recognized and included Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD) in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). This is the first time in the history of this organization that CSBD has been validated by a global gathering of clinicians. For many years Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) have lobbied to include sex addiction as a formal diagnosis . . .

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Restoring the Wisdom of the Nervous System: Reducing the Vulnerability to Relapse from Sexual Addiction

Out of control sexual behavior creates an imbalanced nervous system. The anticipation and hunt for sex leaves you dysregulated, as you remain lost in the attempt to numb your pain and escape your feelings. Dysregulation describes the disruption of the nervous system: up-regulation refers to internal states such as panic or rage, and down-regulation refers to disconnection or shutting down.

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Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder

A few months ago, the World Health Organization recognized and included “compulsive sexual behavior disorder” in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). This is the first time that anything close to “sex addiction” has been validated as a diagnostic code. For many years there has been an effort by sex addiction therapists to include “sexual addiction” as a classification/diagnosis, but to no avail. Sexual addiction was coined by Patrick Carnes in the 1980s, but it’s always been a controversial term accepted by some clinicians and rejected by others.

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The positive psychology of sex addiction

Traditionally, twelve-step programs describe addiction with borrowed language from the medical model such as disease, illness, and even the word addiction itself. Yet, there’s less shameful and stigmatizing ways to talk about it.

In 1998, Dr. Marty Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania coined the term Positive Psychology, and a like-minded, international community of researchers came out of the woodwork. Not only did they open the door to expanded research in this brand-new field, but they also paved the way toward its application toward addictive and compulsive behaviors.

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