Psychotherapy for Attachment, Trauma and Dissociation

 London Mayfair and Glasgow |  077 7327 7327 |

Sexual Addiction

"Helping to support you to minimise harm"

Sexual Behaviour Problems

My work in helping those with Sexual Behaviour Problems (SBP) began in 1998 when I helped develop the first therapeutic program of its kind for young people in Scotland for SBP.

As well as working with Sexual Addiction, I have also worked extensively with those who come to the attention of the justice system through being requested to provide assessment and treatment. I have delivered programs in Scotland, England and New Zealand and work with both genders and across all ages.

What is Sexual addiction?

This is a specific condition which impacts on the lives of woman and men and involves the compulsive use of sexual behaviour to 'dissociate' painful negative feeling states (often the individual is not aware of the reason behind there compulsive behavior).

Sexual behaviours are used to escape from a reality which is being disavowed into a alternative life which is often hidden and out of the complete awareness of others. This is often described as leading a double life which if people in their lives knew would bring potential harm both professionally (loss of job, credibility etc) or personally (loss of relationships etc)

Arranging an initial session is often the first step to move away from the situations which carry potential risks to clients  e.g. Professional, personal.

Sex (and the behaviors leading up to the sexual act) become part of a compulsive re-occurring maladaptive strategy which is used as an avoidance to dissociate feelings of negative self feeling states such as anxiety, shame, guilt, or feelings of disconnection and loneliness.

This becomes what can be an all consuming pattern of behaviour which although is out of control provides an "false" dissociated experience related to the "other me".

For this reason when individuals are identified engaging in sexually addictive behaviors friends, family and colleagues can be shocked at the revelations.

Sexual addiction is the name given to a pattern of sexual behaviour that has the following characteristics:

  • It becomes a preoccupation and is experienced as being "out of control" as the individual may act compulsively (may seek to stop but continually find themselves relapsing and re-entering the cycle of behaviour)
  • Therefore  a person finds they cannot stop the behaviour or, more usually, they cannot stay stopped (relapse)
  • The behaviour brings with it real or potential harmful consequences.
  • It tends to be used, often unconsciously to dissociate away from feelings such as loneliness, low self worth, shame, core loneliness, anger, stress and anxiety.

Examples of compulsive sexual behaviours which may be related to sexual addiction.

  • One Night Stands
  • Use of Internet Pornography
  • Exhibitionism
  • Telephone Sex

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