There is an old recovery saying that you can’t get sober if you are too smart, too rich or too good-looking. Anyone working with sex addicts knows that these attributes can sometimes present challenges.
I’m not saying that looks brains and money cause sex addiction but I can see some of the ways they might operate to prevent the addict getting better.
As a recovering sex addict you will probably become involved with an “anonymous” program such as Sex Addicts Anonymous. These programs are modeled after AA in which the original emphasis was on the informal support of the “fellowship” and a sponsor who guided you through the 12-steps.
In Sex Addicts Anonymous and some of the hundred plus other 12-step programs that have sprung up, members have formed “feedback groups” and “recovery partnerships” as additional kinds of relationships to support recovery.
First of all there are times when we really are victims. Anyone can fall victim to an assault, an unforeseen calamity, or identity theft.
When we are the victims of these kinds of things it is psychologically important to accept that we are in fact a victim. It would be unhealthy to deny that we are vulnerable and can get hurt. At these times it is a sign of strength to look for sympathy and support.
Getting stuck in a victim identity
While looking through a classic collection of articles by men called Men Confront Pornography (1990, Kimmel, M. S. Ed.) which I thought might help my sex addict clients, I came across some interesting theories as to why porn is so compelling for so many men.
These are not excuses, they are attempts to explain and understand the “pain killing nature” of porn.
What is a man medicating when he chooses two dimensional images of women who are always exactly the way he wants them to be?
I will look at two of these theories and then add my own thoughts.
Men feel violated by women and seek revenge
Sex addicts present their own particular pitfalls for a therapist. Sex addicts by definition have some kind of intimacy disability. They have been unable comfortably be themselves in an intimate relationship and have led compartmentalized, deceitful lives.
The sex addict sitting across from me wants to avoid being open and intimate.Therapy is a frightening situation because it is supposed to be one of vulnerability and openness.
The sex addict will typically look for a way to change the nature of the relationship.