Maybe he was a cheater or porn addict. Maybe she never could get over that other boyfriend or worse, was still seeing him. Whatever the reason – ending a relationship where you have become close and attached to each other – is going to hurt. This is the pain part – the one that makes the joys of life more rewarding and meaningful when they come. So to support your survivorship thru a difficult time, here are some suggested, tried and true rules for surviving a recent break-up.
Post Break-up Rule #1. Box up their stuff, tape the box closed and give the box to a friend – for a while. On the pain continuum, wandering around your home seeing his or her gifts, letters, pictures and stuff everywhere is about the same as bamboo shoved under the fingernails. You are better off putting the relationship reminders away for a while. Make sure you can get these things back…at some point he or she may want some of it returned or you may want some of it later. For now, put the pain provokers away.
“Compulsive Masturbation? I just like porn –a lot!”
While many people with sexual problems race to therapy the moment they have serious relationship, legal, work or health problems related to their sexual behavior, the solitary nature of those who compulsively masturbate often leaves their actions less subject to obvious problems. The compulsive masturbator will more often seek out therapy for relief from his depression, loneliness and relationship problems and not necessarily for sexual issues as compulsive masturbation carries some of the most shame, secrecy and isolation of all problem sexual behaviors– in both men and women.
Often avoidant of intimate sexuality and healthy intimacy in adult life and frequently raised with extensive histories of childhood abuse and/or neglect, compulsive masturbators are often the last to seek help as they don’t see or relate to their solo sexual behaviors as being an underlying source of their adult unhappiness. Many attend psycho-therapy for long periods of time unfortunately never discussing (sometimes never being asked to discuss) masturbation, thus their problem remains underground and untreated.
Compulsive masturbators do eventually have negative life consequences caused for example by viewing inappropriate materials i.e. child porn, physical injury or by masturbating in inappropriate places i.e. the workplace or car. However, the most frequent the long-term negative consequence of compulsive masturbation (with or without porn) is a life devoid of closeness, longstanding feelings of detachment, removed from deep emotions and relationship connections. Compulsive masturbators constantly live with hidden, isolation and shame along with an inability to work through the deeper psychological issues that are often the engine driving these addictive sexual behavior patterns.
For most adults, healthy sexuality is an integrated life experience. Sex with partners, with self, or as a part of exploring new relationships is usually a pleasurable act of choice. For sexual addicts, however, sexual behavior can be most often defined by words such as driven, compulsive and hidden.
Unlike healthy sex that is integrated into relationships, sexual addicts use sex as a means to cope, to handle boredom, anxiety and other powerful feelings or as a way to feel important, wanted or powerful.
Addiction is addiction, whether substance-based (alcohol or other drugs) or process based (gambling, overeating or sex). Here are several areas in which an addiction to sex mirrors the problems experienced when one suffers from alcoholism and drug addiction:
Until just recently, 1988 – 1998 could have been called The Golden Age of Phone Sex. Way back then (granny would remember), these mostly male callers would spend all the way from two-minutes to two-days lingering at home or in the office, paying to talk, talk, talk about life, love and most of all, S-E-X. Back in those pre-chat room, pre-porn site, pre-web cam and most of all pre-cell phone days, pay for play…talk dirty by-the-$1.98-minute was all the rage.
In an age where safe sex reigned supreme with no HIV treatment yet on the horizon, these steamy, sterile copper-wire connections were the fastest way to get off and get on with your day –no mess no fuss and undeniably safe. The back stories in those days were about the millions being made by those investors savvy enough to snap up and market phone numbers like 1-800-hot-4Sex or 1-800-ALL-GIRL. And don’t forget about those 68 year-old grandmas and 220 lb. stay-at-home moms making extra doe on the side playing the part of the lonely, understanding 24 year-old hot “girl next door.”
Ahh, the good old days… sadly, those with sex addiction and intimacy-related problems were then spending countless hours and thousands of dollars a month to maintain their obsessive “tele-sex” habits, paying off the huge bills at months-end, only to rack up even more debt in the following days and weeks on another credit card or phone bill. Hours spent on the phone with anonymous strangers was time not spent in recreation or with family and the losses for some were great.
Fast-forward to 2011 where we have now entered The Second Golden Age of Phone Sex. Today in our G4-wifi-mobile world, phonesex is faster, fully visual, often free and even more addictive. With smartphones equipped with location-based technology, GPS, and apps like Ashley Madison and Grindr, finding a nearby sex partner in-vivo is as easy and anonymous – equivalent to looking for a good Italian restaurant.
Within 25 seconds of poking the app (for real) you can find whoever you want, where ever you are, with potential …
I’m pleased to introduce Sex and Intimacy in the Digital Age, a blog about sexual addiction and problems, adultery and cheating in the digital age of the Internet, smartphones, and always being connected. A day doesn’t go by where we don’t hear how the Internet and other digital media are impacting our relationships in both positive and negative ways. Porn addiction is one of a relationship’s new problems, and with ready access to sexual materials online and on the go via our smartphones, Android devices, iPads and iPhones, it’s no wonder.
Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is the host of this new blog. He is the founding Director of The Sexual Recovery Institute, Los Angeles and Director of Sexual Disorders Services at The Ranch Treatment Center in Nunnelly, Tennessee.
A UCLA MSW graduate, Mr. Weiss received extensive post-graduate sexual disorder’s training with addiction author and clinical leader, Dr. Patrick Carnes. Mr. Weiss is author of Cybersex Exposed: Simple Fantasy to Obsession, author of Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Menand co-author of the just released, Untangling the Web: Sex, Porn and Fantasy Addiction in the Internet Age, with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, along with numerous peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters.
You can learn more about Rob here. Please give him a warm Psych Central welcome, as I look forward to learning and reading more about sex addiction, intimacy, the digital age and its impact on healthy relationships.