Sex Addiction Counseling Benefits
By: Sarah Fader
Updated May 07, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn
Sex is a natural part of life—until it's not. That is where sex addiction counseling can help you.
A sex addiction occurs when a person uses sex for purposes of compulsion or dependency, regardless of any potential negative consequences. In the 1980s, sex addiction was officially recognized as a mental health disorder, and it is closely related to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Sex Addiction Is a Real Problem
When some people hear about sex addiction, they think it is a joke. Not everyone realizes how harmful this can be to people who are suffering from it. Not being able to control your impulses can lead you down a very dark road. It is not simple to deal with this by yourself either, which is why sex addiction counseling is so crucial.
This isn't a problem that is as simple as just deciding to stop. It is a true addiction that people cannot control easily. Recognizing that you have a problem may even prove to be difficult at first. If your sexual habits are negatively impacting your life, then you need to have the strength to reach your hand out to get professional help.
Some signs of sex addiction include the following:
- Extramarital or extra-relationship affairs
- Unsafe sex practices
- Self-prostitution or the use of prostitutes
- Obsessively dating through personal ads
- Excessive self-stimulation
- Obsessively using pornography
Most treatment programs for sex addiction focus on separating the addicted person from harmful sexual behaviors. It also delves into the internal thought processes and emotions harbored in the person's brain, such as anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, and other emotions. Sex addiction is a complex issue and determining the reasons behind it can take time. This is why people seek the help of dedicated professionals when they are going through these issues.
If you or someone close to you is dealing with a sex addiction, how can a licensed mental health professional help you? Here are some ways sex addiction counseling is beneficial:
It helps you reconnect with your partner.
If one half of a couple has a sex addiction, then there are several issues to discuss, and attending therapy sessions will help the couple work through feelings and make decisions regarding their relationship. Truth be told, a sex addiction problem can put a huge strain on your relationship. Often, those who are suffering from a sex addiction problem will wind up cheating on their spouse or partner. This is not always the case, but there are many situations where this occurs.
When someone has a compulsion that leads them to want to have sex all the time, it can be very unhealthy. It is tough for the significant other of someone in this situation. Seeing someone that you love dearly suffering in this way is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. The partner of someone who has a sex addiction will need to remain strong in order to help resolve the situation.
Over time, it is possible for therapy and other intervention techniques to change things. As the sexual behavior begins to change back to normal, it has the potential to renew your relationship. The love that you once felt for each other can be rekindled over time. When you are going through a sex addiction and do not want to lose your spouse or partner, it is going to be very helpful to seek counseling.
You will be able to distinguish between health and unhealthy sex.
In many programs, the client will abstain from any sexual activity for a period of 60 to 90 days. This allows the person to go through therapy sessions, and also ruminate about what is healthy sexual behavior and what is not. The client can correct any obsessive-compulsive thoughts and actions, and own up to what they have done—in addition to learning to boost their self-esteem. Talking with a therapist will help you work through the pros and cons of sex.
Of course, sex is a natural and beautiful thing. Almost anything in the world can be negative when it is done to excess. Someone with a sex addiction stops being able to recognize what sexual behaviors are negative and which are positive. In some cases, it limits their ability to appreciate true sex that comes from a place of love. When sex becomes nothing but a carnal instinct, it causes the person going through sex addiction to feel sad and empty inside.
There are various different unhealthy sexual behaviors that you may recognize in yourself or others. For example, some people turn to sex in order to fill some type of void in their life. It is not uncommon for someone to seek sexual partners after experiencing a traumatic event. Instead of dealing with their emotions, they decide to reach out to something that makes them feel good. The reality is that these shallow sexual experiences may leave a person feeling even worse and more vulnerable than before.
After going through the counseling sessions, it will be easier to recognize these behaviors. After abstaining from sex and self-pleasure for a certain period of time, it should make it easier to steer away from these activities. Being able to have healthy sex with someone who truly cares about you will feel completely different. It will be nothing like the unhealthy sex habits that have been a part of your life for so long, as you will be wrapped in the warmth of a truly loving relationship.
You can address any unaddressed issues in sex addiction counseling services.
If you talk one-on-one with a therapist or participate in group therapy, you will become more accountable for your actions while also helping others. A 12-Step Program or another form of therapy could help you realize that you used a sex addiction to curb another mental health issue, such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or depression. For example, a person could use sex addiction as a coping mechanism as a result of some form of trauma.
No matter what type of situation you are in, it is important to find the strength to seek help. Turning to the sex addiction counselors may feel difficult to you at first, but it will become easier. Once you have acknowledged that your current sexual behaviors are unhealthy, you will be able to make progress. Your life can change completely, and you can get back to enjoying real relationships with people again.
Coping With Sex Addiction Through BetterHelp
Studies show that guided online therapy can help those dealing with addiction to better understand and cope with their thoughts and behaviors. One study, published in Current Psychiatry Reports, a peer-reviewed medical journal, states that internet-based counseling is an effective treatment for addiction and related symptoms of depression and anxiety. Online interventions can help those coping with sex addiction to create healthier associations with intimacy and relationships, while understanding and managing the harmful thoughts that lead to that addiction. Internet-based counseling is widely considered to be a secure, cost-effective, and accessible alternative to in-person treatment.
As stated above, online counseling can be a very useful part of a sex addiction therapy program. If you are uncomfortable discussing this issue face to face, BetterHelp allows you to interact with a licensed counselor from the comfort of your own home. You’ll also have the option of remaining completely anonymous, if you prefer. Read below for reviews of counselors, from those who have sought counseling in the past.
“Carmen is thoughtful and patient and asks questions that get to the heart of the matter. I’ve been to counseling before and it seems like there was a lot of talking but I didn’t always leave with tools I could use right away. Carmen provides insight that I can use to work on my concerns right away.”
“Alexis has been amazing. I came to this site very skeptical about what help could be offered. Alexis has helped me navigate through my emotions and struggles very well. I am infinitely grateful for all she has done and she keeps doing. Alexis is very friendly and makes me feel comfortable talking about anything. My experience with her has been amazing.”
Take the time to reach out to the counselors that you need today. Whether you are going through a sex addiction or if you are concerned about your partner or someone else you are close to, you can get help. Sex addiction counseling is effective, and it can give people their lives and dignity back. It may take some time to work through all of your issues, but progress can be made when you dedicate yourself to the process. Reach out today.
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