I’m fortunate enough to play a part in the hope and recovery of a lot of people. For those I work with, I’m the person they come to talk about the most intimate struggles an questions they have; I’m the guy everyone can come talk to about sex. For humans in general, whether we seek help for it or not, our sexuality is such a fragile and shattered part of us; this brokenness is mirrored by society at large.
The sexual dysfunction of our culture takes an unfortunate toll on all of us.
It’s important to understand and label this brokenness appropriately; this is what I want to discuss and define for you today. I’m going to offer you some more positive and hopeful labels and definitions of sexual struggles so that the broken parts you may experience can be healed to give birth to your best self.
It is my hope that you can learn to see the issues you have from more than one angle. I encourage you to remember that there’s a lot of judgement and misinformation, even in online self-help literature and especially on social media and other public forums.
The good news is that you can choose to define your struggles by three more helpful terms which I’m going to outline below.
The reason why these labels are so significant is because whether you currently suffer from a problematic sexual behavior or have, or if you have struggled with a compulsive sexual behavior or with your sexuality in any way that is compulsive, I know you’ve been labeled as a sex or porn addict.
My clients usually find me after this label is assigned to them. Although these terms could serve you in knowing that you are not alone in these struggles and that there could be a path towards recovery besides are likely unsuccessful former attempts to simply stop doing ‘the thing’.
Ultimately, the goal for anyone trying to fix their broken sexuality is to create a healthy sexuality. It’s very important to discuss this topic and particularly to acknowledge that there are severe limitations imposed by the labels of sex and porn addiction.
The DSM is understood to be the Bible when it comes to officially recognized mental health disorders. However, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has consistently refused to include sex or pornography addictions within this catalog. The reason for this lack of inclusion is two-fold; the science to support sex and porn addictions is not sufficiently evident plus the label addiction presents a certain problem, read on to learn why.
Many experts in the field of sexual health agree that the terms “porn addiction” and “sex addiction” just don’t get people the type of help they really need, and we can do better. Without further ado, below are the labels that I find to be much more appropriate.
This label is one that I think is much better and I use it to help all of my clients, myself included. Intimacy disorder often leads to compulsive sexual behavior including acting out which is often accompanied by compulsive pornography use. A key problem that presents in Intimacy Disorder is that the client engaging in these behaviors is unable to connect with his partner.
A TED Talk that I recommend highly, by Johann Hari called Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong, includes a quote that is transformational to the work I do, “The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety – it’s connection.”
The greatest insight you can gain into the nature and side effects of your addiction is to examine the way you connect and communicate with your partner or important people in your life. Another key indicator of the nature of your addiction is your sexual drive and intimacy in a romantic relationship.