Sex Talk: Sexual Addiction

Sex Talk: Sexual Addiction

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I received a question on how loved ones could respond when a family member or friend discloses their sexual addiction. What a great question! There are certainly more resources that could be developed for the area surrounding what to do if and when someone confides in you about their sexual addiction.

 

Around three to six percent of the population is affected by sexual addiction with one in three of those being women. That is to say, sexual addiction is among us and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. This is for sure not an easy conversation for the one presenting the addiction or the one listening. Though there are many emotions and concerns and even shock values to consider for the one listening, nevertheless the part where the addict reaches out for help can sometimes be overlooked. Just like with any addiction, seeking help for a sexual addiction is a very difficult step. This step is oftentimes felt as very shameful and embarrassing for the person experiencing the addiction. Here are a few tips that can help you or a loved one get through a time of confusion, pain and help with the recovery process:

 

1. Listen – This is probably not easy for the person disclosing the information. Maybe this is one of the first times the person with the addiction is talking about what has been happening. Listening attentively might be a great starting point for what they need.

 

2. Be supportive – Though this might not be the most ideal conversation, being supportive of them wanting to change and reaching out for your support can be therapeutic to the person with the addiction.

 

3. Know your limits – Recognize that you cannot change the person. Only they can change themselves. They need you to be loving and non-judgmental during this time, not the “fixer.”

 

4. Educate yourself about the myths of sexual addiction – “It’s the partners fault”, “Women are not sex addicts” and “Sex addicts are always rapists” are a few of the wide spread misperceptions.

 

5. Research – Understanding what the sex addict is going through can help you understand, break down your own assumptions and better empathize. Some great resources are Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes, No Stones: Women Redeemed From Sexual Addiction by Marnie Ferree, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means, Sexhelp.com.

 

These suggestions are to help guide you in your journey to living a more fulfilling sexual life. If you are experiencing any sexual difficulties or concerns, I encourage you to seek help. If you have any questions or comments about what you read, feel free to e-mail me at Emma@Emma-Schmidt.com.

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