Is Sex Addiction Real?

(Last Updated On: June 30, 2016)

Is Sex Addiction Real?

Why is it Controversial?

In psychotherapy, there are often questions about whether or not sex addiction is a real thing. But why is this a controversy at all? In this video, I discuss the reasons that this is a controversial topic. I also offer information to help if you’re wondering if this is a problem for you.

Hi, I’m Michael Salas from Vantage Point Counseling, and thank you for watching this today.

I just wanted to take a little bit of time to talk about sex addiction and a common controversial question that we get is whether or not sex addiction is something that is real. That becomes a pretty complicated question, because it’s a pretty controversial topic.

As a certified sex addiction therapist, I obviously do work with people who I really do see who are struggling with a compulsive sexual behavior. And this can include in it complete isolation from their families, and/[or] watching pornography, and an inability to control that enough, so that they’re able to connect in a way that’s really meaningful with their families. Or it can be impulsive chatting and sexual talk outside of their primary relationship. Or it could be compulsive cheating, massages, [etc.] There’s a lot of different kinds of behavior that this can include.

This typically starts out as numbing behavior from a person who is really not dealing well with [problems]. Whether it’s anxiety or depression, maybe some trauma. And this becomes so out of control that the person uses it for disconnecting from those day to day issues that are in their lives.

When people argue against sex addiction a lot of times they’re not actually talking about the same thing that sex addiction therapists are treating. And so they are talking about therapists, and there are therapists out there, who will say that they’re sex addiction therapists. But they actually are reparative therapists who are kind of in disguise, and “treating” (and I put that in quotes), “treating” sexual orientation as an illness. And so… and they’ll also call it an addiction a lot of times. That is not a group that is under the class of certified sex addiction therapist. There’s a specific credential for that. And the organization called IITAP, who is in charge of that credential, has a stance against reparative therapy, which says that, this is an unethical practice. Which it is.

So there’s also controversy about when people are dealing with something like a pornography addiction. Whether they’re actually dealing with an addiction or they’re just, feeling a lot of shame, and they’re trying to make excuses so that they don’t lose connection in their relationships. And there’s a certainly an argument for that. And I know that I have worked with people who’ve come in and felt like they were a porn addict. And after we started doing some work, they really weren’t addicted. They just were dealing with a lot of shame surrounding their own their own use [of pornography]. And what people there typically need is somebody to kind of walk with them through what is sexuality or what is healthy sexuality going to look like for them in their own lives. So that’s some work that we do with them as well.

Another common question that we get is “how do we determine whether or not somebody’s dealing with an actual sexual addiction?” Versus, dealing with just a question about their own sexuality, or dealing shame around their sexuality. Or [are we dealing with someone who] just has cheated a few times, which is not necessarily a sexual addiction. We are trained in specific tools that are used to help people determine whether or not what they’re actually dealing with is an actual compulsive issue. Or if it’s something that the couple needs to work on together to become more connected. Or if there’s just some underlying other sexual issue that the couple needs to be looking at, discussing, or opening lines of communication about.That’s a big part of our work, as well.

If you’re watching this, this is a pretty complex issue, so I want you to feel free to be able to reach out to us and ask us any questions that you might have. We are more than willing to answer them. You’ll hear a lot of opinions about sexual addiction. It’s a controversial topic, and it is something that people deal with. And it’s a real issue.

So if you’re not sure, reach out to us, send us an email, or give us a call and we can help to guide you on what the next steps would be. And whether or not it’s an actual problem in your life. And if it’s not a problem, maybe there’s something else we can help with.

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Is Sex Addiction Real?