Sex Addiction Recovery & Counseling
Do You Often Find Yourself Preoccupied with Sexual Thoughts or Behaviors?
- Have you felt isolated or shame due to your compulsive sexual behaviors?
- Do you keep your sexual behaviors a secret and feel worried about someone finding out?
- Have you or others experienced consequences due to your sexual behaviors?
- Despite the consequences, have you repeated the behavior and can’t seem to stop?
It can feel as though you are living a double life when you are living in secrecy. No one knows the real you, and if you shared these hidden parts of yourself, you fear that others may judge you, look at you differently, and not understand. Keeping your compulsive sexual behaviors hidden from others, especially from your partner, may lead to feelings of disconnection and anxiety as you try to maintain an image that you are fine, when in reality, you are crumbling on the inside.
If your partner finds out, you fear that it will destroy the relationship. So you keep it to yourself, and the web of lies continues to snowball. You tell yourself this will be the last time you engage in these behaviors, and you mean it. But soon enough, you slide back into your compulsive sexual patterns, stuck in a vicious cycle of lies and shame. Maybe your mind has tricked you into believing that if no one knows, no one gets hurt. Or maybe you have numbed yourself from feeling any of this.
You think to yourself, “If I can just share this with my partner and still feel loved and accepted…” But you feel terrified with the thought of sharing this with anyone. You might think “If I could just stop these behaviors on my own, then no one needs to know, right?” The problem is, what you have been doing to try and stop the behaviors on your own hasn’t worked for you and has brought you here. You are likely fed up with feeling out of control, and you want to break free from the lies and endless loop you have been stuck in for so long.
Sex Addiction Is More Common Than You Think
The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health has estimated that 3-6 percent of the U.S. population suffers from sex addiction, and there are at least 9.5 million sex addicts in the U.S. These estimates are based on people who come in for treatment and doesn’t account for the many others who are struggling in silence. Due to embarrassment and shame, you probably don’t talk about your sexual struggles and don’t seek the support you need. Additionally, because this particular addiction is misunderstood and often confused with high libido, hyper sexuality, polyamory, and so forth, you don’t seek help because you don’t think there is necessarily a problem to get help for. It’s not until consequences become more apparent that you begin thinking about getting help, and even then, you may avoid treatment for a long while.
A number of factors contribute to an individual’s compulsive sexual behaviors. If you had a difficult childhood and coped with emotional and physical stress in unhealthy ways, this probably led to unhealthy coping patterns. If this coping involved sex (e.g., masturbating, watching porn, or having sex to alleviate emotional discomfort), using sex to cope likely became habitual. In other words, you became accustomed and conditioned to depend on sex to numb out or feel better. Over time and through repetition, this can evolve into the obsessive and compulsive patterns of addiction. Having an addiction doesn’t mean you are weak or broken. In general, it means you managed emotional pain the best way you knew how. Because this has been your “go to” way of coping for many years or sometimes your entire life, it seems nearly impossible to stop something that has become so normal and such a routine for you.
The good news, however, is that with the help of a compassionate therapist who is trained to treat sex addiction, you can break free from the destructive cycle of addiction and feel more fulfilled in your life and relationships.
Sex Addiction Counseling Can Help You Heal
Sex addicts experience very difficult and complex challenges. As a Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist in Glendora, Pasadena, and Long Beach, CA, I have treated the wide range of issues that sex addicts struggle with. I combine my extensive experience providing sex addiction treatment with a compassionate and direct approach. Whether you have recently discovered you may be struggling with addiction or have been struggling with this for decades, counseling can help you better understand and manage your compulsive sexual behaviors.
When you work with a therapist who truly understands the complexities of sex addiction, it can be easier to recognize and work through the underlying causes beneath your addiction. In our sessions, I provide a safe space for you to address your specific needs, concerns, and what you hope to get out of our work together. My style is mindful, collaborative, and direct. While I will meet you where you are at with compassion, empathy, and accountability, I will also challenge you. Additionally, I use a strength-based approach to help you recognize what has helped you remain resilient despite all the bullshit life has thrown your way.
Since sex addiction counseling often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, shame, and anger. On the other hand, therapy has also been shown to have benefits for people who go through it. Therapy often leads to greater awareness, insight, and a deeper understanding of what contributed to your unhealthy decisions and behaviors. This can then lead to healthier and more mindful decisions. I integrate specific behavioral techniques and “homework” assignments in order to help you use the skills and knowledge you learn in sessions and incorporate them where it matters most – into your daily life. When you are more attuned to your thoughts, feelings, and experiences that trigger your compulsive sexual behaviors, you can use the tools you learn in therapy to counteract the triggers and feel more in control of your life.
You may feel very discouraged right now, and I don’t blame you. It can be hard to imagine that life can look differently when this addiction has been haunting you for so long. With the guidance of a compassionate and experienced therapist, it is possible to live a more balanced and peaceful life. You can develop new insight and perspective about your life and learn tools than can help you recognize and heal from the problems that have been weighing you down. I see many of my clients heal and grow when they roll up their sleeves, do the work, and are committed to getting better.
But You May Still Have Questions About Sex Addiction Treatment…
"No One Knows About My Behaviors, so It Isn’t Hurting Anyone, Right?"
While it’s common to think your compulsive sexual behaviors are harmless and not hurting anyone, this is distorted thinking that needs a gentle yet firm reality check. If you are preoccupied with sexual thoughts and behaviors, feel controlled by your sexual desire, felt emotional distress from this, and then repeated these behaviors, this will inevitably affect you and your relationship with others, including partners, children, friends, coworkers, etc.
You can’t be truly present or be your authentic self with all the energy and focus that is involved with secret sexually compulsive behaviors. If no one knows right now, I can assure you that someone will find out sooner or later. It will all come out in the wash, and if it doesn’t, it will come out in the rinse. I have seen the devastating discovery happen too many times, and I don’t want it to happen that way for you. And even if no one else knows about your behaviors, you know. You’re hurting yourself and destroying your integrity. Isn’t that enough hurt?
"It's Too Embarrassing to Talk About This. What If I'm Judged?"
It is natural and expected to feel embarrassed talking about your sexual behaviors. Unfortunately, there is a stigma around addiction. When you add the word sex in front of that, the stigma and misunderstanding is even greater. And people often judge what they don’t understand. At the same time, seeking help for this and talking about it is necessary for healing and recovery. Addiction thrives in secrecy, so keeping this a secret will only keep you stuck and perpetuate the vicious cycle of addiction. Maybe some people will judge you, and that can be painful to accept. Because I specialize in treating sex addiction, I have heard it all and have compassion for what you’re struggling with. While it can be uncomfortable to seek help, you can’t afford to suffer in silence any longer.
"I'm Too Messed Up. Is There Hope for Me?"
There is absolutely hope for you! I won’t sugar coat this though – you have to be fully committed to recovery. You can’t half-ass this work. Healing and recovery from sex addiction involves a significant investment of time and energy. Restoring your physical, emotional, and sexual health may be difficult to imagine while you are in the midst of your pain, but you can recover, and I would be honored to support you through your healing journey.
You Can Have a More Fulfilling and Peaceful Life
If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss any questions you may have regarding sex addiction counseling in San Dimas, CA, I am here to help.