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  • SEXUAL ADDICTION / Out of Control Sexual Behaviors

    “Gay” behavior can be the result of “sexual addiction”. Clarifying what sexual addiction is—and isn’t—is important. This website and blog explores its defining signs and symptoms and looks at more updated and cutting edge ways of helping men with out-of-control sexual behaviors that manifest through same sex behaviors . But even a cured “sex addict” might still feel attracted to gay sex and sometimes even to some men. The goal is to distinguish behaviors from identity. 

    Sexual Addiction is the popular term today for those struggling with unwanted and problematic sexual behaviors. Clients come into therapy with many issues around sex. I try to help them manage their sexual issues through a lens of appreciating their sexuality as part of themselves. It is important to understand sexual health and not label everything as “sexual addiction” or “out-of-control sexual behavior.” For example, understood in the context of the gay and bisexual culture, when a gay or bisexual man first comes out he often experiences a period of hypersexuality—a delayed gay and bisexual adolescence, which is completely normal. It is inaccurate to label him a “sex addict”. Many straight men enjoy watching gay porn, and this speaks to the sexual fluidity of many straight men. Without a therapist understanding sexuality, it can be easy to pathologize such behavior.There are many reasons for men who exhibit sexual addiction/out-of-control sexual behaviors which include:

    • Normative Sexual Interests
    • Intimacy and Courtship Disorder
    • Sexual Abuse/Trauma
    • Coming out erotically with new sexual fantasies
    • High Sex Drive
    • Substance Abuse and Dependence
    • Intense Sexual Shame
    • Kinks and Fetishes

    Doug Braun Harvey and Michael Vigorito’s model, “Out-of-Control Sexual Behavior” is based on sexual principles and not behaviors as is the “Sex Addiction” model. These include:

    • Consent
    • Non-exploitive
    • Safer (ie protection, condoms,etc)
    • Honest
    • Shared values
    • Mutually pleasurable

    To learn more about their work read their book, “Out of Control Sexual Behaviors: Rethinking Sex Addiction"

    Eli Coleman, who is a leading authority on sexual compulsivity, has this to say about “out of control sexual behavior”:

    "Some people are really compulsively driven to seek sex frequently, anonymously," says Eli Coleman, director of the Human Sexuality program at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “They are often driven by the need to reduce anxiety and regulate their mood, to feel good temporarily,” Coleman says. "But oftentimes the behavior only gives short-term relief, and because of its furtive nature, they feel guilty and shameful and [tell themselves] they're not going to do it ever again, and then they're back out there."

     

    Resources:

    Braun-Harvey, D., & Vigorito, M. (2015).Treating out of control sexual behavior: Rethinking sex addiction. New York, NY: Springer.