Individuals with sexual addiction engage in sexual acting out behaviors that often go against their value system. Most wish they could have a healthy relationship; however, due to many having a significant history of trauma (neglect, sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse), they often have a tremendous amount of shame, fear of being vulnerable, and an inability to self-regulate difficult emotions. As a result, they are unable to be vulnerable, honest, and share intimacy with their spouse. Sex becomes a way to alleviate emotional pain and feel validated, even if short-lived and superficial.
At Namasté Center for Healing, our goal is to teach both men and women the necessary skills for healing their trauma, and learn how to have healthy sexuality, healthy intimacy and lasting relationships.
Oftentimes, when men and women first enter treatment for sex addition, they express concern that they will never be able to have sex again, specifically healthy sex. Most don't know what healthy sex is.
The goal of sex addiction treatment is to help individuals stop destructive sexual acting out behavior and learn healthy intimacy including healthy sex in a committed relationship. While learning new neuro-pathways for recovery and healthy sex takes time, we reassure all of our clients that it is possible. We begin by having all of our clients take two on-line assessments: the Sexual Dependency inventory-4 (SDI-4), and the Post Traumatic Stress Inventory-Revised (PTSI-R).
These assessments drive our treatment planning process. We then have our clients sign a sobriety contract for 90 days. This allows individuals to experience withdrawal as well as assists us to begin to explore the deeper, hidden desires and issues underneath the addiction. After all, sex addiction is NOT about sex.
In order to explore what healthy sex is, we first explore what healthy sex is NOT:
- It is NOT exploitive
- It is NOT dishonest
- It is NOT secretive
- It has no victims
- It is NOT manipulative
- It is NOT child molestation
- It is NOT rape
- It is NOT incest
Through various discussions, assignments, and processes, we also explore what healthy sex IS:
- Healthy sex IS honest
- It IS consensual (both parties agree to it)
- There IS mutual enjoyment and equality in making decisions about sexual behavior
- It IS safe; both parties feel safe to explore sexually
- It IS based on trust
- There is vulnerability by both parties
We also teach our clients the four core values of sexual recovery. They are essential for having healthy sex in one's relationship, especially since non-sexual behavior always leads to sexual behavior. The four core values include: Honesty which creates Vulnerability; Vulnerability which creates Intimacy; Intimacy which creates Nurturance (The ability to ask for what you need as well as nurture your loved ones); and Nurturance which creates Intimacy (non-sexual and sexual connection).
Our clients often practice these new values in non-sexual ways in our gender specific groups. We encourage them to also apply them with their partners outside of therapy. In our gender-specific Recovery Zone groups and once clients have significant recovery time (typically 1-2 years), we incorporate Alexandria Katehakis's book Erotic Intelligence as a guide for reintegrating intimacy as well as healthy sex into their relationship. If introduced too soon, we have learned that clients risk feeding their addiction instead of recovery behavior. Timing is key.
If you or someone you know has a sexual addiction, there is hope. Candice and her team of experts have trained with the pioneer of sex addiction treatment, Dr. Patrick Carnes and follow his task-based approach. Our goal is to help individuals and their partners achieve lasting recovery.