6 TYPES OF SEX ADDICTS
Sex and addiction expert, Dr. Doug Weiss, developed a paradigm that recognizes that not all addicts are alike. He categorized sexual addiction into 6 subtypes:
- THE BIOLOGICAL ADDICT – This addict has created a biological basis for their addiction by reinforcing the neuro-pathways between the pleasure centers in the brain and object relational sex (pornography, masturbation, fantasy or disconnected sex with people).
- THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ADDICT – The research related to sexual addiction shows that the larger population of sex addicts have suffered come form of abuse, abandonment, or neglect as children. Simply put, they self-medicate through sexual acts to soothe their aching soul.
- THE SPIRITUAL-BASED ADDICT – This addict is looking for a spiritual connection in all the wrong places, including sex. However, they find it doesn’t satisfy the need for a spiritual connection.
- THE TRAUMA BASED ADDICT – This addict has experienced sexual trauma(s) as a child or adolescent. This trauma becomes the major repetitive behavior in his sexual addiction. Often times the trauma becomes the addict’s predominant fantasy, porn selection and re-enactment in his addiction. Trauma work will need to be a part of the treatment plan for this addict to heal.
- THE SEXUAL/EMOTIONAL/INTIMACY ANOREXIC – Many addicts who have been trying to stay sober, but keep having regular relapses are often unidentified intimacy anorexics as well. If you have been sober for at least a year from sexual acting out, but your partner wants to leave you now because “nothing’s changed,” you might also be an anorexic.
- THE SEX ADDICT WITH MOOD DISORDERS – Some addicts have an underlying mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety, which they self-medicate through sexual release. By using this sexual response repeatedly over time, he then creates a sexual addiction by reinforcing the neuropathways in the brain, much like the Biological Addict Where Do I Start?
5 COMMANDMENTS OF RECOVERY
This is where we start your recovery:
- Pray in the morning.
- Read recovery material every day.
- Attend weekly group meetings.
- Call group members.
- Pray in the evening.
THE 3 DAILIES
Part of your recovery will involve initiating and participating in the ”3 Dailies":
- Share two appreciations/praises with your spouse.
- Share two feelings with your spouse.
- Pray aloud with your spouse.
SHOULD I PURSUE INDIVIDUAL THERAPY?
For many addicts, participation in individual therapy is needed to heal from past abuses and neglects, and to challenge the distorted thinking and relational behaviors that objectify others, particularly women, and specifically one’s wife. Only an individual therapist trained in the dynamics of sexual addiction and intimacy anorexia can effectively walk with you through this part of your healing journey.
As a therapist for 20 years, I found that I was significantly more effective in helping clients heal after I completed my study and certification to become a Sexual Recovery Therapist. I strongly urge you to find such a therapist who is properly credentialed in that area. As a therapist invested in healing lives and marriages, I have come to accept the limitations of my practice.
With experience, I have come to see the wisdom in sex and addiction therapist Dr. Doug Weiss’ statement: It Takes a Man to Make a Man.” Men hear the same counsel very differently from a woman than they do from a man. I am not a man, never have been, nor ever will be. There are ways men think and experience the world which will likely always be foreign to me.
A man needs another man to understand him, to hold him accountable and to challenge him to mature into a full manhood. If you are not being stretched or challenged, you are likely living for yourself and not for your God, your wife, or your marriage.
For this reason, I do not work individually with male sex addicts, but refer them to my very competent male colleagues. Also, in my experience as a couples and sex therapist, I find that some couples will do better with a male therapist, such as if the male addict is unable or unwilling to accept influence from a woman. Often the degree to which he objectifies women in general is a determining factor as to whether I can be useful to the couple or whether I will refer the couple to a male colleague.
IS COUPLES AND MARRIAGE THERAPY NECESSARY?
The marriage is its own entity and needs its own healing, separate from individual healing. Learning to interact with your spouse in new ways on all levels of intimacy is vital to the recovery of your marriage. Old patterns will need to be replaced with new, more effective patterns. As the one who betrayed your spouse, ironically, you also hold great power to heal her wounds. Learning to do so in a sensitive, effective way will be necessary for the recovery of the marriage.
We know from experts in recovering from marital betrayals that until the betrayal is dealt with, repaired, and the healing process begins, “fixing” the marriage is impossible. One of the behaviors I’ve observed in addicts is to try to “equalize” problems to “even the playing field.” This tactic allows to addict to avoid taking full responsibility for the damage done by one’s actions. Such blaming is extremely unwise, sets the relationship back, invites defensiveness, and halts progression toward healing. The antidote to defensiveness is to take ownership for your own part in the problem, openly and fully.
If you are not yet ready for private theray or feel it may not be appropriate for your situation, but would like to improve your relationship with your signficant other, I recommend my couples weekend workshop: The Art and Science of Love, created by the Gottman Institute.