The core of sexual addiction treatment at Twin Rivers is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) during which the client can learn the triggers that ignite sexual impulses. These triggers can include such things as boredom or loneliness which can drive the sex addict to engage in sexual activity and feel temporarily connected which, like most addictions is a short-lived experience promoting the desire or need to repeat the behaviour time and time again.
Through individual and group therapy, a client with sexual addiction can start to learn about their ‘destructive patterns’ and become more aware of how their thinking and behaviour negatively impacts themselves and those around them. Medication may play a role in a client’s recovery process especially if the client suffers from depression or anxiety for example which may also trigger sexual behaviour.
Education surrounding the dangers of unprotected sex may also be useful for the client as well as taking a realistic look at how the addiction is affecting work and finances. An integral part of Twin Rivers weekly programme is exercise, which is extremely important for all clients with addiction and mental health disorders.
Once the ritualistic pattern of thinking and behaviour is exposed then the client can learn strategies and techniques that will assist in creating thinking and behaviour patterns that are more nurturing which will also assist in addressing any shame and guilt the client may be struggling with.
Most sex addicts have experienced childhood trauma including sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Attachment related trauma is common whereby the child feels rejected and insecure leading to relationship difficulties in later life. All too often a parent is preoccupied with their own needs or addiction leaving a child feeling neglected and abandoned! This is not always intentional by the parent as they are maybe unaware of their selfish behaviour as a result of their own unresolved childhood issues.
What is Sexual Addiction?
Sexual Addiction is widely misunderstood and can be misdiagnosed! The staff at Twin Rivers appreciates that a genuine ‘pure’ sex addiction is far from glamorous and is as destructive and as ‘dark’ as any other addiction. At times, cocaine addicts believe themselves to be ‘sex addicts’ but actually they are cocaine addicts who are heavily stimulated and so their desire to act out sexually rises to uncontrollable levels.
Sexual Addiction is characterized by the regular compulsion to act out sexually at any cost. Having sex with sex workers (prostitutes) is common, for example creating social and relationship problems in all other areas of the addicts life. The compulsion can be as strong as the ‘need’ for alcohol or drugs. Sex addicts can often find it difficult to hold down a job due to preoccupation with sex, taking time off from work in order to fulfil sexual needs! Sex Addiction is also about voyeurism, masturbation, online sexually activity, inappropriate public displays and prostitution.
Sexual Addiction Usually Takes a Predictable Course
- Preoccupation – regular fantasies about sexual antics and the next opportunity to act out sexually
- Ritualization – the favoured sexual activity is often repetitive creating anxiety, tiredness and stress
- Compulsion – despite continued negative consequences the drive to continue remains
- Despair – guilt, shame and possibly self-hate because of their inability to take control of their behaviour