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Sex Addiction: Not Just a Man’s Issue


sexual addiction is, “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others.” Although, in some circles, the very idea of sexual addiction is debated, since it comes across as sex-negative or shaming, like any habitual or pattern- oriented behavior, if engaging in such behaviors makes one’s life unmanageable, it becomes problematic. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sex Addiction: Not Just a Man’s Issue

Sex Addiction Not Just a Mans Issue
sexual addiction is, engaging in persistent and
escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out
despite increasing negative consequences to self
and others. Although, in some circles, the very
idea of sexual addiction is debated, since it
comes across as sex-negative or shaming, like
any habitual or pattern- oriented behavior, if
engaging in such behaviors makes ones life
unmanageable, it becomes problematic. At Life
Works Recovery, through our training as sex
therapists and sex addiction therapistswe bring
extensive knowledge and understanding of sex
its place in healthy sexuality and courtship
and how it manifests in addiction as a compulsive
force as well as in committed passion and
intimate love as a healing and connecting
force. We have specialized training and
experience and we are Certified Sex Addiction
Therapists (CSAT) because we are passionate
about helping people heal. We understand what it
means to be there. We want to help you and your
loved ones heal. Its what we do. Sex addiction
has long been considered the purview of men. Why
do you think that is? Historically, men have
had more access to the outside world beyond the
home where they can meet more sexual partners.
When AA began there were mainly men in attendance
the same reason. However, I believe, what truly
allowed women more access to sexual partners was
the Internet. Even stay-at-home mothers could
meet sexual partners on line and hook up while
the kids where in school. My acting out
absolutely skyrocketed with the support of the
Internet. Do you know the stats on the condition
for women? I do not know the stats, but I do
know that the attendance of women in the 12-steps
for sex and/or love addiction has grown just in
the past seven years since Ive been attending
meetings. (Patrick Carnes research has shown
that for every three men who struggle with
sexual compulsivity, there is one woman who faces
this condition.) How can we bring it into the
light and not keep it hidden in the shadows so
that more women can get help? We can do what we
are doing now to bring light about this addiction
for women. I wrote my book, Memoirs of a Legal
Courtesan A Sex/Love Addicts Journey to
Sobriety and you are following up with this
interview. First, we need to share information
with women to see if they may have an intimacy
issue and second, direct them to where they can
find help. How did sex become a commodity and a
medium of exchange for you? I was curious about
making money with sex in 2003 after acquiring
nearly 30 lovers at any given time. The
prostitute stigma vanished when I realized how
much time I was spending with sexual partners,
mainly men. I had been starting up a relationship
coaching practice at this time and while on
dates and hook ups, I spent a good amount of time
coaching these guys. So, I began to justify that
earning income from my sexual liaisons made
perfect sense. But I did not have the courage to
make the leap into prostitution until the economy
tanked in 2008. I had just quit my job at the
law firm the summer of 2008 to begin my coaching
practice full time. However, when September of
2008 brought this country to our financial
knees, I felt no other recourse but to make money
on my knees. A woman without a sex/love
addiction would likely not have chosen such a
solution. Can you share what you think were the
seeds of your sex addiction? The seeds of my sex
addiction were abandonment and abuse at the hands
of my mother. She was cold, distant and abusive.
The most severe beatings I received were for
playing doctor as a young girl. Then, in my
early 20s, when I was raped twice, escaped rape
two more times and escaped sex trafficking in
Morocco, these sexual traumas fertilized the
young seeds and gave them what they needed to
Do you differentiate between sex addiction and
love addiction since they can co-exist in the
same person? I do differentiate between sex
addiction and love addiction and I have them
both. They are both intimacy disorders, yet
their mode of expression differs. Sex addicts act
out sexually while love addicts act out
romantically. But lets be clear, romance for a
love addict is a form of acting out sexually yet
it appears to be acting out for the sake of
love. We in the 12-step programs of sex and/or
love addiction put love in quotes for it is most
often not true love, it can be either the
neediness of co-dependency and/or a sexual
obsession that appears softer when couched as
love. Women tend to act out more frequently
with love addiction. That could be nature or
nurture. It is more acceptable for women to be
hopelessly in love but not acceptable to be
sexually addicted. Yet as sexual taboos are
softening for women we find more women acting out
sexually. For me, historically, when a love
relationship went off the rails, I often acted
out sexually for months or years until I found
another long-term relationship, which was usually
my love addiction, until that went sour and
the cycle continued. What was the whirlwind ride
they took you on? Suffice it to say that when
having over 30 lovers was not enough, getting
married to a fellow sex addict brought me to
orgies, swinger parties, BDSM conferences and
ultimately prostitution before I crashed and got
sober from my sex/love addiction. What was the
pivotal moment when you acknowledged your
co-occurring addictionsboth behavioral/process
and substance? My pivotal moment came when I
realized my husband, a sex addict, was my love
addiction and that after months of blaming him
for his sex addiction, I asked God in a moment
of despair, why I attracted this sex addict to my
life. I heard a voice deep inside me say,
Because you are that. Then I asked God,
Because I am that? Because I am a sex addict?
Next, like a movie in fast forward, I saw my life
from childhood until that moment with all my
romantic and sexual acting out and ran to the
bathroom to throw up. How I did not see this
Mack truck smashing me in the face all these
years, I did not know. I was blind indeed but
then I could finally see. My drug and alcohol use
only amped up while acting out sexually or
romantically. They were not my core addictions,
but they always lead me more easily to my core
sex and love addictions. Therefore, in order to
better support my sex/love sobriety, I took drugs
and alcohol off the table two years ago. I am
now nearly seven years sex/love sober.
I know that healing and forgiveness is a process.
Do you allow yourself to feel justifiable anger
at what you endured? Indeed, I have let myself
feel justifiably angry towards the abuse that
happened to me. However, anger comes more
readily to me. It is the grief that I fear. Anger
often masks this grief so when I am too long
stuck in anger I will sit down in prayer and
meditation and ask to feel the softness of my
heart again. When I feel this vulnerability is
when healing and forgiveness continue. What
does your sustained recovery look like? I pray
and meditate every morning and evening. I attend
12-step meetings regularly, keep in touch with
my sponsor and sponsor others. I see a therapist
and do trauma work in concentrated doses
periodically. I work as a recovery coach and
sober companion in the addiction recovery field,
which reminds me daily what could happen if I
relapse. Giving back to addicts, be they my
sponsees or clients, absolutely keeps me
sober. What are the temptations you face? The
temptation that I currently face is looking for a
wealthy man to date who will pull me out of my
financial hole. Therefore, I have not dated in
nearly three years during this financially
precarious time. Once I have paid off a good
chuck of the debts incurred while writing my
memoirs, I will feel less likely to act out in
this way and will allow myself to date
again. Please talk about your work as a Sober
Companion. I started working as a sober
companion in the spring of 2016 after trying,
unsuccessfully, a return to the corporate world
as a legal secretary. With a stellar resume
acknowledged by all the staffing agencies and
headhunters, I couldnt understand why no one was
getting back to me in those six weeks. Finally,
I got one of them on the phone that was only too
happy to point out why he could never find work
for me. Have you Googled yourself lately? At
his insistence I got onto my computer and did
just that. All the articles I wrote about my sex
addiction for the Feminine Collective popped up
and so I asked if that was the problem. I cant
get you a job with that on the Internet, he
said. It was then that I realized why the
12-step programs use the word ANONYMOUS at the
end of each of their fellowships. Addiction
carries enormous stigma and sex addiction carries
the most stigma. I was screwed, pun intended.
After a day of self pity, I turned to God with my
fears, God, how will I survive? No one will
hire me! Then I heard a voice within pose, Who
WOULD hire someone with an addiction? I kept
asking this question to myself as I lay in a
puddle of tears and remembered a friend who
suggested I become a sober companion years
earlier. She said you have to have an addiction
to work with addicts so that you understand the
beast from the inside out. Immediately I got on
the phone with her asking how to get into this
industry. After months of training I embarked
upon this new career. Though I do hourly coaching
with addicts, my mainstay is work as a sober
companion. I live with clients 24/7 for a couple
of weeks to a couple of months, most often when
they first get out of detox or rehab. I am an
alternative to sober living. Some clients have
children, parents, pets or work situations that
do not allow them to abide in a sober living
home. Therefore, I provide the sober living
environment for them. I work with my agent and
case manager on how best to create a supportive
sober environment. This often includes taking
the client to 12-step meetings each day or their
IOP (Intensive Out Patient treatment), taking
them to their psychiatrist and therapy
appointments, their doctor appointments, a
nutritionist, the gym, whatever best supports the
client. It is a team effort. The job is
extremely intensive yet very rewarding. I adore
watching my clients go from complete despair to
finally living a life they love. I get as much,
if not more, from working with my clients as
they get from me. I want people to understand
that getting sober from a sex/love addiction is
like getting sober from a food addiction. These
are not abstinence-based programs. These are
moderation-based programs also referred to as
harm-reduction based programs. We need to eat to
live. Similarly, unless we chose to become
priests, nuns or monks, we need to learn how to
navigate the waters of intimacy. In my opinion,
moderation is much more difficult than
abstinence. I explained this to a fellow in my
program. He didnt get why it was so difficult
to stay sober off sex/love addiction, so I
explained, Imagine you had to take 4 shots of
whiskey per week and not more. He replied, Oh
hell, Id jump right back into the bottle head
first! Welcome to my world! I replied, and he
got it. It is not impossible to stay sober with
a sex/love addiction yet our challenges, in my
opinion, are greater.