Wednesday, 24 August 2016 14:27

The Quiet Desperation of Sex Addiction

The ways in which we teach men to “be real men” in our society limits their ability to openly discuss their sexuality and the range of complicated feelings and experiences they have had related to their sexuality. As a consequence, they often carry the burdens of shame, painful memories of unwanted or confusing sexual experiences, overwhelming or conflicted emotions. This can often lead to men seeking relief through compulsive or unhealthy sexual behaviors, drugs, alcohol, and more.

A man in recovery from sex and drug addiction wrote the following essay for The Meadows Alumni newsletter more than 10 years ago, but the experiences he describes are still all too common among men today…

One Man’s Struggle with Sex Addiction

I was scared. I was lonely. I was a little boy. My father was a college professor. My mother was college educated. I have two younger brothers and a younger sister. We had plenty of food and clothes. We got birthday presents. Santa Claus came to see us. We were a very distant family, like ships passing in the night. We rarely hugged. We rarely expressed emotion. We rarely talked about what was going with us as individuals or as a family. I was scared. I was lonely.

I remember that, when I reached puberty, a neighbor boy showed me masturbation. I masturbated a lot. Now I wasn't so scared, and I wasn't so lonely. I found a magazine. It was just an ordinary magazine with a picture of a woman in a bikini. It became my first pornography. I wasn't so scared, and I wasn't so lonely. When I was a sophomore in high school, I started drinking and, from the beginning, I drank alcoholically. I wasn't so scared. I wasn't so lonely.

I masturbated a lot, and I found Playboy, Penthouse, and other porn magazines and books. I drank a lot. I started dating. I got into relationships. I wanted the women to make me happy. I looked at the women the way I looked at the women in the porn - as objects. I would fantasize and lust about the women I was dating in the same way I did the women in the porn magazines and books. After awhile I could run the porn images in my head and I no longer had to have the porn magazines and books. I drank a lot. I was scared. I was lonely.

I went to treatment for my alcoholism. When the staff discovered that I did cocaine and marijuana, they said I was a drug addict. I stopped drinking alcohol, but for the next two years, I continued to use cocaine and marijuana. I liked doing cocaine and marijuana with sex. It wasn't until many years later that I realized that it was my sex addiction that kept me in my drug addiction for another two years. I was scared. I was lonely.

With no awareness of my sexual addiction, I got into recovery for my drug addiction. I was still using sex-porn, lusting, looking at women as objects, masturbating lustfully. I was scared. I was lonely.

When I went to treatment for my sexual addiction, I began to get into recovery. I began to learn something about intimacy with myself and other people, not just women - men and women. I began to like myself and to discover who I was - my values, my interests. I began to connect with people on a more intimate level. I wasn't so scared. I wasn't so lonely.

Men’s Sexual Recovery Workshop

Sexually compulsive people are caught up in sexual addiction: thoughts and behaviors, pornography, lusting, leering, fantasizing, anonymous sex, one-night stands, prostitution, affairs, simultaneous relationships, adult bookstores, etc. They are scared. They are lonely. They are in pain. They feel guilt. They feel shame. They are living lives of quiet desperation - empty on the inside, while on the outside, they may have all the trappings of success.

When appropriately managed, sexual drive can be a positive and productive life force. It compels us to form relationships that inspire us to live better lives. In the Men’s Sexual Recovery Workshop this inner drive is explored with compassion, humor, and a zest for life. Participants leave the workshop with the ability to form relationships in which sex can be enjoyable, fulfilling, and deeply meaningful again.

The workshop is well-suited for men who want to jump-start their recovery process, prevent relapse, or acquire more tools and resources to support their continuing recovery. Our intake specialists would be happy to answers any questions you may have about the workshop or The Meadows sex addiction treatment programs. Give us a call anytime at 800-244-4949.

Contact The Rio Retreat Center

Intensive Workshops • Facilitating Healing • Empowering Emotional Growth

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