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    Old 03-05-2003, 08:35 AM   #1
    StevePA
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    Sex Addiction

    Sex addiction is very real. I have struggled with the addiction for many years, since I was a teen. I responded to another posting, and as I wrote I thought maybe a new thread with the topic posted might be helpful to others.

    As I mentioned, sex addition is real and it will not get better until you get help. One of the things that fuels the addiction is the secrecy of the addition. I am a sex addict, and I would rather have told someone I was a heroin addict than this. And so you keep your secret and it gets worse and worse, until you either get caught in some horrible embarrassing situation, get arrested for some misdemeanor, or worse, or you get some sexually transmitted disease. Trust me, it only gets worse and you can not, no matter how much you promise yourself, you can not stop on your own. You need to do two things, to start with: (1) get a councilor that specializes in sex addition. Not all councilors know about it, so do not waist your time and money with someone who has no expertise in the area. In your first session with your councilor, tell him or her absolutely everything, no matter how embarrassing. First, he has already heard it before, so he will not be shocked. Second, that is the first step, admit to yourself and God, that you are helpless and then confess your situation to someone else. It will not cure you in and of itself, but you will not believe how you will feel. Its like a new start. You still have a long road, but it is a start. (2) get in a group. There is SA (Sex addicts anonymous) or SLAA (sex and love addicts anonymous). I am in SLAA, and I will be going to meetings for the rest of my life. By the way, there are both men and women, heterosexual and homosexuals in the group. Its all the same. And if you are heterosexual, but act out, as they call it, in some homosexual type of activity or look at homosexual porn, that does not necessarily mean you are gay or Bi, or lesbian. It is just more of the addiction. It is a lot like drugs and alcohol in that, what gets you off in the beginning, later becomes ordinary and you keep looking for something more….hard core, I guess I would call it. Sex addition can be having relations with many people, or it can be some form of solitary activity such as porn, voyeurism, etc. It can also lead to some very illegal and harmful crimes, so do not ignore this or try to go it alone. One of the problems with the addiction, is that it already makes you spend way to much time alone. Finally, get Patrick Carnes’ book “Out of the Shadows” It is a very good overview and if you have the problem, you will think the book was written just for you.

    I also struggle with ADHD and depression. I took Serzone for a while and it helped the depression, but the sexual side effects included difficulty in reaching an orgasm. Since then, I spoke to my Dr. and he prescribed Wellbutrin, which does not have the same sexual side effects. The problem is that as I have been reading more on depression, Wellbutrin actually may increase sexual drive, and as such may be contributing to my addition. In general, I AM A BIG MESS!

    Well, I hope some of this is helpful, and would appreciate hearing from others.


    [This message has been edited by StevePA (edited 03-14-2003).]

     
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    Old 03-13-2003, 05:33 PM   #2
    GinaLee
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    No doubt in my mind that I can be as dumb as a doorknob but if I could have a choice in "druther's" I'd pick a sexual addiction over alcohol or drugs any day! Please don't get me wrong, I am not mocking your informative post...not at all. I just wish that I had your problem and not mine. At least (I assume) you don't wake up with a hangover from a great night in the sack!
    I realize the implications of being married and addicted to sex...and the potential for STD's; but those things are so easily overcome with proper protection. Sex can be some pretty cool stuff! Weirdly enug (and in my ongoing strangability)... I won't have sex if I'm drunk; I have to be sober as I don't want to regret my actions. Sadly, I get drunk more than I engage in sex and trust me; I have my share of offers!
    Maybe being female has something to do with it, I don't know. Men sleeping "around" are studs... Women sleeping around are sluts. I prefer the non-**** status I guess.
    In any case Steve, I honestly wish you well and success with your ongoing battle. Obviously, it IS a condition for quite a few people and I would not for a moment minimize the conflict you might be going through. Good Luck... can I have your number? (kidding!!!)

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    Old 03-14-2003, 08:22 AM   #3
    StevePA
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    Gina:

    Thanks for your reply. I also would never minimize the pain involved with drug and alcohol addiction. I am well aware of the difficulty that those addictions cause for the suffer and those around them. You are in my prayers. But the thing about sex addiction, is that it is really very similar in the way it works in your mind. The drug or alcohol is a mind altering substance, just as sex or pornography is, and it seems to have the same pull. How often has someone who is not a drug addict thought, why doesn’t that crack addict just stop smoking crack. Can’t he see it is destroying his life. Well, the sex addition is the same way. There is the same addictive cycle. The sex addict makes a promise to himself – I will not do this any more, it is destroying my life. And then the next hour, or the next day, he is pulled, uncontrollably to act out again. Then, he feels so guilty and ashamed, that in order to make himself feel better, he acts out again, followed by more shame…its just feeds off of itself. And then you wonder, do I act out because of the shame I feel, or do I feel shame, because I act out. The reality is that the addiction stems from some serious deficiency of one sort or another, probably from early childhood.

    I guess what I meant when I said I would rather tell some one I was a drug addict or alcoholic is that the public stigma about sex addiction is different than other addictions. If you are an alcoholic, well, that’s not good, but the public understands it on some level. If you are a sex addict, then, people think, well this guy is just a sick pervert.

    But again, I would never minimize the struggle of any other addition…it’s the same with overeating, gambling, shopping…why can’t I stop this behavior?

    Thanks for your contribution. So, when can we get together for a drink? (Just kidding…or am I?)

    Steve


    [This message has been edited by StevePA (edited 03-14-2003).]

     
    Old 03-14-2003, 08:45 AM   #4
    GinaLee
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    Oh Steve! You sweet charmer you!
    Shall I assume you are a male ****? Geez... you certainly can't feel alone in that one. What is it about this that bothers you so much? Are you married? In a serious relationship and cheating? Are you promising women things that you know aren't true? Are you just trying to find the woman of your dreams that wants to go at it as much as you do? Hey, they do exist! And they don't have to be labeled nympho's in the process. Some women just love the man they are with so much that sex is the best way to express their love... and they live happily ever after.
    What is the thing about your sexual addiction that is problematic for you? I know my answers to that question but I just don't understand why sex is being made out as your drug of choice. I really want to understand why you feel this way? I really do. Please reply and explain this... you have a guilt issue going on and I'd like to know what you are guilty of.
    As for your question to me... sure! We'll meet at the same place we did last week! okie doke? (smile)

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    Old 03-14-2003, 09:02 AM   #5
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    Quoting your post to the Bouncer's post:

    Hey knock yourself out, maybe it’s not a problem for you, or maybe you just haven’t realized what your problem is yet. But no one can tell you, you will have to figure it out by yourself. But I would suggest that you may not want to make light of it. If you are not a sex addict, then you have no idea of the pain involved and how sex addiction can destroy your life, just like drugs and alcohol. Or maybe you are a sex addict, and you just have not figured it out yet. Maybe you would want to pick up a book by Patrick Crans called “Out of the Shadows” if you think you may have a problem. Or maybe you were just trying to be funny. Either way, you are in my prayers, and I should lighten up a bit.
    Steve <<<

    Now THAT is something to respect. I decided not to reply on his post because I do feel he is making light of this addiction and there is no point in giving him more attention than he deserves. I'll have to look into that book that you recommended... but maybe you can give me just the short version?


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    Old 03-14-2003, 09:18 AM   #6
    StevePA
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    Gina:

    You really do not understand, and I would not expect you to, any more than I can understand what makes an alcoholic drink day after day when he or she knows it is destroying his or her life.

    Sex addition, is compulsive, unhealthy, sexual activity. It is not merely a health sex drive. One of the things I struggle with is pornography. When I was in the addiction, (not that I do not slip now) I would spend hours on line every day looking at porn, searching the net. I came close to getting fired from my job, I am divorced and remarried, and separated from my current wife. I have lost thousands of hours of time in my life that I will never get back. I really have no idea what love is, sex to me is not romantic or intimate, it is just a way for me to escape my life and my feelings. Women are not people I have had loving sharing relationships with, they are simply another way to act out and try to medicate myself. I want to be in love with someone, I want to have intimacy, but I am not sure I know how. And I have resigned myself to the reality that I may have to be alone.

    The thing is, if you are not a sex addict, you really probably would not be able to understand this. If you were a sex addict, you would read this and say, “Steve, I know exactly what you are saying…,” just like you do when you write back and forth with another alcoholic on this message board. You kinda have to be there. I have had my wife read several books on sex addiction, to try and help her understand, and at some lever, she has some knowledge of the mechanics of the addiction, but here questions are the same as your, she just doe not understand how this could be a problem. I guess you will just have to trust me, it is an addiction, there is nothing nice or funny about it, and it saps the life out of the addict.

    Love (what ever that is),

    Steve

     
    Old 03-14-2003, 09:39 AM   #7
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    Sweet Steve, I think I do understand. I understand in the same way that I don't understand addiction to pills... does that make sense?

    Just because I don't suffer the same affliction as you doesn't mean your affliction doesn't exist! Of course it exists and you are feeling destroyed by it. That in itself is so understandable.

    Here I go making light of it again: but gosh... come home to mama!!! There's a lot of us that would feed the daylights out of your addiction. Even to the point of excluding love and romance. I restrict myself from such things as I know it is all alcohol-induced.

    I know your heart is breaking due to your inability to love. The only way you can love anyone is to love yourself first. I know... how clche is that? It is, nonetheless, so true.

    I love you too Steve... You've made a drunken friend... now don't you feel special???

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    Old 03-14-2003, 09:43 AM   #8
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    Gina, you are an angel. Thank you for your kind words.

     
    Old 03-14-2003, 09:49 AM   #9
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    Anytime Sir. Please keep talking to us... you provide an understanding for more people than you probably realize. Look at how many have read these messages between us versus the posts made... Some are just curious...but others may not feel able to admit such things about themselves... so they vicariously receive the support via your experience.

    Stick around. Okay?

    By the way... I have a natural affection for the name Steve... my youngest is named Steven.

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    Old 03-14-2003, 09:58 AM   #10
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    Steve Dahlin...

    I reread your original post and noticed the SA reference.

    SA and AA work off the same 12-step program. AA just didn't do it for me no matter how hard I tried. I did give it a chance... 5 years worth... I went to meetings sober as I could be...and even went a time or two after downing one or two.

    It just wasn't the way for me to avoid my death sentence. How is it helping you via the 12 steps?

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    Old 03-14-2003, 10:07 AM   #11
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    I go to SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) meeting once a week, and I go to an individual counselor once a week. I really think you need both. The group is good to talk to others with the same addiction and support each other. At my counseling, we try to get at the heart of the matter. It has helped me. I am sure I will be going to meetings for the rest of my life. I wish you would try to get back to AA. Also, isn’t there a medication you can take that will make you sick if you drink. If there is, you should take it. Your life is worth saving.

     
    Old 03-14-2003, 10:29 AM   #12
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    I can't help but dance to a different beat than others. I suppose it's a curse? AA just didn't pull it together for me. Talking constantly about my drinking habits and then listening to the others that made me look like an amateur only allowed me to fool myself into thinking that I didn't really have a problem. I have this thing about no matter how bad my problems are... there is always someone that can top me and thereby humble me.
    I couldn't differentiate and I couldn't follow the program... I think I got as far as the 5th step...maybe only the 4th... I really can't remember now... that was nearly 8-9 years ago.
    I do have a couple of books on order coming soon to a mailbox near me! I am hoping that these books will help me find a different path for recovery. I am trying Steve.. I hate what I've become just as much as you hate what controls you. There really isn't a magic bullet.
    I have tried using Antabuse (the drug that will pretty much end your life if you drink on it...and not run to the nearest emergency room) It's not enough to take that pill and go through a process of getting clean... at least it wasn't for me. I have tried Naltrexone that is supposed to relieve the craving... didn't work.
    I did go to counseling...several times and when I failed; I would shut down and stop my sessions out of shame.
    I'm not giving up... I have two precious souls that I so want to see graduate from high school... have a life..get married... have kids... etc. I don't want to miss these special benchmarks in their lives. I also don't want to be unavailable to them emotionally throughout their growing up years and into adulthood. Losing a parent cannot be an "oh well" response... I've not lost my parents. They are in their latter 60's and the thought of losing them even at my age now is more than I think I could take. I haven't even seen my father since 1991 and the last time I talked to him was in 1994. His choice.. not mine... he too is an alcoholic. If I were to get notice of his death; I know I would not take it too well even with our "separation"...
    I don't want to put my children through an early death. The only thing worse... is the death of your own child.

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    [This message has been edited by GinaLee (edited 03-14-2003).]
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    Old 03-14-2003, 10:49 AM   #13
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    Hey Steve. Have you looked into the biochemical aspect of your addiction? Particularly if dealing with ADHD and depression, there is a lot of neurotransmitter stuff going on. Some research points to insufficient amounts of certain brain chemicals (dopamine, norenepherine, serotonin etc) as being huge in the formation of addictions and compulsions. For example, depression is often due to low levels of serotonin so a sufferer may find that activities or foods (or chemicals) that increase serotonin levels make them feel better. My SO for example is depressed, alcoholic pot head porn junky. He is in a twelve step program for the pot and booze and is finally taking his SSRI like he should be. He added Omega 3 fatty fish oil to the mix and guess what? He doesn't surf porn anymore. Apparently his brain chemistry is evening out. My son has ADHD and we tried Omega 3 with him and it took care of his anxiety etc. I am sure it is a huge struggle and I can completely understand about what you said about being a heroin addict as opposed to a sex addict... I am a copulsive eater and every one figures that I am just a pig. However, the twelve step program is sound in principal and if it helps you, than good for you!!

     
    Old 03-16-2003, 12:25 PM   #14
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    I remember, when I learned about the book "Out Of The Shadows," by Patrick Carns, probably one of the most definitive works on the subject of sex addition (one of many I have read). The first thing I thought was, “oh my God, there is a name for what I have.” Anyone who is a sex addict, that reads that book, or any reasonably well researched book on the subject, will immediately find strength in just knowing, that after all these years, I am not the only person on the planet that has agonized over this.

    That was the spirit in which I started this topic. I saw several other people had written in with questions on the issue and figured there may be some other people who still were not aware what they were dealing with that might read my message and for the first time, find out that there is a name for what they are struggling with, and there were things they could do to get help. I most certainly did not start the topic to debate even one aspect of the addiction, particularly with someone who has no idea, no personal experience with the addiction. I am not a drug addict, and so, if someone tries to tell me what it is like to be a drug addict, while a may be able to try and imagine what it is like, I really can not know. I do not suffer with acne so I do not know the pain involved with that. I am also not an assh0le, so I can never know the difficulty openseason struggles with on a daily basis. I have read some of his postings, and it is rare that he or she has anything positive to add about anything. He just adds these sanctimonious little quips to someone else’s well intentioned quest for help.

    I am a sex addict. I am in individual therapy, group therapy, I read about it, pray about it, share with other addicts about it, and struggle with it every day. However, I am not what you might picture in your mind when you think of a sex addict. I have a fairly high-level professional job, a law degree, licensed to practice in several states, I go to church, I have a sister that loves me, good friends, and a great dog (Chloe – adopted greyhound) who really seems to understand m.

    So fear not, I am not hurt or offended by openseason’s continued efforts to try to feel valuable or superior. Life goes on, and I continue to work my recovery. I wonder, is there a 12 step group for assh0les Anonymous? The first thing you have to do is admit you are an assh0le and that you are powerless over it. Just a though.

    Well now, I feel better, don’t you!

    Love Steve


    [This message has been edited by StevePA (edited 03-17-2003).]

     
    Old 03-16-2003, 12:31 PM   #15
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    Hey! I feel great! Glad you do too! People have a tendency to mock or criticize what they cannot understand or disagree with. I can't for the life of me understand a problem such as yours but I certainly respect that you have that problem and that you are doing all that you can to control that problem. You done good son.

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