Therapy for Problematic Sexual Behaviour.
Undoubtedly the development of the internet, has facilitated sex becoming more readily available and easily accessible to all. If we have a particular type of sexual interest we enjoy, we can find others who share our interest, with anonymity and without the need for a social interaction in the conventional way.
While many people enjoy an active sex life, or a range of sexual interests this does not make them sexually compulsive. Sexually compulsive behaviour can also not be assumed when linked with self imposed morality, or the morality of others.
If you sexual behaviour feels out of control, is unsafe, dishonest or stops being pleasurable, it might suggest a problem. At this point therapy can be very supportive in helping you make the changes that you desire.
Sexually compulsive behaviour may be associated with risk-taking behaviours, which could be putting your emotional and physical health at risk.
Examples of the issues I work with include;
Compulsive masturbation (self-stimulation)
Multiple affairs (extra-marital affairs)
Sexual rule breaking
Problematic use of the internet
Phone or computer sex (cybersex)
Sex work or use of sex workers
Obsessive dating through personal ads
Voyeurism (watching others) and/or stalking
How can therapy help?
The approach to this work is educative as well as therapeutic.
I provide a safe and non-threatening environment providing support and understanding, rather than condemnation and vilification. Being able to talk freely, will not only brings relief, but also allow new perspectives to be found, that will reduce shame.
Challenging the deep-rooted reasons for shame and self loathing that follow problematic sexual activity is a priority before the behaviour can be treated. Shame drives the unconscious anxiety that in turn, drives the addiction. Its known as the addiction cycle.
A focus of the work will be to develop trust in relationships as an alternative means of support when experiencing difficult feelings such as guilt, shame or low self esteem. My approach is open and positive, promoting sexual health, not a prescription for right or wrong.
There is often a limiting set of beliefs that have grown with the addiction. Part of the work will be to understand the role of those beliefs in maintaining the behaviour.
Therapy for couples
For couples, it is often easier for a therapist to ask the questions that are difficult for you to ask each other. This is especially true in relation to issues of trust, anger and problems of a sexual nature. My role is to support understanding ,rather than to establish blame. The work may include establishing new boundaries that work for both partners.