SEX ADDICTION COUNSELING

 

Pasadena | Ventura

What is Sex Addiction?

 

Sex addiction is a pattern of compulsive sexual fantasy and behaviors that wreaks havoc on a person’s life. No matter how the addiction began, clients report an ever-increasing preoccupation with pornography, online affairs, strip clubs, prostitutes, massage parlors, unsafe sex, adult bookstores, and other sexually compulsive behaviors.

 

Sex addiction escalates to the point where fantasizing, pursuing, and engaging in these behaviors takes over one’s life, frequently resulting in relationship problems, legal woes, trouble at work or in school, financial difficulties, decline in physical and/or emotional health, and more.

 

Even though sexual addiction is not in the current DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, which psychotherapists use to diagnose mental health disorders), the term is now commonplace and many clients self-identify as sex addicts.

 

What Does Sex Addiction Look Like?

 

If you think you might be a sex addict, chances are you have struggled with one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Repeated and impulsive use of pornography
  • Sexting and cybersex activities (e.g., compulsive webcam sex, sexualized chat)
  • Anonymous or casual sex, often facilitated by apps or hookup websites
  • Unprotected sex
  • Numerous affairs or a pattern of one-night stands or brief “serial” relationships, usually facilitated by apps or dating websites
  • Prostitution or use of sensual massage
  • Frequenting strip clubs, adult bookstores, and other environments focused on sex, including online environments (e.g., virtual reality games and chat sites)
  • Engaging in prostitution (hiring or providing)
  • Pursuing sexual encounters without considering the consequences
  • Leading a “double life,” keeping your sexual behaviors secret

 

Sex Addiction & Shame

 

Sex addicts often feel intense shame about their compulsive sexual fantasies and behaviors, so much so that they frequently try to limit them or eliminate them completely.

 

They’ll tell themselves, “This is the last time that I will . . .” but in their inability to control their behaviors (loss of control is characteristic of all addictions), they ultimately return to the same destructive sexual patterns, deepening their despair and shame.

 

How Sex Addiction Intensifies

 

Sometimes the addiction escalates so that the addict is sexual in ways that violate their values and beliefs (e.g., safe sex, relational or marital fidelity, not harming others, and spiritual values).

 

Such breaches of the addict’s values only exacerbate his or her shame and leading a double life, keeping their sexual fantasies and behaviors hidden from loved ones and friends. As the addiction intensifies and the addict spends more and more time fantasizing about, seeking, and engaging in the next sexual encounter, managing the two lives becomes increasingly untenable and beyond the addict’s control.

 

Hope Is Possible

 

If you resonate with this, you are not alone. If you’re ready to change your life, if you’ve had enough of the deadening shame, the self-loathing, arrests, legal and financial troubles, spiritual emptiness, depression, anxiety, and shattered relationships, a way forward is possible. I specialize in helping clients recover from sex addiction and in supporting their betrayed partners. If you or a loved one are struggling with sex addiction in some way and are ready to re-engineer your life, I can help you.

 

Using focused, proven tools in a confidential environment, I can walk with you step by step toward your healing and recovery. I will collaborate with you in building the life that you want and help you restore balance to your life and trust in your relationships with your loved ones. Hope is possible when we’re not alone.

 

The Answer Is Connection

 

Sex addiction often has its roots in unresolved pain resulting from emotional, physical, or sexual trauma. The pain is worsened by their shame as they often blame themselves for the emotional wounds that still fester inside them. As emotional intimacy involves feeling free to be oneself in the presence of another, addicts find it impossible to intimately connect with someone else. As a result, sex and emotional intimacy aren’t even in the same zip code. Instead, the addict learns to deal with unresolved pain by using sex and sexual behaviors in ways that have nothing to do with intimacy.

 

Recovery starts with stopping problematic sexual behaviors and finding ways to reduce the chaos that accompanies sex addiction. However, because sex addiction is fundamentally a problem with intimacy, long-term healing must include emotional transformation that makes being in open, genuine relationships possible. I have training that enables me to do the “depth work” of the emotional transformation that can occur, helping my clients connect and at last be their true selves with another person.

 

I Need Help—What Should I Do Now?

 

Starting sex addiction counseling can be tough because sex addiction is often embarrassing and difficult to talk about. Reaching out for help is nothing to be ashamed about and can lead to a lifetime of sexual and emotional health, and I applaud your courage in seeking the support you need. And trust me, I know how you’re feeling and can journey with you through the discomfort and awkwardness.

 

If you’re ready to begin, please call me at (805) 256-3497 or email me at jmast@awakeningsrelationalcounseling.com to schedule your initial session or a free 15-minute consultation. It would be my privilege to meet with you and for us to discuss how I can help you.

 

Sex Addiction Counseling That Works

 

I am a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, which means that I have received specific training and supervision to help sex addicts and their partners discover healing and lasting change. Supported by a growing body of research and proven clinical tools, the CSAT training is quickly becoming the field’s standard for all therapists working with individuals who suffer from addictive and compulsive sexual behaviors.

 

I have also trained at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis in trauma, addiction, couple and family relationships, shame and other areas critical to long-term healing and change. After you have regained a sense of stability and control in your life, understanding unconscious patterns of being in relationship and managing your feelings are paramount; you will learn to relate to and manage your feelings without the use of compulsive sexual behaviors and fantasies that you may have used to “numb” yourself to overwhelming and painful feelings.

 

The time to get help is now. Take back your life by reaching out to me today. No matter what your circumstances may be, no matter how desperate your situation, change is possible. You deserve to heal!