How Do I Control My Sex Addiction?

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Fighting sex addiction is a losing battle…It does not mean removing the addiction from one’s life. What it does mean is getting it under control. This can be difficult, as sex in and of itself is a natural,healthy and enjoyable part of life and cutting it out completely is often not realistic or even healthy.

What is important is reigning in the out of control obsessive compulsive behaviors. Getting sex addiction under control, starts with a period of abstinence from all sexual activities healthy and unhealthy. During this time, a sex addict learns many things about their cravings, desires and reasons for wanting sex. The sex addict needs to begin their recovery with basic tools and meth0ds for controlling the cravings for sex and standards for personal sexual behavior.

The abstinence or the “no sex” period allows the brain, where the addictive chemicals are being produced, to reset itself somewhat in preparation for what will essentially be a new lifestyle. The brain has gotten so used to releasing the powerful chemicals to reward the body for having sex and reproducing. The brain has to have a period of re-adjustment so it can return to a normal pattern or chemical release during sex.

To control sex addiction one must first consider the cause. Sex addicts often use sex as a means of coping, so they need ask themselves “What am I trying to cope with by using sex? What feelings am I trying to avoid?” Once they know that, they may then ask where those feelings come from, what causes them? A sex addict may find they suffer underlying problems such as stress, pressure, overwhelm, anxiety or depression. Perhaps an event or events in their childhood left them with unfulfilled needs and no knowledge of how to fulfill them without the aid of sex. They may simply have never learned what healthy sexuality is as a result of improper role modeling as a child.

Once the “big picture” becomes clear, sex addicts must take a closer look into their daily behaviors. When do sex cravings happen? What’s going on when they occur? How is the sexual high obtained, what are the consequences, what is the result? The sex addict makes a detailed map of their minute behaviors so they understand fully what needs to be addressed, beyond the obvious problems.

Next a plan is made. A sex addict defines new sexual standards for themselves. What behavior is good, what behavior is questionable, and what behavior is downright unacceptable? These could be simple dating rules, or rules about viewing pornography. While sex doesn’t leave the person’s life, some sexual behaviors may. A person who has had problems with porn may cut it out of their life, and certainly extramarital affairs are things to be discontinued, as is any illegal or costly behavior.

How to actually deal with sexual thoughts and cravings is another matter. No one can keep certain thoughts from popping into their heads, but after a few seconds they can control them. Addicts who find a sexual fantasy or thought come to mind learn ways of redirecting it, or analyzing it in order to glean some insight into themselves. They also learn ways of curbing the urge to act out physically with new activities, such as exercise. Many sex addicts take these thoughts and use a technique called thought shifting. When the thought comes they bring into their mind instead, a pleasurable activity, a favorite song, place or activity unrelated to sex. This allows the thought or craving to pass.

Still, the biggest thing a sex addict needs to gain control is knowledge. Learning about addiction, and one’s self is key. This can be done through 12 step groups, group therapy, and having accountability partners. Just about any recovery plan teaches self reflection, which not only helps control the addiction here and now, but prevents it from returning. There are also side benefits to learning about one’s self, as the knowledge can be put towards more general improvement and fulfillment.

There is a great action guide/ebook called the 7 Paths to Success: Recovery from Sex Addiction which is a great tool for implementing the basics of recovery from sex addiction.

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