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The shame about sex addiction

The consequences of sex addiction can be traumatic for both the perpetrator and those associated with them. Whatever the underlying cause of the addiction is recovery is achievable though.

Experts still argue about the true definition of sex addiction, some saying that it’s an addiction akin to alcohol and substance abuse or a specific form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and some believing that it simply doesn’t exist and is brought about by conditioning with various influences most notably the internet being responsible. Internet sex researcher Al Cooper says internet sex can be described as the ‘crack cocaine’ of sexual addiction and without it sexual addiction simply wouldn’t exist.

Regardless of the reasons why and the true definition of sex addiction there is no doubt that this is something many people are afflicted by, so when I read about a movie entitled 'Shame' by British video artist Steve McQueen, it perked my interest.

'Shame' tells the story of Brandon, a handsome young German living in America, a workaholic who can think of nothing else but having sex with beautiful women. When he’s not seducing women he is searching for them on the internet or watching pornography and masturbating. You witness how his habitual existence is thrown into chaos as his sister makes an unannounced visit thus unwittingly messing up his routine and leaving him no option but to wander the streets after dark in order to get his sexual fix. McQueen’s research into sex addiction prior to the movie was in-depth; having interviewed many sex addicts he noted that one of the most frequent terms that were used during the interviews was ‘Shame’ hence the films title. 

Sex addiction triggers

It’s thought that addiction to sex is triggered by a number of different factors but the addicts core beliefs are at the root of it all in a very similar way to most other addictions. For example a sex addict who is experiencing emotional pain, such as anger, shame or conflict will look at sex as a means to resolve those feelings, albeit in a temporary fashion, effectively escapism.

One very interesting theory comes from Dr Patrick Carnes (Patrick Carnes, PhD, is an expert in the field of sexual addiction), who believes that peoples core beliefs are installed in them from a very young age and are predominantly down to family behavioural patters and the way in which they are treated. A child who comes from a background of stability and love is less likely to developed negative core beliefs than one who has a history of neglect or abuse.

Remember treatment for sex addiction is available and if you are concerned about yourself or if someone you love is suffering with this condition. The important thing is to get professional help.

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