Monday, May 13

Shame - the Root of All Sexual Problems

Acculturated Shame Primes the Pump
of Sex Addiction In America

Shame - the Root of All Sexual Problems

Since the day that Adam and Eve were forced to relinquish their innocence through expulsion out of the Garden of Eden, and damned throughout eternity to wear a grape vine, signifying the “shame” of their “nakedness” (sexuality), there have been few periods in history when mankind has not been tortured and conflicted by the moral ambiguities inherent in that most mysterious, sublime and devious aspect of the human mind and psyche, his sexuality.

The last three decades have ostensibly make great strides in a sexual “revolution” and I suppose some strides have been made. But in the year 2013, we find ourselves living in a highly sexual culture, as evidenced by the media, while at the same time, open, intimate conversations about sex elicits feelings of embarrassment and shame. No matter how liberal we think we are, the sexuality of all of us has been culturally shamed.

The Church and the Family are the two main culprits involved in teaching children to be embarrassed about sex. In addition to acculturated shame, shame is introduced to individual children and young people in countless ways.. Some are sexual abuse, emotional abuse of sexuality, sexual secrecy, exposure to pornography, religious shaming, incorporating the split-off sexual shame of a parent. Even subtle parental discomfort about discussing things sexual, conveys to the child that the world of sexuality is shameful.

There are any number of ways, both subtle and overt, in which one can learn that sexuality per se is shameful. Hence, individuals in our society are quickly faced with an intolerable dilemma: how to come to terms with a vital part of the self that is seen as inherently bad.

Exploratory genital touching, masturbatory activities, sexual curiosity, childhood sexual play, and adolescent sexual strivings are ready targets for any number of shame-inducing responses on the part of with parents or others who play a role in the child world A pattern of parental responses which either call too much attention to the behavior in questions thereby engendering self-consciousness, or directionality the child for it, can eventuate in a sex/shame bind.

As adults, people may come to experience their sexual life either as a testing ground for the adequacy or else as an arena in which perfromance expectations otherwise abound. Our natural sexual response is a health one. However, once performace enterest the scene, we become overly watchful of ourselves, scritinizing our own bodily reactions such that spontatneous sexual responses are disrupted.

If we feel a need to sexually perform, then the pressure is experienced internally to live up to those expectations of ourselves and will mask any possible sexual pleasure.

Shame is focused on sexuality more than any other human quality – worldwide. While sex is considered a wonderful, enjoyable aspect of being human, at the same time, a seemingly contradictory cultural belief that it is wrong and bad still underlies our more positive views. The perception of sexual the “badness” of our sexuality effects our feelings about our bodies, our attractiveness to others, value to others and even our right to be alive.

Sexual Shame in The Therapeutic Community.

A person looking for help with a sexual issues doesn't know WHERE he should go. Amongst therapists who specialize in human sexuality, rarely does a person specializing in one area of treatment know about the other two ahead. Traditional sex therapists focus on sexual behavior, even when childhood sex abuse or sex addiction become evident. Therapists treating sex abuse may obscure sexual addiction. Training for sex addiction may pay attention to the importance of abuse, but hardly any to healthy sexual functioning

Through the subtle lack of coordination of effort on the part of therapists who treat sexual problems, the power of sexual shame is removed from one integrated approach. “Divide and conquer” and avoid the power and presence of sexual shame in all three areas.

Sexual shame inhibits sexual loving and underlies most sexual assumptions, including sex addiction.

Being a Sexual Person

Every person learns an arsenals of maneuvers to allow us to be sexual without feeling shame. These strategies don't remove shame from sex, but allows a person to be sexual without awareness of the shame.

Monday, May 6

The Fruits of Sex Addiction Recovery - A Healthy Personality

Dorothy Hayden, LCSW
New York, NY 10003

The Fruits of Recovery-- A Healthy Personality

If you view the end result of the recovery process exclusively as the cessation of addictive behavior, you're selling yourself short.

Active addiction is merely a symptom of your core problems. You can be free from addiction for a period of time but if you haven't done the hard work of introspection, self-understanding and change, your old addiction friend will sooner or later come to visit.

Addiction, especially sex addiction, involves a developmental arrest in the personality from inadequate parenting. You literally get “stuck” because an active addiction prohibits psychological growth. If your main coping mechanism is going to the addiction when you have unwanted feelings or normative stress from living, you never develop higher-level ways of functioning and coping.

Letting go of compulsive sexuality will allow you to continue that growth. Growth towards what? MATURITY?

Maybe you're wondering what THAT is. Well, below is a list of the characteristics of a healthy personality so you know what you could be striving for in ongoing recovery.

What is a Healthy Personality?

  • In a healthy personality, the self evolves from being focused only upon itself to a widening range of people and activities. There's a sense of focused personal involvement and participation in the activities of work and love.
  • A healthy personality has the capacity for intimacy and the capacity for compassion. The person shows authentic participation with their loved ones and concern for their welfare. Compassion is a sense of kinship with and empathy for all people because we all have our frail humanity in common.
  • Maturity includes self-acceptance, frustration tolerance and emotional control. Healthy people live with their shortcomings with little conflict within themselves. They have a basic sense of security in the self and basic trust in people and whatever spiritual meaning they embrace.
  • Mature people do not distort reality to make it compatible with their desires and fears. They accept and adjust to reality for what it is.
  • Healthy people believe in the importance of work and lose themselves in this activity. Work and responsibility provide meaning and a sense of continuity to life.
  • Healthy people can reflect on their own feelings, thoughts, impulses and desires and on the behaviors and motivations of other people. They consider the consequences of their actions and make conscious choice in the interest of their own “enlightened self-interest”.
  • Mature people have a sense of directedness which guides all aspects of a person's life toward a goal or a series of goals and give meaning to life. Should it unfold that a particular goal is unattainable, they cultivate new goals.
Sounds pretty OK, yeah? Just keep doing the next right thing and the serenity and self-esteem of having a healthy personality can be yours.


Entrepreneur Discusses Core Values

I'm always harping about the importance of knowing your values as an antidote to your active addiction.  Here's confirmation from a guy who uses them to make money.  Surely you can use them to save your life? Dorothy

Define Your Personal Core Values: 5 Steps

If your company has core values, shouldn't you? Establishing your own personal guidelines can remove risk and accelerate success.
chalk on chalkboard

Most concede the power of core values in business. Jim Collins made a great case in Built to Last. But it's difficult to accurately create or accept core values for your company if your own personal core values are unclear.

Many claim to understand their own values, but I maintain you don't really know them until you have:

  1. Articulated them clearly in writing.
  2. Tested them through daily decision-making.
Much like company core values, your personal core values are there to guide behavior and choice. Get them right and you'll be swift and focused in your decision-making, with clear direction. Get them wrong or leave them ambiguous, and you'll constantly wonder how you got into this mess.

Although your personal core values may not exactly match anyone else's, they still help you determine your surrounding culture. Most smart people consciously or unconsciously use personal core values to select friendships, relationships and business partnerships. Your core values also help you wisely manage your personal resources such as time and money.

Simply put, I use my personal core values as decision guidelines that keep me true to myself, and out of trouble. Here are mine with brief descriptions:


Some people are skilled liars. I am not. I function best when people are direct and honest. I make it clear in conversation and in writing that truth is necessary in my world, no matter how painful. This is probably why I thrive as a New Yorker.


I am a contact management freak. I focus on punctuality, returning phone calls and e-mails within the hour or at least the day whenever possible. I hear screaming in my head if I have left anyone hanging. I also make sure my statements are substantiated, hence the reason you'll rarely see me speak in absolutes without doing my homework.


Since people pay attention to my writing and talks, credibility is critical, and I have a lot to live up to. Hypocrisy is deadly in my world and this core value reminds me to integrate humorthe Awesome ExperienceROAR! and all my other lessons into my life and work, every single day.


You would think a writer, marketer, and theater graduate wouldn't need creativity as a core value. But when it's been a long month of travel, it's 3 a.m. and the column, speech, or book chapter is pending, I have to remind myself that I need to take that extra step to make my material compelling so I can intrigue, entertain, and connect with my audience.


Like most entrepreneurs, I see potential everywhere. This value reminds me to disregard when my brain is saying: "I can do that!" and instead ask the question: "Should I do that?" The criteria are simple: Maximum results for minimum effort. Each shiny new opportunity gets evaluated this way.
Some of my personal traits like passion, integrity, and energy don't qualify in my mind as core values because I follow these instinctively without consideration. They are unnecessary in my decision making process. I refer to them as my Table Stakes.
Now it's your turn to identify your values.

Personal Core Values Exercise:

Grab a notebook. It's time to do some writing. Give yourself quiet space, no distractions, and at least an hour to reflect on each section.

Step 1--Think through and describe the following in detail:
  1. What have been your three greatest accomplishments?
  2. What have been your three greatest moments of efficiency?
  3. What are any common rules or themes that you can identify?
Step 2--Think through and describe the following in detail:
  1. What have been your three greatest failures?
  2. What have been your three greatest moments of inefficiency?
  3. What are any common rules or themes that you can identify?
Step 3--Identify three or four brief sentences of advice you would give to yourself based upon these commonalities.

Step 4--Next try and reduce them to a few words. For example: If your advice is: "Don't overindulge in food and booze at parties and get in trouble," reduce that down to Keep Control Through Moderation, or even Moderation.

Step 5--Now comes the fun. You need to test the value. Think of a situation where following your core value hurts you rather than helps you. For example you might think Innovation sounds good until you realize that your life thrives on stability rather than constant change. You have to think it through carefully. If you can't identify a legitimate case where the value steers you wrong, you probably have a good core value.

Know that this process requires focused time and thought. I recommend doing it with someone you trust. Then you'll get honest feedback and you can help each other. It may require several discussions over weeks or even months. Your values may adjust and develop over time just as you do, so embrace the change.

As Mahatma Ghandi said, "Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny."

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Monday, December 31

Sex Addiction as a Mental Health Condition

Sex addiction to become a mental health condition

ZEENIA F BARIA, TNN Dec 22, 2012, 12.42PM IST
(It’s official now:…)
  Sex addiction will no longer be a loosely used term. A team of experts from the University of California, Los Angeles ( UCLA), have now tested a proposed set of criteria to define hypersexual disorder — more popularly known as sex addiction — as a new mental health condition.

Senior sex therapist and counsellor Dr (Prof.) Rajan Bhonsle defines addiction as a compulsive 'preoccupation' with any activity. "When any obsession starts affecting major aspects of a person's life and relationships, it is classified as an addiction. Sexual addiction, therefore, implies an inability to control one's sexual behaviour despite its negative consequences. It leaves a person dysfunctional in all other areas of life such as study, work, relationships, social obligations, family life and personal health and hygiene. Some people have a higher libido. As long as it doesn't make them dysfunctional in any aspect of their life, it is not an addiction. But if they have conflicts over it, or worse, are doing things on the sly, then it is a case of sex addiction," says Dr Bhonsle.
Adds clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany, "Sex addiction is when a person has a markedly increased amount of sex to feel sexually fulfilled. He/she also shows a persistent desire to spend abnormal amounts of time fulfilling sexual cravings. This obsession, or intense desire for sex, increases each day and a person struggles to cut down or control his behaviour in spite of the damage it causes ."

Diagnosis is made by a trained and experienced therapist, purely on the basis of a patient's detailed case history, which is compiled after talking to the person and/or his close relatives and friends. "There are no tests to diagnose sex addiction. It is as prevalent in India as it is in the West or any other part of the world," says Dr Bhonsle.

Counselling and psychotherapy (multimodal approach) should be done by a trained therapist. "The multimodal approach, which includes the Robert Carkhuff model of counselling, a combination of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), has been found effective. Pharmacotherapy is advised for primary or secondary emotional problems while family therapy studies and manages the stress factors at home. It also involves close family members in the therapy,"says Dr Bhonsle.

"For successful treatment, it is important that the therapist is fully trained. Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can help those who have been sexually abused and have developed the disorder because of that trauma," explains Hingorrany.

Being supportive

Family support is an important part of the treatment plan. "A psychologist explains to the patient's spouse how sex addiction is a treatable disorder of the mind. Patience and support from the spouse really helps," says Hingorrany.

Compulsive masturbation (self-stimulation) Excessive thoughts about sex
Multiple affairs (extra-marital affairs)
Multiple or anonymous sexual partners and/or one-night stands
Persistent use of pornography
Unsafe sex
Phone or computer sex (cybersex)
Indulging in prostitution or visiting prostitutes
Obsessive dating through personal ads
Voyeurism and/or stalking
Sexual harassment, molestation and rape (in extreme cases)

source:  The India Times

Tuesday, December 18

Understanding Shame and Addiction

Shame is a much misunderstood and neglected emotion.  Yes, it lies at the core of so much human suffering in particular addiction and more specifically sex addiction.

Even parents that are not abusive to their children shame them routinely.  Little Jo goes to mother after she was cheated at playing a game with friends and mother says "You're not really angry, you're just tired.", or a boy is told by his father "Real boys don't cry; be strong, take it like a man" (Of course he's only three!!)  In each case, the childn's experience is shamed and thereby disavowed, misidentified and eventually repressed. It is lost to conscious awareness, no longer freely available for expression.

Shame is not embarrassment; embarrassment in an outgrowth of shame as is shyness, social isolation and self-hating inner thoughts.  Shame is frequently tied to the failing of ideal (not realistic) self and that ideal is a perfectionistic one that seeks to compensate, or undo, the parental shaming that occurred in childhood.
Shame strikes deepest into the human psyche; it is a sickness within the self, a disease of the spirit.

Shame is the most deeply disturbing experience of the self by the self.  Shame is crucial to the development of identity, conscience and to a sense of dignity.  Shame is equally central to the development of self-esteem and intimacy.While guilt is a bad feeling about a particular behavior which can be atoned for and changed, shame tells us that WE are inadequate, unworthy, less than human, outside the human experience.

And because it is WE who are intrinsically bad, there's nothing that can be done about it, giving rise to despair.  There is a type of shame as a feeling that functions simply to increase awareness and passes rather quickly, another type of shame, sometimes called "internalized shame" or "toxic shame" means we have accepted "badness" as our essential identity.  It becomes internalized and magnified to the point that it now progressively captures and dominates the self.  It becomes a cancerous growth on the human soul.

Is Shame The Cause of Addiction?

It is not true that shame is THE cause of addiction.  While shame is central to much that causes human suffering, it is not the only source of disturbance and dysfunction.  The principal cause of addiction is the experience of intolerable negative feelings, shame included.  The addict first becomes dependent on a "mood changer" that lessens the intensity of unwanted feeling states.  While any combination of feelings may be involved, shame, or a derivative of it, is usually predominant.  It's important to understand that shame usually functions on an unconscious level, so you may be feeling all sorts of things without attributing them to shame.

Therapy helps connect that dots and name the real culprit which is often that you have an unaccepting
 and even self-hating relationship to yourself.

In addition to primary shame, the shame that comes from childhood and thus precedes the development of addictive dependency, there is also secondary shame, the inevitable shame about being addicted to anything, never mind sex.  Sex addicts are controlled by their addiction which intensifies shame and also adds further fuel to the addictive process to escape the shame of being addicts!!!