Sunday, November 4

The Cost of Sex Addiction: Emotional Consequences

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The Pain of the Pleasure

While people cite potential relationship or job loss, or the development of porn-induced ED or perhaps the loss of friends and family as major consequences from porn addiction, I’m convinced that the most devastating consequences are in the realm of our inner lives.

How do we impoverish our relationship to ourselves?
  • Untold hours spent planning for and engaging in sexual addiction hurts our ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.  We believe the illusions set up by porn.  Thousands of beautiful, exotic, erotic women desire us and don’t have to put any effort into it at all!  They won’t judge or evaluation our manlihood, they won’t reject us. They exist only to pleasure us!!  We create worlds where all are needs are magically met just because they – well, just because they are!!!

  • The real world isn’t like that.  Humans are a bundle of needs and wants; some can be satisfied, others not.  Even survival needs take a lot of work: go out into the jungle to bring home the meat.  Getting our true, emotional needs met by other human beings takes a period of courtship, getting to know each other, and finding people who are capable of being supportive and nurturing.  Getting needs met in the workplace require a particular sort of skill sets.  When we’re sober, we learn new skill sets and new coping mechanisms that help us to get our needs met in reality with as much ease and pleasure as possible.

  • Cognitive distortions arise from prolonged time spent in the erotic haze.  You see women on the street as potential sex objects, not as separate human beings who have a whole life that’s not designed at all to consider your sexual needs.  People stop being people.  They become things.  The irony is, we can’t get our basic, genuine needs met by things; we get them met by other people.

  • Denial is the fodder of addictions.  Some say denial means Don’t Even Know I’m Lying…to yourself or to others.  Denial protects the active addiction.  We tell ourselves that we can stop anytime we want to, that we’re not hurting ourselves, that everybody does it, and we deny the reality-based consequences (costs) of this very expensive behavior.  Living in denial is another way of replacing reality with fantasy.

  • While making love to your partner, it’s very common to overlay the reality of the person you’re with with fantasy images from the porn, thus negating the possibly scintillating pleasure of being with the person you’re with in reality.

  • As a result of the numerous times you’ve told yourself that you’ll no longer look at porn but you’ve been unable to hold firm to your resolve, the dreadful realization that you can’t control your own behavior begins to erode your confidence in yourself that you’re a person who “can do.”  The sense of being the masters of our fate, of self-efficiency, self-mastery and self-regulation that are required to keep up our self-esteem is eroded.  This is a potent source of shame that permeates so many aspects of this addiction.

  • From a psychological developmental point of view, sex addiction keeps you in an immature stance in life and prevents your journey to maturity.

  • We grow and develop by grappling with reality-based issues and trying to adapt ourselves to “life on life’s terms.”  When our sexual needs and wants are magically met, we don’t have the opportunity to develop higher coping skills like:  problem solving, risk taking, decision making, growing in our ability to tolerate frustration or to control acting on our impulses.  Sex Addiction keeps you in a state of adolescence for the rest of your  life.

  • Porn changes your brain chemistry which affects your mood and behavior when you’re not using it.  Depression, irritability, inability to take pleasure in non-sexual experiences, low self-esteem, loneliness, boredom, paranoia and shame are some of the step-children of sex addiction.

  • Compulsive sexual behavior that is not in keeping with your cherished values and morals rips a tear in the integrity of the self.

  • With the loss of your essential values, you may find it difficult to establish and persist in meaningful goals.  You may feel lost.

  • Over time, you learn to mask your feelings by immediately going to sex to control them.  You may not be aware of having any feelings, as they all get directly routed into a sexual urge.  Years of denying yourself the experience of feeling your feelings and using them as sign-posts for behavior (which is what they really are) make you a stranger to yourself.

  • Ultimately, the heaviest consequence of sex addiction is the loss of yourself to yourself.
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