Sex & Pornography Addiction: Chasing the Unattainable

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Sex & Pornography Addiction: Chasing the Unattainable

Many of my sex & pornography addiction clients have talked in session about their search for something in their addiction. The sex or pornography they take part in or view is not the “end all” of their addiction. In fact, many of the partners of sex addicts are people they really don’t like. It’s not about the sex or the pornography. So what is it about?

What I’ve heard from clients over and over, in different words and using different terms, is that they are seeking two things – escape and intimacy. These may seem very, very different, almost diametrically opposed, but they’re really not. Allow me to explain.

For reasons that make perfect sense once sex and pornography addiction are understood, the person addicted uses their addiction as a tool to balance their life. When stress or anxiety or depression or fear or pressure at work or one of many other uncomfortable emotions or situations hit, the sex or pornography addict will go to their addiction as an escape from what they are experiencing. Is this healthy? No, almost never. Does it work? In the short term, yes, which is why addicts repeat their addictive behaviors.

But consider this – if intimacy is the honest and open sharing of feelings, thoughts and emotions, what the person struggling with a sex or pornography addiction really needs is an “outlet” for their intimacy. They do, of course, need the skills to open up and “be intimate” – which is no easy task because it involves not only sharing, but honesty, trust, safety, vulnerability, emotional exposure and other skills and feelings which are typically very difficult for them to face.

The challenge for most people struggling with sex or pornography addiction is that they are seeking escape and intimacy. Their addiction provides an escape, but no intimacy, so they keep “using” trying to find what they cannot. And never will. The cycle continues…

 

About the Author:

Dan Gabbert holds a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology from Avila University in Kansas City, MO. Dan is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Certified Sex Addictions Therapist (CSAT), a rigorous certification issued by The International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP).