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Old 04-15-17, 06:23 AM
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Sex and love addiction part 2

Since the last one is now closed I'm starting a new thread here.

When I talked to fellow Sex and Love Addicts in rehab, where I got for alcohol addiction, the things they were telling me rung a bell. I decided to go to Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous from rehab and could very much relate to what the people there were telling.

Before leaving rehab I got the advise to be abstinent for a year, which I wanted to try. But it definitely is hard. A few days ago I contacted a girl I knew from my time in active addiction to try to arrange a date. I thought I had all precautions in place, but my counsellor pointed out that it wasn't wise to go dating with someone from that time. Since then I'm trying to focus on the idea of being abstinent again. But it isn't easy.

All different kinds of thoughts come up that make me anxious and depressed about abstinence.

It seems like I have been asked to deny my sexuality, which to me seems like a fundamental aspect of being human.

Not being able to date feels like a punishment for my addiction.

Another major concern in this respect is that I have been involuntarily abstinent for many years before my sex and love life went out of control (I think it's what they call sexual anorexia in SLAA). I just wasn't able to engage in talk with women and would be very avoidant when I found someone attractive. It caused me a lot of pain and anguish back then. Someone in another topic mentioned that your body would cycle down when abstaining and that's exactly what I'm very worried about. I'm afraid that by abstaining I will return to this avoidant state and will not be able to engage in dating and sexuality in a healthy way in the future anymore. Being permanently single is something that runs in my family and I really don't want to go the same way as my uncle and cousins did. Is there a risk that abstinence will lead to avoidance again?
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Old 04-15-17, 10:05 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

I found that if your really interested in the opposite sex that's not a problem. Really developing the drive to consummate the relationship became an issue for me, ironic when I couldn't think of much else.
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Old 04-16-17, 05:24 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

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Originally Posted by Letching Gray View Post
I always had to be around others. I love being by myself now. Love it, and loneliness is not nearly as overwhelming as it used to be.
Yeah, I started to experience that too. And then all of a sudden things happened and I went into withdrawal again. Actually every time I interact with a nice and attractive girl nowadays it causes craving, which leads to suffering.



Quote:
I am not clear on this one, Hermus. Can you explain what you mean a little more?
Sexual anorexia as defined by Wikipedia:

Quote:
Sexual anorexia is a pathological loss of "appetite" for romantic-sexual interaction, often the result of a fear of intimacy to the point that the person has severe anxiety surrounding sexual activity and emotional aspects (i.e. an intimate relationship).
For me it didn't mean that I was not interested in sexual interaction. It meant that I wasn't able to engage in it, because of some deep-rooted beliefs that I was unworthy, that there was something wrong with my sexuality, that I was unattractive etc. Those thoughts created a lot of suffering that outed itself through denying myself the fulfilment of sexual desires. If I was talking to someone attractive what would happen is that I shut down, disconnected on a mental level and avoided any intimacy that could develop. The suffering that I felt because of that was not less severe than the suffering I encountered when I was actively engaging in sexuality.

It might even be two sides of the same medal. I believe there is something wrong with me, so I don't engage in healthy sexuality. And then when I have overcome that and found someone I have romantic and sexual feelings towards I cling to her like she's my lifeboat. Since having someone, because of my mindset, seems like such a big deal, I just don't want to lose what I've got. Which creates its own suffering of course and ends up in pushing her away, exactly causing the situation that I fear the most. Does that make sense to you?
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Old 04-16-17, 05:30 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

Herms it seems to me that back then your abstinence was not voluntary whereas now it is. Now you are in control abd you can start dating again whenever you want to. It just seems from shat your counsellor said now it might make your life more difficult. However this doesn't mean that you cannot date or that you are unable to. It just means that right now would be a good time to choose not to date.
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Old 04-16-17, 05:37 PM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

I'm speculating now:

I think with sex and love addiction, the name is much less accurate than with drug or alcohol addiction. Misusing a substance is much simpler to understand. With SLA, you abused and misused yourself and other people. Not in the sense of coercion or violence, but in the sense that entering into consensual sex or a consensual relationship can be done for some wrong or mistaken reasons. Those reasons can over time become habitual, leading to serial or parallel unfair and unhealthy treatment of self and others. Sex and love were never the problem; it's removing those wrong reasons for sex and wrong reasons for falling in love.

I think it might be uncommon for an alcoholic to later develop a healthy relationship with alcohol - I think the attraction to misusing it is so strong that few could overcome that, and it would be prudent not to try. But I think with SLA it's quite different - I think reworking one's own reasons for entering a relationship or agreeing to sex (and recognizing good and bad signs in others) is truly a viable goal.

In other words... We know that the right time for a drink will never arrive. But the right time for a relationship probably will - however, not now while the wrong reasons are likely to take over, and not with someone who was willing to agree to wrong reasons before.
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Old 04-17-17, 01:34 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

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Originally Posted by dvdnvwls View Post
I'm speculating now:

I think with sex and love addiction, the name is much less accurate than with drug or alcohol addiction. Misusing a substance is much simpler to understand.
I can understand where you are coming from. I guess you are arguing from the neuropathological model of addiction, where either the brain of an addict is wired to respond to the use of a substance in the 'wrong' way from the outset or where the consistent overuse of said substance will lead to changes in the brain that lead the addict to respond to a substance in the wrong way over time. This model, while still being adhered to in some part of the clinical world is hopelessly outdated. Addiction in my point of view can better be seen as a maladaptive response to life circumstances, in which addicts due to circumstances have not developed healthy ways of emotional regulation, have maladaptive cognitive schemas etc.

Quote:
With SLA, you abused and misused yourself and other people. Not in the sense of coercion or violence, but in the sense that entering into consensual sex or a consensual relationship can be done for some wrong or mistaken reasons. Those reasons can over time become habitual, leading to serial or parallel unfair and unhealthy treatment of self and others. Sex and love were never the problem; it's removing those wrong reasons for sex and wrong reasons for falling in love.
This presupposes that I simply wouldn't know that it would be wrong to cheat, or to keep in touch with women even though it has already caused a lot of pain in the past, or worse that I would lack the empathy to care about what I'm doing to another person by those behaviours. Neither is right. When partaking in those and other addictive behaviours I mostly know very well that it is wrong, and feel a deep sense of guilt towards the other person for the hurt I cause. Yet, it is almost impossible to overcome this behaviour on my own.

Quote:
I think it might be uncommon for an alcoholic to later develop a healthy relationship with alcohol - I think the attraction to misusing it is so strong that few could overcome that, and it would be prudent not to try. But I think with SLA it's quite different - I think reworking one's own reasons for entering a relationship or agreeing to sex (and recognizing good and bad signs in others) is truly a viable goal.
I agree that entering a healthy romantic or sexual relationship is something that can be done over time. It is very much a process of learning to distinguish healthy from unhealthy intentions and acts, and to learn to act on healthy intentions while not act on the unhealthy ones. Actually it is not really that much different from substances. While 12 step groups generally have adopted the idea that an addiction to alcohol or substances cannot be overcome, there are a lot of researchers who claim it can. The difference is that the use of substances is unnecessary to lead a life that is whole and complete, while the need for sex and love is a much more basic human need. In the case of substances life is at stake when trying whether or not someone can use them again, so I would not advise addicts to bet on that.

Quote:
In other words... We know that the right time for a drink will never arrive. But the right time for a relationship probably will - however, not now while the wrong reasons are likely to take over, and not with someone who was willing to agree to wrong reasons before.
I agree with this last part. Although it is about more than having the wrong or right reasons.

I hope that this clarifies things. I didn't open this topic to discuss whether SLA does or does not exist. For me it is a painful truth that it does and that it has caused a lot of suffering. So I hope we can agree on not discussing that issue further here. If you still have doubts about the existence of SLA I would ask you to open a separate thread on that.
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Old 04-17-17, 02:03 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

I don't doubt its existence. I don't think I completely understand how your corrections and clarifications are not just restatements of things I already said, but I'm sure that's due to my lack of knowledge of what it's really like to be you.
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Old 04-17-17, 02:05 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

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Originally Posted by dvdnvwls View Post
I don't doubt its existence. I don't think I completely understand how your corrections and clarifications are not just restatements of things I already said, but I'm sure that's due to my lack of knowledge of what it's really like to be you.
My understanding was that by saying the name is not accurate you meant that the condition doesn't exist as a condition. Thanks for clarifying.
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Old 04-17-17, 04:05 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

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The difference is that the use of substances is unnecessary to lead a life that is whole and complete
Yep

Quote:
while the need for sex and love is a much more basic human need.
Why is sex a "need"? What does that mean, sex is a need? What happens if someone refrains from sex entirely?
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Old 04-17-17, 04:06 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

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Originally Posted by Letching Gray View Post
Yep



Why is sex a "need"? What does that mean, sex is a need? What happens if someone refrains from sex entirely?
What that means is that sex is, always has been and always will be a part of human life. Not only is it necessary for procreation, but we all have a natural drive and needs towards physical affection. I don't completely subscribe to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but physical intimacy is at a much more basic level there than the use of substances (if the use of substances is part of it at all). That isn't to say that temporary abstinence won't ever be a healthy choice, but in the end whereas abstaining from the use of substances is a perfectly attainable and healthy goal, in sex and love there is good reason to focus on eventually being able to enjoy healthy sexual and romantic relationships. But if anyone chooses to go for lifelong celibacy as a goal that's fine to me.
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Old 04-17-17, 06:24 AM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

I guess it's more like a food addiction, like binge eating, where you need to relearn a healthy relationship with the object of your addiction rather than abstinence.
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Old 04-17-17, 02:13 PM
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Talking Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

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Originally Posted by Hermus View Post
What that means is that sex is, always has been and always will be a part of human life. Not only is it necessary for procreation, but we all have a natural drive and needs towards physical affection. I don't completely subscribe to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but physical intimacy is at a much more basic level there than the use of substances (if the use of substances is part of it at all). That isn't to say that temporary abstinence won't ever be a healthy choice, but in the end whereas abstaining from the use of substances is a perfectly attainable and healthy goal, in sex and love there is good reason to focus on eventually being able to enjoy healthy sexual and romantic relationships. But if anyone chooses to go for lifelong celibacy as a goal that's fine to me.

Quote:
physical intimacy is at a much more basic level
By physical intimacy, you mean a back rub?

I'm raising the issue because what I assumed, or took for granted, my sexual desires, was something I couldn't imagine living without, might not be so indispensable afterall. I'd never really thought about it in this context. Why was sex addictive?

Could someone who just really loved sex actually live happily, contentedly, without sex? I would rather have stuck a hand grenade in my throat than to be in a position where I was seriously questioning the role of sex in my life, but in withdrawal, living by myself, not working, having decided to work on this demon 24/7, I ended up challenging everything about my sexual history, assumptions, long held attitudes, everything.

I wrote it all down. It was an exhaustive inventory--(it wasn't pretty. It was a long, long ugly list of betrayals, of myself and others, desperately needy and selfish plunges into satisfying my urges, what I thought I had earned, what I wanted, when, how, with whom. It revealed the pathetic attempts of a lonely, frightened, hurting little boy living inside an adult body, to be taken seriously, to be loved, to find comfort, to be a powerful male and to exact revenge. It painted a very clear picture of an entire lifetime obsessively and compulsively demanding, non-stop, what couldn't be found in someone else/in sexual behavior.

It wasn't self-destructive as much as self-annihilation. And I had one last chance to stop the whole thing, to stop me, before I lost everything including the lost but real me I sensed somehow was still residing within all the painful sick external actions. I didn't believe I could ever again dedicate my every waking second to try to get better and for me, that's what it took.)
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Old 04-17-17, 02:45 PM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Letching Gray View Post
By physical intimacy, you mean a back rub?

I'm raising the issue because what I assumed, or took for granted, my sexual desires, was something I couldn't imagine living without, might not be so indispensable afterall. I'd never really thought about it in this context. Why was sex addictive?

Could someone who just really loved sex actually live happily, contentedly, without sex? I would rather have stuck a hand grenade in my throat than to be in a position where I was seriously questioning the role of sex in my life, but in withdrawal, living by myself, not working, having decided to work on this demon 24/7, I ended up challenging everything about my sexual history, assumptions, long held attitudes, everything.

I wrote it all down. It was an exhaustive inventory--(it wasn't pretty. It was a long, long ugly list of betrayals, of myself and others, desperately needy and selfish plunges into satisfying my urges, what I thought I had earned, what I wanted, when, how, with whom. It revealed the pathetic attempts of a lonely, frightened, hurting little boy living inside an adult body, to be taken seriously, to be loved, to find comfort, to be a powerful male and to exact revenge. It painted a very clear picture of an entire lifetime obsessively and compulsively demanding, non-stop, what couldn't be found in someone else/in sexual behavior.

It wasn't self-destructive as much as self-annihilation. And I had one last chance to stop the whole thing, to stop me, before I lost everything including the lost but real me I sensed somehow was still residing within all the painful sick external actions. I didn't believe I could ever again dedicate my every waking second to try to get better and for me, that's what it took.)
Actually I wasn't that much of a beast. I did long periods without sex as I explained. It was terrible, because I constantly was self-conscious and confronted with my feeling of being unattractive, unworthy etc. Then it all changed and I got sexually active again. Had some periods in which I had a lot of sex for a year. Three different girls I've dated and slept with. Although it would offer a temporary boost to my ego, in the long run it did nothing.

So yes, I know that sex is not a solution to my problem. I already have experienced that. But it doesn't mean that physical intimacy is not an important human need. Maybe that would be an important accomplishment, if I could focus more on real intimacy instead of just mechanically having sex. It all was appealing then, but as a girl I dated jokingly said: "We don't have sex, we have porn". While it was a joke the sad thing is that to a large extent it was true. Did all kinds of crazy acts, but I'm not even really thinking back to that as a positive thing. There wasn't much feeling involved. The thing I look back on with a smile were the moments that there was true intimacy involved. The really weird thing is that this doesn't even have to involve intercourse necessarily. One of the most beautiful things I think is actually just cuddling (does that sound effeminate?).
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Old 04-17-17, 03:13 PM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

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One of the most beautiful things I think is actually just cuddling (does that sound effeminate?).
Absolutely not.


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Old 04-17-17, 04:56 PM
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Re: Sex and love addiction part 2

Quote:
But it doesn't mean that physical intimacy is not an important human need.
In-to-me-see, intimacy. I would not say sexual intimacy isn't great. I wouldn't say it is wonderful. There's a difference between physical and sexual intimacy, too. But, my point is this: without water, nourishment and air, we die. Without physical/sexual intimacy we can live, no?

Quote:
The really weird thing is that this doesn't even have to involve intercourse necessarily.
That's what I'm saying.

Quote:
One of the most beautiful things I think is actually just cuddling
It is beautiful. Is it a "need"?

My point in my previous comment, well I never made it clear. What I wanted to emphasize, was that my life was such a mess, I wanted to be willing to go to any lengths, including questioning everything I assumed about sex, to get sober. I'm not saying the conclusions I reached were correct, more that I think our culture is good at convincing me I can't live w/o a lot of things.
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