The Elements of Sexual Compulsion/Dorothy Hayden, LCSW


Reclaim Sexual Sanity:  Find Recovery Now by Calling 212-673-5717 for an Initial Consultation.  See www.sextreatment.com for 35 full-length articles about sex addiction and for details about my private practice.

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Unpacking Sex Addiction

What are the components of a pattern of sexual compulsion?  There are about nine factors involved with producing the emotional fireworks that give rise to sexual addiction.  Once you understand the ingredients, you’ll be better equipped to “unpack” them so your rational mind has more of a fighting chance in fighting “the beast within”.

Let’s take a look at what a compulsion is.  From Webster, “The state of being forced to do something; an irresistible urge to behave in a way that goes against conscious wishes; an irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the irrationality of the motivation. 

 

Well, we KNOW the urge or the impulse is irresistible.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this post.  Two other words that stand out: conscious wishes and irrationality.  The imperious urge comes from the UNCONSCIOUS mind; it is not a conscious wish.  The driving force is NOT RATIONAL, again referring to the fact that sexual addiction is motivated by the unconscious mind.

Freud’s great discovery was the existence and power of the unconscious mind.  We are ruled by forces that are outside of our awareness.  This explains why you can tell yourself a hundred times a day that you don’t want to look at porn anymore, and BAM! — there you are, back at the computer, chocked by the “erotic haze.”  The unconscious mind, you see, is riding the horse and God only knows where the horse is going to lead us.  The goal of sex addiction treatment is for the rational mind to be steering the horse.

Sexual fantasies come from the unconscious.  They represent repressed wishes and desires from infancy and early childhood and are very powerful motivators for our values, attitudes, erotic preferences, mate selection and more.

Also in the unconscious are the components of a compulsion.  Each component that we’ll be discussing is capable to triggering your sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system – the same system responsible for the release of the mood-changing brain chemicals that biologists are beginning to see are at core of addiction.

By the end of this series of posts, you’ll have more awareness of how each ingredient plays into your personal sexual addiction.  From there,  urge control and the ability to separate feelings that keep you in the company of “the beast” from present-day values and motivations should be clear to you.

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