Sex Addiction: Gateway to an Authentic Masculinity?
A sex addiction has absolutely nothing to do with sex.
Sex (in its various forms) has simply become the vehicle by which the sex addict medicates his (or her) pain. The pain that existed in the addicted individual lived in them long before the sex addiction took its outward expressions. As a result working through a sex addiction requires working on the pain that has long existed and not simply on trying to stop ‘acting out’ sexually.
Men who struggle with a sexual addiction generally share very common traits. Most of these men would be terrified by the presence of a stunningly beautiful, intelligent, strong, independent and healthy women. These women are like kryptonite to the sex addict. The sex addict preys on perceived vulnerability and weakness and is in terror of strength and health. His preference is almost always transactional relationships that require zero intimacy.
The sex addict embodies a wounded masculinity. The wounded masculine are men who at their core feel so deeply unworthy, unlovable and fundamentally inadequate (often as men). They feel essentially powerless. It is this pervasive pain of the wounded masculine which precipitates the creation of the sex addict. The sex addict lives in a world where he believes and feels unworthy, unlovable, inadequate and may not even be aware that he feels this way.
Operating from that flawed paradigm of the wounded masculine the sex addict is so deeply craving intimacy but is simultaneously terrified of it. He can not go after want his heart truly desires (healthy intimacy) because he is afraid that he will be exposed for who he believes himself to be (inadequate). The sex addict inevitably avoids intimacy by engaging in his sexually addictive behaviors and finds himself trapped in a cycle of shame and pain.
Gateway to an Authentic Masculinity
A sex addiction can however become a gateway to an authentic masculinity. There is something very special that awaits a man on the other side of his sexual addiction. It is access to his authentic masculine which can be considered the source of his true power. By power I’m referring to the place where a man feels integrated, centered and whole. When a man does the work to heal the pain that has been driving his sexual addiction what emerges is a deeply loving, compassionate and powerful man. He embodies the authentic masculine and becomes a gift for himself and all the people he touches. He essentially comes home.
Keys to Sex Addiction Recovery for Men
- Stop putting the focus exclusively on trying to stop acting out sexually – acting out is not the problem (it’s just the consequence of the problem) so just trying to stop it won’t work
- Ask yourself honestly if you are ready to give up your sex addiction – you must decide if you feel ready to do the work and make the change (you may be surprised by your answer)
- Get Help – you will need to get help and gain insight into where your deep pains are. This could be a 12 step group, men’s group, therapist but not a significant other/partner.
- Be Consistent – recovery from a sex addiction is not linear. It takes time & effort to heal deep wounds.
- 100% Honesty – you can only heal what you reveal. Absolute honesty to yourself is a bedrock to recovery
- Trust – It can take months, years or even decades to recover from a sexual addiction. Do the best you can and trust that you will recover.
If you decide to heal a sexual addiction you are embarking on potentially the most meaningful work in your life. It takes courage and commitment but you will allow yourself to be the individual and man you were always meant to be.
Eric Pierni, CSAT RP is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, Registered Psychotherapist and founder of Men Therapy Toronto | Counselling Services for Men specializing in psychotherapy and psychotherapy for men in Toronto, Ontario (GTA).