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* As our understanding of the range of human sexuality has expanded, many within our profession have ceased to pathologize certain sexual behaviors, recognizing that, practiced in safe and consensual ways, such behaviors often not only enhance people’s happiness and well being, but are neither “unnatural” nor “abnormal.” Rather they are part of the panoply of pleasure available to us as sexual beings.* The sex addiction model uses a widely used and widely available sexual addiction screening test, which therapists can administer to recognize areas that are “problematic” within their clients’ “arousal template.” Clients are asked if they have purchased romantic novels and sexually explicit magazines, spent time and money in strip clubs, have paid prostitutes, or even if anyone has been upset by their behavior.In the sex addiction model, sexual recovery is left to the therapist’s and spouse’s moral judgment and discretion.It lacks an informed, educated and research-oriented basis to assist the client to achieve his own sexual health.This keeps the focus on the sexual behavior, actually making things worse by putting the client at odds with his or her sexuality and actually causing the behaviors to increase.However, I have rarely experienced this to be successful.Encouraging this kind of deprivation and limitation inadvertently contributes to controlling the client rather than helping the client gain mastery over his own sexuality.How often in our own experience have we found that when we are told we must stop some behavior, it makes the behavior seem even more attractive?
Yet, like you Joe, the philosophy has to evolve to educate and inform people with evolved learnings.
This ignores the research that shows that, for some, pleasure and pain combined is and can be normative and erotic.
One sex addiction therapist I knew believed it was wrong for a man to wear woman’s clothing for sexual arousal because, “Why would the man want to humiliate himself in this way?
I look for comorbid conditions and diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, or bipolar disorder, to name a few.
I don’t zero in on the sexual behavior, and I encourage the client to consider his own values around his sexuality, and to separate himself from the values he has learned elsewhere.