Shame Of Sex Addiction
The Shame of Sex Addiction
We have all been ashamed of ourselves at some point, and for most of us, many times throughout our lives. Shame is the feeling of regret, sadness, guilt, embarrassment, self-hatred, fear and isolation. Believe it or not, you are not alone and many people understand how you feel. In addition, many people are able to cope with sex addiction, and lead full and happy lives.
If you are a sex addict, your guilt may come from the enjoyment you get from being turned by things you think are strange or wrong. You feel extreme excitement that you don’t get from other sexual related activities that you wish you did because then you would be, “normal,” and worthy of happiness. You can’t help it, and you hate yourself for it. A lot of you may not be able to be turned on by your wife, and have to face erectile dysfunction when you try. You are ashamed and embarrassed, and your relationships suffer because you don’t want to put yourself in the position to feel that way, so you avoid it. This is part of sex addiction, and if you are a sex addict, you will experience this unless you seek treatment.
You may get extremely excited and aroused when you watch porn, and because it is a feeling you don’t get otherwise, you spend a lot of time watching, and maybe too much money. Your self worth continues to suffer if you were taught growing up that porn is wrong, as many people were. Or, you spend so much money on porn that your family has to go without their needs, and you have to explain why. You make up lies, and dig a deeper hole, and you soon lose sight of the light that leads to happiness.
Your fear is that people will find out what you did, that people will judge you, and that you will face consequences for your actions. Your fear leads to isolation because you can’t trust people to accept you–flaws and all–and you end up avoiding everyone and everything in hopes of hiding your addiction.In your attempt to keep that side of yourself and your life secret, you are making it a bigger and bigger part of your life. At some point, it becomes your entire life. That’s when some would say they’ve hit rock bottom, and it’s time to admit that they need help. This is not a point that you need to get to. You are viewing this article, so if you suffer from sex addiction, you’re already taking a step toward getting help. If you’ve hit rock bottom, it’s not too late for you to be ok, and if you haven’t hit rock bottom, there is no reason that you should.
It’s human to make mistakes and it’s ok to feel ashamed of yourself or your actions. It’s normal to want to forget your mistakes and move on. If you’re able to forgive yourself and decide to do better in the future, you should feel optimistic about your life. But if in the future, you repeat those mistakes again and again, you’ll get to the point where you can’t forgive yourself. The fact is you CAN do better no matter how long you’ve been unable to control yourself. A lot of people feel hopeless about this, just as you may. Everyone is capable of changing if they fight for themselves.
You can’t ignore your problem and hope it goes away and you can’t overcome it on your own. Seek treatment from a therapist. How do I know you can change with help? Because sex addiction exists for many people, and many have changed. If sex addiction were permanent, sex therapists would be out of a job! Most people who seek help are scared–scared to admit what they’ve done, scared to fail again, scared of everything, just as you may be. So if you feel alone and as if no one could understand or accept you, you’re wrong, and you just have to find the bravery to ask for help. Here are some tips to help you cope with your shame:
- Talk to someone. It’s important that you admit whatever it is that you’ve done and feel ashamed of. See a therapist–they are legally bound NEVER to reveal what you tell them, or even that you are their patient. Don’t talk to your neighbor, family or friends before seeing a therapist. The therapist can guide that process when the time is right. If you admit what you’ve done to someone who understands and won’t judge you, you will start to heal. It won’t be easy, but you can do this.
- Forgive yourself. No matter how many times you’ve sworn to stop and failed, you need to forgive yourself. You have a problem that has taken over, but the person you liked and respected before the addiction is inside you and deserves a chance to shine again. If you forgive yourself, you’ll feel less ashamed, and more optimistic about getting help and gaining control. With optimism comes the desire to fight. If you don’t think you can succeed, you won’t try. Remember, every day is a new day to try.
- Know your addiction. Go online or speak to a professional and find out how prevalent sex addiction is. You will find that you’re not alone, and that people have felt the way you do, and have succeeded in controlling their addiction. You don’t need to isolate yourself. In fact, there are a lot of celebrities that struggle with sex addiction, so society has become more accepting of it than they were in the past.
- Help someone. You may feel better if you know you can be helpful to people. Helping people doesn’t take much: help an old woman cross the street or carry grocery bags for her, do someone a favor of some kind. You may have a problem, and you may have relapsed today, but you are definitely useful to society and should act like it. Your addiction may take over your life, but you can help someone and be proud of it.
- Spend time with an animal, preferably a dog. The dog will never judge you, and will lift your spirits.
We all feel shame, but the key is to gain control of the behavior, and forgive yourself for your mistakes. It’s ok to cry, feel sorry for yourself for the day, but then it’s time to get up. This is your life, and you can either live it or simply get through it. Be proud of yourself for every step you take, starting with reading this article and exploring therapy options. Even if you feel hopeless, somewhere in you there is hope, or you wouldn’t be here.
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