When a potential client reaches out to us with the common question “Do you treat sex addiction?” Part of me wants to say, “Well…it’s complicated.”
Why? Because there isn’t an actual diagnosis for sex addiction and as an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, I don’t buy into addiction model of treatment for sexual behavior as an “addiction”.
At Love Heal Grow, we work from a sexual wellness model. The fields of psychology and medicine have a long history of framing normal sexual behavior and identity as stigmatizing pathology. We are sensitive to this history and the fact is that there isn’t clear evidence, agreed upon symptoms, or treatment expectations for “sex addiction” that take into account the normal human spectrum of sexuality–well, we don’t want to be part of a movement that we believe stigmatizes sexuality.
We also aren’t sticking our heads in the sand to the realities that there are people and families suffering when a partner has serial affairs, when an individual relies on sex as their only way to reduce stress and this causes problems in their life and relationship, when someone is confused as to how they can continuously act impulsively when it comes to sex, when someone experiences intrusive reliance on pornography or fantasy.
These are real issues that we help people with in sex therapy. Here’s what you need to know about how we can help when you are experiencing what we refer to as “out of control sexual behavior”:
-We listen to you without judgment and as long as your sexual experiences are consensual and non-abusive, we affirm your needs & wants when it comes to sexuality. We help you identify if there are any areas of your sex life that YOU identify as problematic. What would help you feel more healthy when it comes to your sexuality? What do you want for your sex life?
-We help you identify what leads you to act impulsively when it comes to sex if you are experiencing this. Oftentimes when we act impulsively we are trying to manage negative emotions or thoughts that are uncomfortable and looking for a distraction or instant relief. If the impulsive act ends in a negative consequence that is harder to deal with than managing the initial feelings we were trying to cope with–ti may be helpful to look at this and explore other ways to cope.
-We believe in honesty and transparency in relationships. If you would like to be non-monogamous, we will help you communicate about this to your partner. Your partner may or may not be open to this–this will have to be worked out together.
-We help you treat yourself and others with respect when it comes to sexual experiences–respect for yourself and others leads to more fulfilling sexual experiences.
-We help you learn communication skills, set boundaries and find rewarding coping skills to give you more fulfillment in your sex life.
-We will not shame you, label you, or refer you to a 12-step model of sexual addiction treatment.
Hi! I'm Megan Negendank, founder and executive director of Love Heal Grow Counseling.
I help hurting, worried couples & individuals heal from pain and create thriving lives & relationships.
You can read more about me or schedule an appointment here: About Megan