FROM COMPULSION TO AVOIDANCE AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN
FROM COMPULSION TO AVOIDANCE AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN
At Willow House for Women, we treat a wide range of intimacy disorders that affect a person’s ability to function in healthy relationships with others. Intimacy disorders are usually rooted in emotional trauma and may be connected to other conditions such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. But we believe that women who are struggling with intimacy disorders can find relief from unhealthy patterns and learn how to build relationships that are healthy, mutual, and life-giving.
Sex addiction is a complex and even controversial condition. Some individuals may seek out this label as a way to explain their behaviors, and others may feel like they would rather be called anything but a sex addict. The truth is, sex addiction is a label that treatment teams use with patients to identify a classification of beliefs and behaviors regarding sex, but every individual is different. There is no average sex addict. Sex addiction may be present when an individual who is seeking attachment compulsively turns to sex, sexual thinking, and sexual relationships to a degree that is debilitating or harmful to both the individual and others. Sex addicts have typically been damaged in the area of attachment from a young age. The unhealthy patterns they form must be broken and new patterns must be created so they can have functional, healthy relationships with others.
Internet sex addiction or cybersex addiction is related to the compulsory viewing of explicit sexual activities online as well as things like participating in sex chatrooms. Because there is not a physical interaction with another person, individuals may rationalize their behavior as not being harmful. However, continual viewership of sex acts or sexual pornography can become normalized to this person and drive inappropriate patterns of thought and action. As with sex addiction, individuals with internet sex addiction may have broken attachment patterns and will only continue to destroy their ability to have healthy relationships if their behavior continues. The more dangerous aspect of this condition is that it seems passive and is easier to hide, which is why it can ensnare people from all walks of life, inevitably causing harm.
Pornography addiction is an addiction model of compulsive sexual activity with concurrent use of pornographic material, despite negative consequences to physical, mental, social, or financial well-being. The Internet and accessibility of screens have made pornography more available than in previous decades, and individuals may find it easier to hide their viewing of pornography from others. This also contributes to a certain social acceptance of the viewing of pornography, which can lead people to believe it is harmless — but this is not the case. Continual viewing of pornography registers the same kind of high as drugs or alcohol, making it easy for a person to slip into addiction and become unable to stop their behavior without intervention. Pornography addiction can destroy someone’s personal relationships, the desire to have a relationship, and the ability to be satisfied with real-life physical intimacy.
Love addiction is another attachment condition in which individuals feel they cannot function unless they are in a relationship. On occasion, it may be common to feel sadness, anxiety, or a sense of inadequacy due to a lack of romantic relationship, but love addiction involves a compulsory need to be in a relationship at all times. This may manifest itself in the inability to break off an abusive relationship, the tendency to consistently ignore self-care and personal needs in order to maintain the relationship and putting on a facade or absorbing the identity of the other person to gain their affection. Individuals with love addiction may feel controlled by the fear of abandonment, causing them to enter into or return to unhealthy relationships repeatedly.
Sexual compulsion is also known as hypersexuality, hypersexual disorder, nymphomania or sexual addiction. This condition occurs when individuals have recurrent sexual fantasies and feel compelled to engage in sexual activities in a way that is disruptive to their daily lives or harmful to others. Those with sexual compulsion may feel constantly interrupted by sexual thinking and pursue sexual interaction in spite of known consequences. They may feel unable to stop these behaviors or thinking patterns regardless of their own efforts or desire. Sexual compulsion is related to sex addiction but may have a few different characteristics. It can be damaging to one’s personal relationships and livelihood, especially since the individual experiences a lack of control regarding his or her proclivities.
Sexual anorexia is characterized by the lack of desire for a sexual relationship due to the fear of intimacy. Individuals may seek to control their interaction with others or protect themselves by restricting all sexual feelings, resulting in a loss of interest in sexual intimacy. This condition is called sexual anorexia because anorexics possess a similar need for control and use their anger and fear to diminish hunger for food, much like sexual anorexics use theirs to diminish the hunger for sexual intimacy. Sexual anorexia can damage someone’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, especially romantic relationships, and is often rooted in trauma or abuse in someone’s background.
Willow House is a safe place for women to heal from the shame, pain, and trauma that drives their intimacy disorder issues. Located in Wickenburg, Arizona, we provide an intensive 45-day treatment program for women, equipping them with the resources and support they need to rediscover wellness and build healthy relationships. We treat the whole person with experiential therapies, counseling, and proven clinical methods. The models we use have been developed by industry experts who have worked with hundreds of patients and conducted extensive research. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one begin the journey to recovery.
Intensive Family Program
Innovative Experiential Therapy
12-Step Program Focus