unsuccessful cures for sex addiction

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things that do not work in dealing with sex addiction

resolutions, oaths, and promises

What do people do to curb compulsive sexual behavior? They try a lot of things—and many of them are ineffective.

I often hear people say that they have finally figured out what they needed to do to get freedom from their sex addiction. They say something like, “I promised God I wouldn’t act out any more.” And when I ask, “Have you done that in the past?” They say, “Yes.” “So how has that worked so far?” I ask. So that you don’t get the wrong idea about what I am saying, I am a Christian who believes strongly in the ability and power of God. At the same time, it has been my experience that God often uses therapists, 12-step groups, and other recovering people to help guide sex addicts out of their addiction.

Many sex addicts have believed the lie that the reason they act out is because they haven’t prayed right, believed right, or worshipped right, or that they have some other deficiency in their religious life. But the reason acting out behavior continues is not because of any of those reasons. Acting out continues because they are addicted! Promises to God, to partner, to self are ineffective in curbing compulsive sexual behavior. For example, although well-intentioned, proclamations like: “I’m going to read my Bible more often,” “I’m going to participate in more religious activities,” or “I’m going to pray more” are well and good if also undertaken with other recovery activities.

other "cures" that do not work ...

geographic cure

A geographic cure is one in which a sex addict believes that by changing his location, he can change his behavior. For example: “I am going to move to another city where there is less opportunity to act out. I know where all the acting out places are in this city.”  One man said, “If I could just move to the moon, I could control my acting out.”  Another variation on this: “I am going to get a different job. I won’t be able to stop acting out until I get away from the opportunities to act out that are part of my current job.”

getting into a relationship or marrying

Single people suffering from sex addiction often believe the answer to acting out is to enter into a relationship or get married so they can have sex with their partner as often as they like.

getting out of a relationship or marriage

Coupled with this belief is that if they just had a new partner, then everything would be all right.

finding a drug to cure the addiction

I have heard addicts say, “If only I could find a drug that would lower my sex drive.” And, some have sought out physicians to give them something that would cure their compulsive sexual behavior. While some prescription drugs, particularly antidepressants, lower sex drive, none of them eliminate sex addiction.

outgrowing the addiction

Some sex addicts believe that if they just hang on long enough, they will outgrow their addiction. But I know a number of people well past 70 who will tell you that their addiction is still present, even if it is under control because of their work in recovery.

other things that don't work

  • Worry
  • Self-pity
  • Rule-keeping (This does not refer to establishing healthy boundaries but rather to creating a rigid rule system that creates walls where boundaries should be)
Things That May Complicate [Sex Addiction] Recovery Video | Dr. Milton Magness, Founder, Hope & Freedom and Sex Addiction Therapist
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