We seek and support sexual health
Recovery from sex addiction isn’t about suppressing our sexuality, ignoring sensuality, or refusing opportunities to date, make out, or be intimate. Instead, we learn incrementally to reconnect sexuality with values like intimacy, honesty, and trust.
Also, there is a clear distinction between being celibate and being abstinent from those deleterious sexual acts which helped ruin our lives. "Many sex addicts new to recovery worry that sexual sobriety mirrors chemical sobriety, where permanent abstinence is nearly always the goal," says Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, senior VP of clinical development at Elements Behavioral Health. "Fortunately, sexual sobriety is not defined in this way. Instead, sexual addiction is handled much like an eating disorder -- another area in which long-term abstinence is simply not feasible. So instead of permanently abstaining from all sexual activity, recovering sex addicts learn to be sexual in non-compulsive, non-problematic, life-affirming ways."
Our modus operandi differ
I personally abstain, one day at a time, from all pornography, unhealthy sexual relationships, and unsafe sexual relations. That doesn’t mean I don’t have sex, don’t masturbate, or don’t date or flirt. Like any addict, my triggers are unique to me.
A sex addict’s “drug of choice” varies just as much as the bandwidth of healthy sexual expression. Someone sitting next to me at a 12-step meeting may be totally fine with porn, but can’t stop soliciting prostitutes, cruising bookstores, or having anonymous sex. Dr. Rory Reid, a research psychologist at UCLA, says that becoming healthier involves “[getting] brutally honest with oneself, establishing healthy boundaries, better stress-coping strategies, and cultivating emotional intelligence to address life challenges in adaptive ways rather than turning to sex as a form of escape.” Regardless of the trigger, we are learning how not to participate in self-destructive patterns but instead find healthy sexual expressions for ourselves.