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sexual compulsion

Ever since my days of teaching Sociology at local Bay Area colleges, I have had an interest in how sexuality and sex roles affect the ways that men and women relate to each other. We are sexual animals, but how we manage our sexual energy often creates pain and misunderstanding. I have worked for more than 30 years with child and adult victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse. Through this work, I have seen how a normal aspect of our common humanity has been misused for personal gratification. When mutual consent is absent, abuse is inevitable.

We often feel uncomfortable about our bodies and our sexual feelings. For many of us, our self-esteem is directly connected to our sexuality. In our culture we are inundated with sexually provocative images, but the subject of sexuality is so loaded with shame, it is almost impossible to discuss. Like anything that feels good, what we do with our sexual energy can become compulsive. However, labeling any sexual behavior as "addictive" doesn't help us to understand it.

Because we typically view fidelity and monogamy as essential aspects of a committed relationship, anything that deviates from this (often unstated) belief can be seen as a betrayal. Whether we desire a different way to express ourselves sexually, more variety, another partner, or we retreat into pornographic fantasies, we often do not talk about these feelings. Even as adults, the most difficult aspect of our sexuality continues to be honest communication.

For many therapists, issues involving sexual abuse, pornography, and sexual problems can be "the elephant in the room" that creates considerable anxiety or avoidance. Even if you have tried therapy in the past, it would be surprising if sexuality was ever explored. Or, if it was, the discussion did not go very far or produce anything that felt like a resolution for you or your partner. If these are feelings and concerns you have struggled with, I can help.

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