Rick Miller LICSW


When Sex Isn’t About Pleasure

It’s time to get honest: Is sexual compulsivity running your life?

Posted Feb 05, 2015

“How come you won’t eat bread in public, but you’ll have sex with guys you don’t even know?” This question came up in a couples session in my office. Another client in a monogamous relationship said that if his partner cheated on him and gave another guy a blowjob he would be okay, but if he kissed another man, he would be really pissed. Such seemingly paradoxical thinking reflects the inconsistencies regarding the meaning of sex in the gay male community.

Given the level of sexual freedom that is a norm, many gay men are unable to even identify what healthy gay sexuality is.  Sometimes avoiding this type of honesty keeps people from recognizing that their sexual behaviors, which they define as normal for a gay male, are actually compulsive.

The quest, whether it serves as affirmation or distraction from life events, sometimes becomes the focus everyday (and night) life.  Logic and mindfulness fall away, as the intense craving that needs to be satisfied at all costs takes center stage.  Whether it’s sex, pornography use, masturbation, or excessive use of apps on smart phones, the desire must be met as the rest of life gets pushed into the background, neglected and ignored.

How do you know if sex is a problem?  Be honest about how much time you spend in its pursuit (in whatever form).

Are you unwilling or unable to place and maintain boundaries?

Do you find that you spend hours planning on how you will reward yourself with sexual behavior?

Are you avoiding close friends or intimate time with others in favor of masturbation or the chance of a hook-up?

Are you canceling plans or not even making them just in case an opportunity for sex may arise?

Are you hiding your computer use or smart phone from others so they don’t see your activity?

Have you noticed a slow increase in sexual behaviors, as other activities seem to decrease?

Is your behavior becoming secretive and ritualistic?

These are some of the questions we can ask ourselves.  And if you are willing to learn more, speak to a psychotherapist who works with issues pertaining to sexuality and gay men, or download “40 Questions for Self Diagnoses” from SLAA. Better yet, do both.

Sexual compulsivity is treatable. The incentive is a richer life and fuller relationships. You deserve both.  And what the heck, next time reach for the bread, and don’t worry about the carbs. 

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