What a Jerk-off

Friday, August 20, 2010

Question

I am a young woman addicted to masturbation since late childhood. I sometimes masturbate out of real horniness (good), but the strong urges I feel between my legs are always related to feelings of guilt and stress (very, very bad). It's quite dif-fer-ent from actual horniness, and often I won't even think about sex but about plans for the future or whatever is stressing me.

There's no correlation between my real sex life and this. My main concerns are that a) it's very time-consuming when I'm most pressed for time, and b) I might get caught and freak someone out. (I'm so ashamed.)
I went on the Sex Addicts Anonymous website and got turned off by its association of the problem with lust, which I don't think is my problem. I'd like to know what other treatment options there are.

Answer

I'm with you there, Sore. While the 12-step model has proven lifesaving for countless people, it's also an outdated paradigm that merges the concept of addiction as disease with a re-quired admission of spiritual weak-ness. What happens when we re-place, say, the word "alcoholism" with"sex" in this equation? Sex is a disease over which you have no power. How are you to be expected to develop a healthy relationship with and understanding of your sexuality with a faith-based austerity plan as your guiding principle?

Let's also not forget that the 12-step model was created by Bill Wilson, a man who remained pre- and post-sobriety desperately addicted to cigarettes. It is also commonly understood that he was the originator of the custom of "13th Stepping," which in 12-step circles means sexually preying on newcomers to the program. Just think about that a bit, you know, when you're mulling over the value of fostering feelings like powerlessness and shame.

Look for a qualified therapist who identifies as sex-positive--someone for whom intimacy is not mired in these negative emotions.

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