Analyzing Sexual Behavior
Analyzing your sexual behavior is a major part of addiction recovery. By analyzing your past behaviors and habits, you can start to recognize patterns and begin working hard to reprogram them into healthier, happier ones.
Healthy vs Destructive
To start, you need to be able to understand the difference between healthy and destructive behaviors. Understanding the boundaries between each will help you get to the root of your addiction. Next, we’ll go over some healthy behaviors as well as some destructive ones.
- Telling the truth and being honest with your partner
- Taking an active interest in your partner’s life, asking questions and getting to know them
- Complimenting your partner in a healthy way, not from a place of need.
- Acting appropriately for the level of your relationship. For example, not rushing into intimacy within the first few weeks but rather getting to know each other fully first.
- Lying about yourself or simply by omission of information
- Isolating yourself from family and friends
- Rationalizing your behaviors
- Spending time with certain people because you don’t have anyone else to be around
- Having sex simply because you haven’t had it in a while, not because you feel love and intimacy for your partner
To read more information regarding signs of sexual addiction, read our previous blog post here. If you find yourself nodding in agreement to any of the destructive behaviors listed, then keep reading below.
Self awareness means having the ability to identify and understand your needs and emotions, and then being able to respond to them appropriately. By recognizing your past and becoming self aware of yourself, you stand a much better chance of succeeding in sexual addiction recovery.
There are several factors in life that may have encouraged you to develop negative thoughts and habits regarding sex. Below are just a few of them:
The environment in which you grew up can have a major impact on your sexual habits as an adult. For example, if you grew up in a home that habitually suppressed discussions of sexual health, or in any way made sex seem bad or unnatural, then you may have taken that fear into your adulthood.
On the contrary, if you grew up in a home that overly emphasized sex and exposed you to unhealthy discussions or situations, then this may have had an impact as well.
Bad influences in your younger years can also cause you to turn down a path of sexual misbehavior. If you’re constantly taught that it’s terrible and meaningless, or that it’s simply transactional, then you will take this belief with you well into your adult years.
Mistreatment and assault
Another factor that may have caused you to harbor negative thoughts and habits regarding sex is mistreatment and assault. If you were sexually mistreated or assaulted by an adult while you were a child, this may have caused you to develop negative feelings and emotions regarding sex that have since developed into a sexual addiction. For further information, please seek a counseling professional.
One of the biggest reasons recovering addicts seek help is to heal their shame. Shame in their behaviors, shame in their feelings and emotions, and shame in letting their family and friends down.
However, there is no need to feel shame in your addiction. There are very real causes and emotions associated with your behaviors and developing a self awareness of those will help you seek a healthy recovery.
First, you must take responsibility for your sexual misbehavior in the past. Recognizing that your actions were wrong and caused you more harm them good will allow you to move forward towards a better future.
Once you have taken responsibility for your actions, then you can seek forgiveness within yourself and from those you care about.
Forgiving yourself may be difficult at first but harboring guilt will only hold you back in recovery. You must accept the things you can’t change and move forward with the intention of healing and positivity.
Once you’ve forgiven yourself, you can seek the forgiveness of others. This may be from friends, family, or even a spouse who has been directly affected. Open and honest communication is key here, and allowing them time to express their feelings is just as important as receiving their forgiveness.
If you’re looking for a fantastic book regarding sexual addiction and recovery, then you should pick up a copy of “Erotic Intelligence” by Alexandra Katehakis, MFT. There are tons of real-life stories and professional advice within it, including 10 self-forgiveness reminders.
There are 10 self-forgiveness reminders in her book, but below are 5 of them. If you are harboring shame and resentment towards yourself or others, repeat these to yourself daily:
- I let go of my own personal judgements, understanding that I was acting out.
- Forgiving myself changes me positively, allowing for a better recovery.
- I make mistakes and own up to them. I apologize to myself and others and start over with a greater understanding.
- I give myself permission to forgive my past mistakes and move forward with a clear conscious.
- Forgiveness doesn’t happen instantly and it may take time to find it.
Seek professional advice
Coeur d’Alene Counseling, Inc. is a sex addiction treatment center located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We are dedicated to treating the devastating effects of porn and sex addiction and our services help addicts and partners of addicts live their best lives in recovery.
Call now and schedule your appointment. Sex addiction does not have to define you. Let us help!