Friday, December 31, 2010

Polyamory and Sex Addiction

I have recently developed an interest in learning more about the subject of sex addiction/compulsion in the context of a poly, sex-positive existence. If you have experience with this and would be interested in sharing your experience with me, please contact me at Your story will be kept confidential. Hopefully together we can develop resources to serve those who find themselves in this difficult situation.

For the record, I am well aware of the controversy surrounding sex addiction - some call it sexual compulsion instead and believe that it should not be pathologized as its own DSM diagnosis when it is really likely a form of obsessive/compulsive disorder. They also worry that SA having its own diagnosis will lead to its being misapplied, especially by therapists trying to make a buck off the health insurance industry, which often requires a specific DSM diagnosis before it will pay claims for SAs in treatment.

It has come to my attention that there are those amongst us who suffer mightily from this affliction, be they the addict or the addict's partner(s), and usually in secrecy due to shame. There is a lot of shame and secrecy around it for all SAs and their partners. And traditional means of treating sex addiction require a sexual diet that consists only on sex with one's primary partner in private, no porn watching, and no masturbation. Certainly no sex parties or sex-positive events.

Even sex-positive, poly-friendly therapists are known to give this status quo edict, though SA's are also in some 12 step programs encouraged to create the sexual and relationship scenario that works for them and is stable and manageable, rather than shame-laden and unmanageable. And the poly partners of SAs are sometimes not well received in support groups for partners of SAs, most of whom have/had an expectation of monogamy and are even traumatized in some cases by their discovery that their SA partner acts out by viewing porn and masturbating. It's not common for mono partners of SAs to approve of this and perceive it to be about some failure on their part. This cultural dichotomy leaves the poly SA and their partners feeling further isolated and alone and in need of support, as well as misunderstood.

So if you have experience in this area or know someone who does and can refer me to them or them to me, would love to hear from you and/or them - thanks!

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