It’s neither a secret nor a revelation that out culture is over sexualized. I will even say that our society has had a dark history of objectification of sex and specifically objectifying women. Sexuality is used to get our attention, to promote, and to sell. Take one look at the Carl’s Jr. hamburger ads. Men and women alike are inundated with such sexualized images and messages on a daily basis.
In my practice, I have found many of the men and women who have issues with sexual compulsion have been taught in a very overt way to view men and women through a sexual lens. This lens is not just being focus on objectifying women from a man, with today’s fluid sexual culture it can definitely swing like a wrecking ball across many sexual identities; gay, hetrosexual, transsexual, pansexual or anything on the continuum of sexuality.
Two words were brought into focus this week in the office, integration and disassociation. A cultural concern is many of folks I talk with and meet are using pornography or running away cheating to disassociate from asking for what they want from their relationship. Pornography and even infidelity is looked upon culturally as a norm. If someone asked you about what you think is a sexual addiction, what would you say? I personally have heard the following…. It’s evolution, All people do it… Men are born this way… This is just how guys are wired. Don’t slut shame.. I have my sexual freedom too. And specifically relating to pornography, they often say, this has nothing to do with my relationship. Other clients will say this is the culture, bumble, tinder, grinder there hook up sites not dating sites. Get with the times.
On the other hand many of my clients are learning how to integrate what they really want from their sex life and having plenty of healthy sex while they are at it. Monogamous, Polyamorous or their unique version…
What is integration of your sexual needs?
Learn to get comfortable with asking for what you want.
Getting comfortable with your instinctive response to sexuality. Some people are more comfortable and know what they want. If you are uncertain with the idea of exploring your desires, first, follow your instinct. I have actually worked with some clients that thought they were sexually compulsive; only to find out they don’t like sex at all and they were conditioned to be “sexual” or objectify the other person because they were taught it in porn or through abuse. Don’t let anyone tell you what is ok, if you don’t feel comfortable.
Allow yourself to experience the feelings without over indulging or repressing them.
In an instant of feeling sexual or needing sex, give yourself time to feel into the true desire. Is the feeling purely hypersexual or are there twinges of emotional needs wanting to be met. Bridging your impulse and making sure you don’t surrender to it will help you become more in tune with integrating your sexuality. Often repressing it can be just as dangerous too. Remember understanding acceptance is what could be the ultimate potential with a healthy sexual experience: Patience, Understanding, and Compassion for you and your partner(s) is important too.
Make the choices from a vulnerable place.
I often say, “Exploring vulnerability expands confidence.” When I am helping clients with their relationship with pornography addiction or a sexual concern I encourage the person to explore being vulnerable in places that are not sexual and see how it feels. For example, do something different – going out to a movie by yourself if you are an extrovert it might feel weird. Developing a new capacity to be out of your comfort zone eventually builds confidence. Your ability to see what you really want and what it is you do not care for is yours to explore.
Healthy integration in sex is not through objectifying or disassociating. Rather healthy integration starts with getting comfortable with yourself and developing what you think is your core sexual identity. I will talk more about core sexual identity in the following writings. Stay tune and remember Make Love Not Porn.
Dr. Ryan Westrum, is a sex therapist that educates, counsels and supports individuals working to find an authentic relationships with their sexuality. Please contact him for a complementary consultation at 952-261-5269 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.