No matter the quality or quantity of sex, some people remain hungry for more and more sex. It’s as though they are sexually insatiable. Most often, their insatiable sexual hunger is related to deep-rooted psychological factors. Toxic early childhood relationships can influence their sexual hunger in adulthood. Although sex addicts can be male or female, for discussion purposes, I will use the female pronouns here. Insatiable sexual hunger is not really a desire ─an act of will─ but rather a desperate need, a compulsion that is experienced as a craving. The need is pursued like a drug. Although sex addicts are enslaved to sex, it is far from their goal. Rather, the pursuit of sex is in service of a different goal─ to dispel feelings of inadequacy, depression, anxiety, rage or other feelings that the sex addict experiences as unbearable. Like a drug addict or alcoholic, the sex addict relentlessly seeks satisfaction from an external source to palliate an internal pain. Here’s a little of what goes on in the brain of sex addicts. The brain’s dopamine receptors ─ the pleasure-reward system─ is activated during sex, drugs, alcohol, or gambling. In the case of sex addicts who quickly slide down into despair after the sex act, their dopamine receptors are left hungry for more sex. These primed dopamine receptor, thus, crave more sex. A craving is, thus, set up biologically and psychologically. Fixes provide a state of ecstasy, calm, nirvana. Alas the shot of nirvana during the sex act lasts only as long as the magic of sex wears off. Result? The sex addict is rendered emptier, distressed, and fragmented. To quell these painful feelings, she is compelled to resume her pursuit for her next fix. As you can see, the sex act is not borne out of love, but performs the function of a drug to satisfy the primed dopamine receptors. Of no consequence other than to provide the sex addict with a fix, the sex object is indispensable. Rather than desiring a sexual partner, the sex addict craves the sexual object─ her fix. She is constantly seeking to repair early deprivations and to palliate depression, anxiety, self-esteem blows. How do sex addicts recover? Twelve step programs work for some people. For others, I recommend deep analytic therapy that focuses on visiting the past, but living in the moment, learning coping skills, finding internal satisfaction, pursuing healthy passions that fulfill the emptiness. From an article by Frances Cohen Praver, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-doc/200910/what-drives-sex-addict
that you dated
somebody is just
a polite way
of saying we banged
a couple of times.
While men make up about 10 percent of patients with anorexia and bulimia, both sexes struggle almost equally with binge eating. According to the Binge Eating Disorder Association, 40 percent of the estimated 10 million Americans who binge eat are men. Binge eating is defined as consuming large amounts of food within a two-hour period at least twice per week, combined with loss of control. Those struggling with this disorder often consume thousands of calories in one sitting, followed by an overwhelming sense of shame and self-loathing, which leads to further binging. The causes and underlying mechanisms of binge eating are similar to other eating disorders. Binge eaters may suffer from low self-esteem, past trauma or weight-related bullying, or use food to numb emotions and cope with stress. One factor that differentiates binge eating in men and women is that it is more likely to go unnoticed in men. Even if they are overweight or obese, as an estimated 70 percent of people with binge disorder are, eating more and carrying more weight are more socially acceptable for men than women. Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other weight-related health conditions are common, as are mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Binge eating, like other eating disorders, can impact a man’s career, relationships and every area of his life. Compounding the problem is the reality that many men do not seek treatment for fear of appearing weak, strange or like less of a man. Although men may not reach out for help as often, treatment is equally effective for men as it is for women. There are also support groups and eating disorder treatment programs, some of which have specialized tracks for men. From an article by Carolyn C. Ross, M.D., M.P.H http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201210/binge-eating-in-men-0
We have it in our head
that if we fill our stomachs,
we’ll fill our hearts.
No one factor is thought to cause sexual addiction, but there is thought to be biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to the development of these disorders. For example, the intoxication associated with sexual addiction is thought to be the result of changes in certain areas and chemicals in the brain that are elicited by the compulsion. Research differs somewhat in terms of gender-based patterns of sexual addiction. For example, some studies describe males who are introverted and highly educated as more inclined to develop an Internet addiction, including sexual Internet addiction. Other studies indicate that middle-aged women using home computers were more at risk for Internet sexual addiction. Psychological risk factors for sexual addiction are thought to include depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. The presence of a learning disability increases the risk of developing a sex addiction as well. As people with a history of suffering from any addiction are at risk for developing another addiction, being dependent on something else makes it more likely for sexual addiction to occur. Sufferers of these disorders tend to be socially isolated and have personality traits like insecurity, impulsivity, compulsive behaviors, trouble with relationship stability and intimacy, low ability to tolerate frustration, and a tendency to have trouble coping with emotions. People who are sexually abused are at somewhat higher risk of developing a sexual addiction. By Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD and Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD http://www.medicinenet.com/sexual_addiction/page2.htm#what_are_causes_and_risk_factors_for_sexual_addiction
Just as a heroin addict chases
a substance-induced high,
sex addicts are bingeing
on chemicals — in this case,
their own hormones.
There are a number of reasons why men gamble. Money is one, the emotional states gambling can engender is another. Some men gamble for the high… the action. For others gambling covers over problems of depression, panic attacks, mania, drug and alcohol abuse. Most gamblers are men. In 2005 The National Council on Problem Gambling estimated that, of the approximately 2.9 million young people between the ages of 14 and 22 gambling on cards on a weekly basis, 80% are male. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates 1% of American adults (nearly 3 million people) are pathological gamblers. Another 2%–3% have less serious but still significant problems. They fear that overall as many as 15 million people are at risk from gambling. There are a number of signs & symptoms that could indicate a problem with gambling:
• You secretly gamble.
• Your gambling makes you take time away from work and family commitments.
• You try quitting gambling but then start again and again losing money that is needed to pay bills.
• You lie, steal, borrow or sell things to get gambling money
• You gamble to win back losses. You dream of the “big win” that keeps you in a spiral of debt.
• You gamble when you feel down or when you feel like celebrating.
• Relationships are breaking down because of your gambling.
By Jerry Kennard http://menshealth.about.com/od/psychologicalissues/a/Men_Gambling.htm
The sure way
of getting nothing
Gamblers Anonymous http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/
Long before the Internet, the father of modern sexology warned of desensitization. Alfred C. Kinsey cautioned his photographer Clarence Tripp that, “As soon as we get you to photographing sex every day and paying attention to sex right, left and center, pretty soon nothing will turn you on, nothing in the area, nothing visual will turn you on. Because you’ll lose all those sensitivities.” In fact, however, desensitization is having a major impact today. The more some people rely on cyber erotica, the more frequently they may feel the “need” to climax, and the more extreme material they often require to get the job done. For many, erections also grow weaker. Escalation and youthful erectile dysfunction are often signs that someone is inadvertently numbing the brain to subtler pleasures. Desensitization is an addiction process related to a drop in dopamine sensitivity. Nora Volkow MD, Director of NIDA, explains, “Once the brain becomes less sensitive to dopamine, it “becomes less sensitive to natural reinforcers” such as the “pleasure of seeing a friend, watching a movie, or the curiosity that drives exploration.” Tragically, the now-less-enjoyable pleasures often include the rewarding feelings of human touch and close, trusted companionship. This is how extreme stimuli can indirectly interfere with our innate pair-bonding tendencies—causing dissatisfied unions. Becoming restless in your relationship due to too much porn use isn’t a character defect. It occurs because too much stimulation causes physical changes in your brain. The good news is that former users can indeed reverse this desensitization. They give their brains a rest from frequent sexual stimulation (sexual fantasy, masturbation, orgasm) and steer clear of porn. It’s tough. Most experience weeks of uncomfortable, temporary withdrawal symptoms, such as mood swings (irritability, anxiety, despair, apathy, restlessness), insomnia, fatigue, very frequent urination, intense cravings or flat libido, etc. How we use our sexual desire appears to have a powerful influence on how loudly we hear our pair-bonding programming. Unlike us, our ancestors weren’t driven by unending, novel erotic visuals to climax beyond normal satiety. They were more likely to allow their brains and bodies to rest and renew themselves. Returning the brain to homeostasis in between passion bouts may turn out to be very healthy for those who want relationships. The greater the brain’s sensitivity to pleasure, the more rewarding we perceive our intimate relationships. From an article by Marnia Robinson & Gary Wilson http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201202/guys-who-gave-porn-sex-and-romance
Addiction doesn’t kill the addict.
It kills the family, kids
and people who tried to help!
Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. While each drug produces different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common: repeated use can alter the way the brain looks and functions. Taking a recreational drug causes a surge in levels of dopamine in your brain, which trigger feelings of pleasure. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated. If you become addicted, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival behaviors, such as eating and drinking. Changes in your brain interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behavior, and feel normal without drugs. Whether you’re addicted to inhalants, heroin, Xanax, speed, or Vicodin, the uncontrollable craving to use grows more important than anything else, including family, friends, career, and even your own health and happiness. The urge to use is so strong that your mind finds many ways to deny or rationalize the addiction. You may drastically underestimate the quantity of drugs you’re taking, how much it impacts your life, and the level of control you have over your drug use. People who experiment with drugs continue to use them because the substance either makes them feel good, or stops them from feeling bad. In many cases, however, there is a fine line between regular use and drug abuse and addiction. Very few addicts are able to recognize when they have crossed that line. by Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Joanna Saisan, M.S.W. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/drug_substance_abuse_addiction_signs_effects_treatment.htm
Here I am trying to live,
or rather, I am trying to
teach the death within
me how to live.
In codependent relationships there is a lack of personal boundaries as well as respect for complete honesty. Often there is level of secrecy that exists between the couple that they tend to hide from others. One partner is usually the caretaker and unknowingly controlled by the moods, ideas, whims, and behavior of the other. The caretaker is usually on a mission to keep their partner happy, stable and content. Unfortunately the caretaker often finds that they need to disown their own gut instincts for the sake of the happiness of their partner.Telling their partner the truth usually means emotional upset will erupt. The partner being taken care of is perceived as weaker in some way to the caretaker. This perceived helplessness, is a manipulative tactic that keeps the caretaker indebted to the needs of the taker. The taker is usually highly emotional, overreactive, perceived as fragile and unable to deal with living life on their own terms without demanding someone else assume responsibility for their happiness. Codependent relationships are dysfunctional and do not work in the long run. If codependent relationships continue, both partners suffer terribly as time goes on. The caretakers wind up feeling used, drained, frustrated, angry and resentful. The taker in the relationship continues on in life assuming others are responsible for their state of being. Their relationships are never authentic, because their caretakers often feel they must conceal their true feelings for the sake of the others happiness.The true shameful reality is, no one in the relationship ever get to be who they really are. The good news is that once you see the role you have assumed in your relationships clearly, you can change it. From an article by Lisa A. Romano http://www.examiner.com/article/codependency-and-how-it-destroys-relationships
Caretaking is never
about the other person.
It’s about wanting
to feel needed
because you’re afraid
you’re not wanted.
A codependent man is a man who is often a high functioning husband with a wife who has a physical, mental, and spiritual need for a mind-altering substance, such as alcohol or drugs. His wife’s extreme need for her substance has caused her for years to manipulate this man by every means known to a woman who has stood up before institutions full of relatives, a respected preacher, and God pledging his total allegiance to her for life “…till death do them part.” Almost all of the literature on codependency is written by women for women, leaving the codependent man basically unstudied. This is for a very simple reason. He is under everybody’s radar screen because he has to be! …the twin diseases of alcoholism and codependency have isolated him. His preoccupation with an alcoholic wife has robbed him of the time and energy to form trusting relationships with other men, and he pays a tremendous internal price for that missing element. It is not only his lack of time to develop relationships with other men that isolates this codependent man. His various defense mechanisms such as perfectionism and over-achievement serve to make other men shun him. There is also his underlying anger, mostly born of fear. Other men sense this. He is so obviously not at ease in his own skin. He over-reacts, especially to any slight criticism. So his ears are either perked in constant high alert, or flattened with anger and frustration. His frustration, though constant, cannot be voiced for an important reason; he cannot identify it! It is called denial. Denial is his most immediate and user-friendly shock absorber against the painful emotional shocks delivered at random from his first family during childhood. Studies show that most codependent men came from highly dysfunctional families that included at least one alcoholic or addicted parent. All he ever knew was this existence, so that feels normal. He just went out and found a wife who would treat him in the same way that the people who were supposed to love him unconditionally always did. A little boy can’t win against big parents, and a beaten-down man can’t win against an abusive addicted wife. http://www.articlesbase.com/mens-health-articles/we-codependent-men-we-mute-coyotes-629880.html
If I treat you
the way you treated me,
then you would hate me.
Sushan R Sharma
Some people are able to use recreational or prescription drugs without ever experiencing negative consequences or addiction. For many others, substance use can cause problems at work, home, school, and in relationships, leaving you feeling isolated, helpless, or ashamed. If you’re worried about your own or a friend or family member’s drug use, it’s important to know that help is available. Learning about the nature of drug abuse and addiction—how it develops, what it looks like, and why it can have such a powerful hold—will give you a better understanding of the problem and how to best deal with it.People experiment with drugs for many different reasons. Many first try drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, because friends are doing it, or in an effort to improve athletic performance or ease another problem, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Use doesn’t automatically lead to abuse, and there is no specific level at which drug use moves from casual to problematic. It varies by individual. Drug abuse and addiction is less about the amount of substance consumed or the frequency, and more to do with the consequences of drug use. No matter how often or how little you’re consuming, if your drug use is causing problems in your life—at work, school, home, or in your relationships—you likely have a drug abuse or addiction problem. Why do some drug users become addicted, while others don’t? As with many other conditions and diseases, vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person. Your genes, mental health, family and social environment all play a role in addiction. Risk factors that increase your vulnerability include: family history of addiction, abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences in childhood, mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, early use of drugs and method of administration—smoking or injecting a drug may increase its addictive potential. By Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Joanna Saisan, M.S.W.
Imagine trying to live without air.
Now imagine something worse.
Everything was enemy to me. I used denial as a defense mechanism, a way to preserve my ego and pride. I would not admit to myself that I was weak and needed help. This is how I built my monsters. I started to self medicate. Towards the end of high school and the first semester of college, I used alcohol heavily at the worst times. I would seek it out on the weekends and drink alone in the corners of house parties and in the back seat of parked cars. This was not a social activity. I smoked cigarettes in the same secretive way. When I had happy and together moments in life, I abstained from drinking and smoking – to this day, I don’t enjoy either. When I was in the valleys – when I hurt – alcohol and cigarette tobacco always arrived. The emotional abuse I saddled on those around me remains the worse product of my depression. I allowed depression to burden not only me, but two girlfriends, my family, and my closest friends. One girl could not deal with it and ended up leaving me. The other stuck around longer, and I abused her emotions without knowing it. I was terrifyingly cold and unfeeling, even as she broke down into tears and begged me to say anything. I made her feel responsible for anything that went wrong in my life. I left her more than once without warning, but would soon come back and manipulate her damaged emotions to get back together. All of it was a way for me to artificially build myself back up. I was trying to destroy my depression, but I ended up harming the most vulnerable people in my life. Cowardice and dishonesty dictated my thinking. What underlies all these abuses is a fundamental disgust and anger with one’s self. I manipulated the emotions of everyone around me to bring them down to my level and feel better about my station in life. Admitting my weakness terrified me so much that I went out and tore away. The booze and cigarettes, I think, show a self-destructive streak common to all those who suffer with depression. Although the exact motives for self-destructive thoughts vary, they usually revolve around the ideas that a man cannot deal with such a great burden or, as in my case, that a man is not worth it, that he does not deserve to live because of such weakness. . By S.M. Leahy http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/09/01/dealing-with-male-depression/
I didn’t want to wake up.
I was having a much better
time asleep. And that’s really sad.
It was almost like a reverse nightmare,
like when you wake up from a nightmare
you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”