Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Misconceptions

I want to take some time and talk about some general stereotypes and misconceptions that commonly surround sexual addiction:  

Prior to starting recovery I myself had stereotyped women who I thought were sexually addicted.  I completely expected that when I first went to group I would see women in "mini skirts and hoochie boots."  I thought that me: a hard working, clean cut wife and mom would be the exception to the norm.  I was wrong.  I found that if I had met each sister at a Relief Society function instead of at group that I would not have been able to pick them out of the crowd and label them as a "sex addict."  In fact, they all looked like me; hard working, moms, students, professionals; women from all walks of life.  It's important to remember that this addiction is not prejudicial.  


Jeffrey R. Holland counsels in Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul:

Immoral activity is not just a man's problem, and husbands aren't the only ones offending.  The compromise available at the click of a mouse...is no respecter of persons, male or female, young or old, married or single."
God has given all of His children, male and female alike, the most wonderful and precious gift of sexuality for the purposes of procreation to provide bodies to all the awaiting Spirit children up in Heaven.  The gift of procreation is a huge part of our Father's plan, a plan that Satan is working vigilantly to disrupt.  He twists and warps this beautiful gift into something dirty and shameful.  Satan is "no respecter of persons." Anyone with a body is subject to this addiction.  Male, female, young, old, married, single, white, black, rich, poor.  Everyone is at risk of falling into this trap.

Another common misconception is that only people participating in extreme sexual behaviors are sexually addicted and that those who may have more mild behaviors fall under the category of just choosing to participate in 'bad habit.'  Even mild behaviors can be addictive.  It is not the behavior that determines whether or not a person is addicted, but instead the lack of ability to stop the behavior (see Sexual Addiction Defined). 


Some may wonder what behaviors fall under the sexual addiction umbrella.  Coming into awareness of having a sexual addiction is a very personal process that requires deep levels of honest self awareness.  I cannot determine whether someone is sexually addicted, however there are some questions that may help a person determine if they struggle with sexual addiction.  


These questions are direct and to the point.  I apologize if they are in any way offensive or triggering for anyone.  My intent is not to harm anyone, but to allow a space of honest reflection and a space where women can not feel so alone if they do struggle with something mentioned below.  If when reading this, you yourself find you relate to something on the list, you are not alone and there is hope.  


Some questions are taken from the book He Restoreth My Soul by Dr. Donald Hilton and others I have included based on my own experience as well as my experience as a sponsor.
  1. Do you watch sex scenes in movies?
  2. Do you read sexually explicit books?
  3. Do you sometimes fantasize about others attraction towards you?
  4. Do you dress and posture yourself so that others will be attracted to you or find you sexy?
  5. Do you have sexually suggestive or sexually explicit conversations, text messages (sexting), chats, video chats or instant messages?
  6. Do you have a problem with masturbation and/or pornography (including returning to it after long periods of abstinence)?
  7. Have you struggled with pornography and/or masturbation in the past and have significant sobriety but find yourself still craving them?
  8. Do you resort to sexual stimuli to escape, relieve anxiety, or because you can’t cope?
  9. Do you feel guilt, remorse or depression afterward?
  10. Do you have to resort to images or memories during sexual intimacy?
  11. Do you keep going from one “relationship” or lover to another?
  12. Do you feel the “right relationship” would help relieve your craving to act out?
  13. Do you have a destructive need – a desperate sexual or emotional need – for someone?
  14. Have you ever tried to stop or limit doing what you felt was wrong in your sexual behavior but seem to always return to it?
  15. Have you ever thought you needed help for your sexual thinking or behavior?
  16. Have you ever thought you would be better off if you didn’t keep “giving in?"
  17. Does your sexual behavior leave you feeling worthless and hopeless?
  18. Do you feel deeply embedded shame for your sexual behavior?
If you can relate to any of these questions, pray about it.  Be honest with yourself and Heavenly Father and if necessary seek the counsel of a friend, a counselor, your spouse or your Bishop. Admitting there is a problem and reaching out for help can be terrifying and extremely hard but you are not alone in that fear.  I have felt that exact same fear and so have many others.  The Savior also not only knows your fears but has felt the very fear you are feeling.

Richard G. Scott offers hope on this topic:

I cannot comprehend God’s power, his majesty, his perfections.  But I do understand something of his love, his compassion, his mercy.  There is no burden he cannot lift.  There is no heart he cannot purify and fill with joy.  There is no life he cannot cleanse and restore when one is obedient to his teachings… He is your Father; pray to him.  If your life is in disarray and you feel uncomfortable and unworthy to pray because you are not clean, don’t worry.  He already knows about all of that.  He is waiting for you to kneel in humility and take the first few steps.  Pray for strength.  Pray for others to be led to support you and guide you and lift you.  Pray that the love of the Savior will pour into your heart.  Pray that the miracle of the Atonement will bring forgiveness because you are willing to change.  I know that those prayers will be answered, for God loves you.  His Son gave his life for you.  I know they will help you.
I want to stress again that the Savior loves each one of us.  He will rescue us, each one.  We simply have to acknowledge that we are in need of rescuing.  

2 comments:

  1. Great post! I am glad you shared the misconceptions and questions. Your post really helped my husband and I have a way to talk openly about his addiction. I also felt that a few if those questions I could answer in the affirmative. We all have weaknesses. I am definitely one of those women that liked to dress up and make a mans head turn just to feel good about myself.

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    1. Wow, that's great that both of you are reading my posts. I'm glad it's greased the wheels of communication for you! :-) Please let me know if there is anything specific either of you would like to see me blog about:-)

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Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"