At Seeking Integrity, we treat adult males with intimacy disorders – primarily sex addiction, porn addiction, and paired substance/sex addiction. Before we accept clients into treatment, we assess them using the following criteria:
- Is the individual preoccupied to the point of obsession with sexual activity, pornography, or paired substance/sex use?
- Has the individual lost control over his sex, porn, or substance/sex behaviors? Generally, this is evidenced by multiple failed attempts to quit or cut back.
- Is the individual experiencing negative life consequences related to his sex, porn, or substance/sex behaviors? This may include ruined relationships, trouble at work or in school, social or emotional isolation, depression, anxiety, shame, diminished self-esteem, financial woes, legal issues, loss of interest in previously enjoyable interests and hobbies, etc.
Despite these clear criteria, there can be confusion about what we do and do not treat at Seeking Integrity. To address this, we’ve created this post delineating what we do NOT do.
- We do not attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation. Same-sex arousal patterns do not factor in the diagnosis of sex, porn, or substance/sex addiction, even if those arousal patterns are ego-dystonic (unwanted). Sometimes men engaging in same-sex fantasies and behaviors will seek out sex addiction treatment, hoping to change their arousal template. At times, this is suggested by a misguided clinician, clergy member, or family member. However, changing a person’s sexual orientation is not possible, and attempts to do so can be psychologically and emotionally counterproductive. This does not mean that we don’t treat men with same-sex arousal patterns. We do. But only if they meet our addiction-based criteria for admission. And even then, we do not ever attempt to change their arousal template; at most, we try to help them accept their same-sex attractions as a normal and healthy part of what turns them on.
- We do not attempt to change a person’s interest in kink or fetish behaviors. Kink and fetish behaviors like BDSM, foot worship, chubby chasing, and the like may cause a person to keep sexual secrets, to feel shame and distress, and even to feel out of control at times, but they are not indicators of sex, porn, or substance/sex addiction. The issues we treat at Seeking Integrity are not in any way defined by who or what it is that turns a person on. This does not mean we don’t treat individuals with kink or fetish attractions. We do. But only if they meet our addiction-based criteria for admission.
- We do not attempt to impose moral or religious standards of any kind onto human sexuality. In some quarters, there is a fear that sex, porn, and substance/sex addiction therapists are trying to be the new sex police, imposing moral, cultural, or religious values on sexuality. This fear is not entirely ungrounded, as there are at least a few misinformed, moralistic, or highly religious therapists who misuse the addiction diagnosis in this way. Homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, non-addictive porn use, casual sex, polyamory, kink, and fetishes – all of which fall within the spectrum of healthy adult sexuality – have at times been pathologized in this way. At Seeking Integrity, we believe that type of ‘treatment’ is not only ineffective, it’s harmful.
- We do not treat individuals who only engage in behaviors that look addictive as a symptom of bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or similar psychological issues. To accurately diagnose sex, porn, and substance/sex addiction, we must first rule out any number of major mental health disorders that can include addiction-like behaviors as a symptom. If the addiction-like behavior stops when the psychological disorder is in remission, that person does not need the treatment we offer. It is possible, however, to have one of these conditions and to also be a sex, porn, or substance/sex addict. If, for example, a man’s hypersexual behavior continues even when he is not in the manic phase of bipolar disorder (where hypersexuality is a common symptom), he may well be sexually addicted. If so, treatment for that issue, such as we offer at Seeking Integrity, is indicated.
We hope you find this explanation of what we do and, more importantly, what we do NOT treat at Seeking Integrity helpful. If you still have questions, please call us at 747.234.4325 or contact us via email at this link.