Aston Martin

An Aston Martin is one of those cars that many, if not most, people dream of driving someday. Relatively few of these people actually get to drive one, let alone have one, but is certainly a fun dream. Driving is a very fun activity for many people, although the long commutes that increasing people have to drive on a daily basis have detracted from that somewhat. This has led to an increase in people separating out fun driving and necessary driving, and so cars have also been sorted into fun cars and practical cars. You won’t drive a fun car for practical activities not just because of the lack of practicality, but also because you don’t want your fun car to become associated with boring, dull, and disliked activities.

Well, if you’re going to separate out fun cars and practical cars, I think it would be cool to have a fun activity superstore for adults where you got to do fun things that you cannot afford to make a part of your daily life. Things like driving an Aston Martin around the activity superstore parking lot, or having a section of the activity superstore that is dedicated to spa and salon style activities (whirlpools, saunas, massages, meditation, yoga, hair and nail stylists, etc.). Perhaps the activity superstore could have a section with the latest in technology that you could play with, like the latest gaming, tv and movies, computer technology, cameras, etc.

The activity superstore could also have things for sale or for rent as well (an interesting concept, renting technology or cool stuff like a motorcycle or Aston Martin, but just for a week or weekend). It could be nearly like a grown-ups theme park, but instead of pretending you are a child, in the activity superstore you can pretend that you are in an Aston Martin, pretend that you are a professional photographer using the latest 3D camera technology from Japan.

While some might say that this is pandering to the materialistic culture of today, allowing people to pretend that they are rich without actually having to work for their own wealth, and while they do have some point, there could be a place for an activity superstore like this. Perhaps this would help keep some people from feeling like they have to spend their whole life working to get this things. Perhaps some people would be encouraged by it. But really, it doesn’t matter what you do, activity superstore or not, people will still be as they are.

Therapy for Sex Addiction: Dealing With Intimacy

Any definition, discussion or exploration of compulsive sexuality begins thusly:

“Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder characterized by” blah, blah, blah.

Then it goes on to name the symptoms: pre-occupation with thoughts sexual; persistent, unrelenting urges to sexually act out; continued use despite adverse consequences, loss of control and so forth.

Such definitions are frustratingly vague. While emphasis is given to the symptoms of sex addiction, the idea of it being “an intimacy disorder” never seems to be addressed. This is unfortunate, indeed. I think a “disordered” pattern of intimate relations is at the core and foundation of this debilitating syndrome.

Vanilla sex addiction, fetishism, exhibitionism/voyeurism, BDSM, and all the other various and moribund kinds of sexual perversions are fueled by the very basic (and healthy) motivation to connect.

Sadly, somehow or other, the urge to connect is misfired. Rather than seeking a real relationship with a real person who might, in fact, satisfy some of one’s real relational needs, the sexually compulsive tries to connect with the “unreal” in fantasy. It is a solo act. Sex, for a person who has a perversion or addiction, is always a narcissistic, self-centered endeavor. It is not related sex. The endorphin rush of the sexual high is so dear to them that it precludes any idea of sharing sexual pleasure with a cherished one in the service of enhancing a bond.

What is intimacy?

Let’s look at the word “intimacy”. From the dictionary: the word is derived from the Latin intima, meaning “inner” or “inner-most.” The definition suggests that to be intimate, you need to know your real self. This ability to be in touch with our inner core is a requisite to being intimate.

Our intima holds the innermost part of ourselves, our most profound feelings, our enduring motivations, our values, our sense of right and wrong and our most embedded convictions about life. Importantly, our intima also includes that which enables us to express these innermost aspects of our person to “the other”.

So, to be in relationship, and to know yourself/your partner sexually, you need to know and respect your intima. The intima is also the way in which we value and esteem ourselves and determines how we are with being with others. To put it simply, if don’t value yourself, you can’t value another. If you’re not aware of needs and wants, or are shamed by them, then sex becomes no more than a fuck.

I think every person I’ve ever seen in my consulting room for sexual compulsions suffers from estrangement from his intimus. We can survive the disapproval of others. The feeling can be painful, but it’s nothing compared to the disapproval of ourselves. Your personal well being and your ability to love another cannot survive your dislike or disrespect of yourself. If you dislike yourself, you’ll never be comfortable with your sexuality.

It bears repeating… the outstanding quality of intimacy is the sense of being in touch with our real selves. When “the other” also knows and is able to express his/her real self, intimacy happens. Sexuality is both an expression of that intimacy and a bond that enhances intimacy. With this kind of personal/sexual intimacy, our growth experience as humans is energized, enhanced, and fueled. Intimacy is the most meaningful and courageous of human experiences. It’s why people long for it so.

The Perils of Intimacy

However, despite this universal longing, fear and avoidance of intimacy is a reality for many people. People fear and even dread that which they most long for. No wonder there’s such a demand for psychotherapists!

So why would people fear, avoid or sabotage this wonderful thing called intimacy and, in the process, avoid person-related sex?

Sexual compulsion is the end point, the tip of the iceberg, if you will, of a long history of developmental events that begin in early attachment difficulties with caretakes, subsequent overwhelming experiences the child is unable to assimilate, an impaired ability to regulate feelings and impaired self-development.

The capacity for bonding with others is vital for human survival and well-being. Our capacity for intimacy is formed in the crucible of the first two years of life. Mothers that are needy, narcissistic, depressed, enmeshed (over-involved), distant, too protective, controlling, chronically angry, addicted to substances, frustrated with their husbands and displace their needs onto their children… raise children who have the psychic imprint of closeness as being dangerous. They also raise children who will carry self-hatred into their adult lives unless they get good treatment.

If the child’s need for attention, soothing, stimulation, affection, touch, discipline, validation, and so on goes unmet, or is met with feedback that is punishing, invalidating or rejecting, the consequences are woven into the structure of the developing personality. Such children may turn into themselves and disconnect from others, regulating their emotions through the use of substances or process addiction, like sex. They fail to learn to utilize others to soothe or comfort themselves. This increases the child’s vulnerability to mental health problems. These people actively seek familiar environmental interaction, thereby recreating and reenacting familiar early rejections and frustrations with others. They spend their lives further cementing their original isolation.

They develop a rigid defense system (boundaries, walls, turning inward to not need others) in order to psychologically survive. But what worked for them as children doesn’t work for them as adults. For these people, the vulnerability of intimacy harkens back to a time when they were vulnerable as children and they fear re-traumatization in their current relationship.

When a person like this is loved – seen in an affirmative light and encouraged to grow and change – this rigid defensive structure is threatened, so their psychological equilibrium is disrupted. Being loved is not congruent with the negative tapes they run about themselves. They can’t allow the reality of being loved to affect their basic defensive structure. Being vulnerable and open to change feels so threatening that they eschew close relationships and mature sexuality.

Entering into a relationship without having some resolution of childhood wounds results in various kinds of fear of intimacy: fear of being found inadequate, fear of engulfment, fear of the loss of control, fear of losing autonomy, fear of attack, fear of disappointment and betrayal, fear of guilt and fear of rejection and abandonment and so forth.

For this reason, I believe that current sex addiction therapy doesn’t go far enough. Focusing on symptom change techniques, such as relapse prevention, abstinence and social skills training, is necessary, but not sufficient. Successful treatment for sexual compulsions ultimately depends on a depth-approach that can ameliorate the underlying attachment disorders and manifestations in adult intimacy. Literally, a new pattern of way of attaching needs to be “carved” into the brain – the person learns a totally different model of relating.

Personal Change and the Importance of Goals In Overcoming Sex or Porn Addiction

There is an old Cornish Proverb that says ‘Those who will not be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rock”. This is in reference to the strands of Cornwall England where so many ships were run aground or wrecked in the middle ages because they failed to navigate the passageways to get their ships safely to shore. The application to us is that if we do not listen to reason and or take control of our lives then we must suffer the consequences of just going wherever life takes us.

There is another way that this Proverb can read and that is “Those who will not be ruled by the rutter must be ruled by the rock”. What? You might say? Did I spell it wrong? Actually no and let me explain why. The word “rudder” means the vertical blade at the stern of a vessel that can be turned to guide the direction of the ship. The word “rutter” is actually a more little known word that most do not know. The word “rutter” as defined by dictionary.com as

“A descriptive atlas of the Middle Ages, giving sailing directions and providing charts showing rhumb lines and the location of ports and various coastal features.”

We may also want to define “rhumb” while we are at it: “A curve on the surface of a sphere that cuts all meridians at the same angle. It is the path taken by a vessel or aircraft that maintains a constant compass direction”.

A ship that is ruled by a “rudder” is one that is ruled by a physical or fairly rudimentary device that all ships have – they just don’t build them without them and if they did no one would buy them. The “rudder’ needs to be operated by someone to affect the ships direction and that “operator” needs to have the knowledge of “where” and “how” to turn the vessel to guide it safely to its destination.

The “rutter” really is the key to guiding the ship or vessel safely to its destination because the “rutter” or map is one that has a cumulative knowledge of those who have gone before on the same voyage and have recorded where the “rocks” and dangerous areas are and gives exact directions on the safest route to take to get to the desired destination. The “rutter” also directs the operator to the proper course to maintain a “constant compass direction”, which is important if you want to get to your destination in a timely manner and not be wandering all over the ocean!

The wisdom in this analogy is that unless we want to wander through life without a direction, a map, or “a rutter” of where we want to go then we will either never accomplish anything of any significance or the more dangerous consequence of this mind set is that we will be thrown mercilessly into the “rocks” of life and suffer greater loss, damage, death, or disease from failing to direct our lives in a safe and more desired direction!

Another famous quote to interject at this point would be:

“For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.” John Greenleaf Whittier quotes (American Writer, 1807-1892)

To look back on our life and see love, accomplishment, success, family, friends, and wonderful memories will fill us with satisfaction and happiness. To look back on a life filled with addiction will fill us with hollow, unsatisfying, emptiness.

Goals are the key difference between these two drastically different outcomes. By designing your own personal “Rutter” to guide your life as well as following the paths to good destinations that others have forged will help anyone who is struggling with addiction or the way their life is going to change their final outcome from one of misery to one of joy, satisfaction, and happiness!