Have you ever wondered how a person could become sexually addicted? In the thought-provoking article entitled “Why Men Are So Obsessed With Sex“, Dr Steve Bearman articulated a fascinating answer.
He began with a description of an early environment that nurtures numbness, disconnection, and isolation in young people. Then Dr Bearman wisely questioned: “What happens to human beings who have been, since early in life, isolated from intimate connections with other people, cut off from their own feelings, and numbed to bodily awareness?” Dr Bearman explained how “obsession” easily ensues when such a person’s only access to vitality and passion is discovered in the realm of sexuality. Thus, these early experiences are a breeding ground for sexual addiction.
This becomes a sad and unsatisfying reality for the sex addict because “no matter how much sex [they] encounter, it will not be enough to fill [their] enormous need to love and be close and express [their] passion and delight in [their] senses”. Sexual experiences can be amazing but they cannot meet all of one’s needs for joy and intimacy.
I found Dr Beardman’s solution to sexual obsession refreshing. He wrote:
“Obsession with sex can be healed when we reclaim all the essential aspects of the human experience that we have learned to manage without: our affinity for one another, caring connections with people…sensual enjoyment of our bodies, passionate self-expression, exhilarating desire, tender love for ourselves and for one another, vulnerability, help with our difficulties, gentle rest, getting and staying close with many people in many kinds of relationships…Because of the nature of male hurts, our healing requires that we get in close, and stay close, with other men and women whom we choose as our allies and to whom we choose to show ourselves. It requires that we move back into our bodies and care for them deeply. Because we have been alienated from other people, our feelings, and our bodies, we must now reclaim each of these in order to take back our humanness, and in doing so, end the desperation and the lack that keeps us obsessed.”
I have long believed and taught that healing from sexual addiction comes through learning to connect in all areas: with self, with others, and with one’s Higher Power. When these real connections are discovered and deepened, there is no need for counterfeit “connections”. Dr Bearman’s assertion about the path to healing seems similar. Additionally, he calls for reconnection with one’s emotions and the enjoyment of life itself. When individuals discover connection and pleasure outside of sexual obsession, they can find true satisfaction.
They can experience comfort that was withheld in early life. They can abandon self-neglect and learn a new way of relating that leaves them soothed, cared for, and rejuvenated.
Truly, there is life after lust.
And it is abundantly satisfying.