Archive for pornography

We need to talk about Sex Addiction

A recent TEDx talk by Paula Hall, a specialist in treating both men and women who experience sexual addiction, is well worth watching.

In it she stresses the need to recognise and talk about the increasing problem in our society of sexual addiction.

What she means by that is an addiction or compulsivity where a person’s sexual behaviours have grown beyond their control.

This can manifest itself for example in the use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, the need for affairs, multiple one-night stands or cybersex. It is not the amount of sex or any particular way of having sex that is the issue; it is where these behaviours have become out of control and interfere with a person’s ability to form relationships or are having other unwanted effects on their lives. For instance these could include a lack of engagement with a wider social circle, poor concentration and performance at work, anxiety or depression.

As is well known the Internet and smart phones have led to an increase in the availability of pornography, which is now accessed by so many. That is in itself is not a problem, but when the use of porn is being used for example to numb some deeper emotional distress, or to alleviate boredom, this can lead to an addiction. As with alcohol and drugs, a cycle of addiction develops leading to distorted thinking and self-justification coupled with a desire for secrecy and feelings of shame.

Paula Hall argues that the easy access of pornography compounded by the lack of education of the risks that involves is what is leading to an increase in sexual addiction. To counteract these she says that people need to be able to talk more openly about these problems and to be less judgmental and more compassionate about those who experience these difficulties.

Coupleworks counsellors often come across clients for whom these issues are a problem either to an individual or within a relationship. From our experience we would strongly agree that naming the problem can provide the starting point for real healing.

Sarah Fletcher

Trends from the Sex Survey by the Observer

“The British are losing their sex drive” headlines the Observer newspaper following their recent sex survey. Perhaps a surprising result is that the average British adult has sex only four times a month compared to the figure of seven times a month in the 2008 survey. What’s more a third of the population does not have sex at all in a typical month.

There are, of course, debates about what is happening in our society that is bringing about these changes: the recession and the pressures of it, the continuing changing roles of men and women in relationships, online pornography, the popularity of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, the rising use of digital technology, to name but a few.

Some other interesting results from the survey

• 57% said trust was the most important component of a relationship followed by 26% saying conversation/communication and 2% sex.
• 63% of people are satisfied with their sex lives compared to 76% in 2008.
• 33% considered themselves to have above average prowess as a lover, compared to 55% in 2008.
• More than half of Britons 56% have watched pornography on the Internet occasionally, with 15% admitting to watching regularly.
• 43% of people read or thumbed through ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
• 36% admit to having had sex with a work colleague, a rise from 26% in 2008

You can read the full survey online here

Before the results of the survey were published I and two other therapists were interviewed about what we felt were the key trends going on at the moment. You can read a full account of what we said here

Perhaps the biggest question most people face, whether it is about their sex drive, the size of their penis or their sexual performance is ‘Am I normal?’. At Coupleworks we specialise in working with individuals and couples, helping them to work through some of the difficult relationship and sexual issues that most people face in their lives at some stage.

Sarah Fletcher