Disclosure: The Problem with Reassurance

In recovery, disclosure is an important and difficult undertaking for the addict, the partner, and the relationship.  For the partner, disclosure is often traumatic to varying degrees.  As the addict, there are things you can do to make the disclosure process easier and there are things you can do that make the disclosure process more traumatic for your partner.  One thing that often makes the disclosure process more traumatic for the partner is reassuring them about the content of the disclosure.

bombs, sex addiction, pornography, SASH, tim Stein,It can seem reasonable to reassure your partner prior to a formal therapeutic disclosure that they know everything about your past behaviors and that there are no new behaviors to disclose.  Couples sometimes refer to these unknown behaviors as "bombs."  Sometimes this reassurance is offered by the addict when they believe there are no “bombs” coming.  Sometimes this reassurance is asked for when the partner experiences anxiety about what they might not know.  On the surface, reassurance seems like a reasonable thing to offer or request.  So, why is providing this reassurance to your partner problematic?  It is problematic because you are reassuring your partner about something is that typically untrue and, additionally, it is manipulative.
In recovery, assumptions are always problematic.  If you assume your partner knows everything and reassure them that there are no “bombs,” you are playing with fire.  When (not if) your partner learns something new about some of your past behaviors in disclosure and if you have reassured them that they knew everything, it will be more traumatic to your partner.  In my clinical experience, partners almost always learn about new behaviors or they learn new information about behaviors. This may include behaviors that the partner genuinely did not know about, behaviors the partner knew at one time but had forgotten, or nuances of behaviors the partner was unaware of.

"you are playing with fire"

People forget things. And having previously known about something does not eliminate the trauma of remembering.  This is similar to you, as an addict, being in an environment that beings up memories of a past addictive situation or trigger and again feeling shame, guilt, or an addictive urge.  The feeling may be less intense than it was originally but it has not gone away.  sex addiction, pornography, SASH, tim steinIf someone who knew about your addiction had reassured you that there was nothing to be worried about, you would likely feel some level of resentment regardless of whether the person was intentionally lying or honestly believed everything was safe. Likewise, if your partner previously knew about a behavior but has forgotten about it, it will still be traumatic for them to be reminded of the behavior.  Also, if you have reassured them there would not be any “bombs” in the disclosure, they will likely feel resentment toward you whether or not you were completely honest in your reassurance.  A similar pattern plays out if your partner had not previously framed a behavior as part of your addiction. Again, it does not seem to matter that your partner had previously known about the behavior.  Cognitive knowledge does not protect your partner from a traumatic experience.  Having this known behavior shared as an aspect of your addiction can still be traumatic.  If you have reassured your partner there would be no “bombs” in your disclosure, the trauma will be worse.

Sometimes the addict forgets.

Sometimes the addict forgets.  While working with your therapist to prepare disclosure, you might remember a behavior that was linked to your addiction that you had honestly forgotten about. Or, you might realize a past or present behavior you had never considered part of your addiction is actually important to disclosure and, for whatever reason, your partner is unaware of this behavior.  This constitutes new information for your partner.

If you have reassured your partner there would be no “bombs” in disclosure, you have just increased your partner’s trauma.

More often than addicts care to admit, they have lied about or not shared some sexual behavior with their partner, their recovery community, and their therapist.  While significant omissions are not an every time occurrence, I am no longer surprised when this comes up in disclosure preparation.  If the addict holds onto secrets and does not include them in disclosure, they undermine the point of disclosure, minimize the potential healing disclosure offers to them and their partner, or, worst of all, further damages their partner and their relationship.  Disclosing hidden behaviors is essential.  This is one of the reasons we recommend a polygraph in conjunction with a formal therapeutic disclosure.  If you have reassured your partner they know everything only to disclose something you have been holding as a secret, you have just further traumatized your partner.

Part of the reason we recommend disclosure is that by providing your partner with a full account of your past behavior, you are providing them with all the information available to choose what to do with the relationship.  Repairing the attachment bond in your relationship can only happen with rigorous honesty.  Withholding information or refusing to provide a disclosure leaves doubt, which interferes with rebuilding trust and healing the relationship attachment. Reassuring your partner that there are no “bombs” creates the potential for further damage to your relationship’s attachment and your partner’s trust.

When you reassure your partner that there will be no “bombs” in your disclosure, you are performing a manipulative act.  This is true no matter how altruistic you claim your reassurance is.  You are an addict.  Your behavior has had an impact on your partner.  And, your partner has a right to their emotions about this, which may very well include anger, pain (sadness), and fear.  These emotions may be uncomfortable for your partner but are almost assuredly uncomfortable for you.  When you reassure your partner there will be no “bombs,” you are taking away their right to have their own emotional reaction about your addiction, the information in the disclosure, or the disclosure process itself.  Your partner may experience positive growth from having and exploring these emotional experiences.  Your reassurance robs your partner of this potential growth.  In reality, when you reassure your partner there will be no “bombs,” you are actually manipulating your partner so their emotional experience is more comfortable for you.bombs, sex addiction, pornography, SASH

"dig in with your therapist and work"

If your partner is angry, afraid, hurting, or overwhelmed, please do not reassure them there will be no “bombs” in your disclosure.  Instead, tell them you are committed to making sure they get all the information about your addiction and your behavior in order to support them in their own healing process.  Tell them you are committed to seeing this full therapeutic disclosure process through to the end.  Then dig in with your therapist and work to provide your partner with a full therapeutic disclosure as soon as possible so your partner can continue their own healing process with a clear understanding of the reality of your addiction.  You cannot eliminate your partner’s trauma.  That was created by your past behavior, which you cannot change.  But, by committing to provide a full therapeutic disclosure as soon as possible instead of reassuring your partner about the contents of the disclosure, you can minimize their disclosure trauma.

SASH, Tim Stein, sex addiction, pornography, partners, disclosure
Tim Stein, sex addiction clinician, author, presenter

Tim Stein is a well-known expert in the field of sex addiction.  His work as a clinician, lecturer, consultant, supervisor and author keeps him on the cutting edge of sex addiction treatment.  Tim is a regular presenter at national and international conferences and is dedicated to offering information, providing clinical and recovery guidance, and advocating for the understanding and treatment of sex addicts and their partners.  Tim’s professional life is guided by his passion to heal the lives and relationships of individuals and families impacted by sex addiction.  Through his writing, lecturing, and clinical work, Tim strives to help those impacted by sex addiction to find self-love, emotional resilience, integrity and joy in recovery whether this is through personal insight or information and tools Tim provides to other professionals.  Tim is a co-founder of Willow Tree Counseling in Santa Rosa, CA and was integral in the development and evolution of their treatment programs for sex addicts and partners of sex addicts.


Blog Disclaimer

The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) sponsors this blog for the purpose of furthering dialog in the field of problematic sexual behaviors and their treatment. Blog authors are encouraged to share their thoughts and share their knowledge. However, SASH does not necessarily endorse the content or conclusions of bloggers.

Information in blogs may not always be complete, up-to-date, accurate, relevant, or applicable to all situations. Legislation, case law, standards, regulations, descriptions of products and services, and other information are often complex and can change rapidly. Always double-check and confirm that any information you find on the internet is accurate, current, and complete in regard to your specific situation, question, concern, or interests.

This website and its agents make no promises, guarantees, representations, or warranties, expressed or implied, and assume no duty or liability with regard to the information contained herein or associated in any way therewith. No legal or other professional services are being rendered and nothing is intended to provide such services or advice of any kind. The inclusion of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or approval of those sites or their contents. This website bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites or for that of subsequent links. Those who visit or use this website, links or any other information assume all risks associated therewith.

Intimate Betrayal: A Unique Trauma

If you are reading this blog then you are likely here because someone you love has betrayed you with his or her harmful or compulsive sexual behavior. Perhaps the person who has hurt you is someone you deeply love and trusted most in this world - your husband or wife, or your fiancé or partner.

Discovering that your significant other is sexually compulsive and has been deliberately deceiving you with a secret sexual life is beyond heartbreaking; it shreds the relational fabric of connection and often leaves one feeling victimized, discarded, devalued and alone. betrayal, sex addiction, gas lighting, pornography

Intimate partner betrayal is a unique wound that is bone deep. The trauma that the partner of a sex addict deals with is different than that of the spouse of a drug addict or alcoholic – not more or less painful, it is just a different type of emotional injury. Please understand that my intention is not to minimize the experience of any partner who has an addicted spouse. All addictions create suffering and have their distinct pain points.

The soul-searing wound for the spouse of a sex addict cuts so deeply because a six-pack of booze does not have a vagina, a penis or breasts. And a cheating spouse cannot have sex with a bottle of pills, or fall deeply and emotionally in love with a marijuana pipe.

Partners of sexually compulsive people often share the following feelings when learning that their beloved has been misleading them, cheating on them, or otherwise sexually betraying them:

*Shock *Confusion *Fear *Anxiety *Rage *Shame

*Numbness *Depression *Grief *Humiliation *Suicidal Thoughts

As a Licensed Psychotherapist and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist  I have seen the traumatic impact of deceptive and sexually compulsive behaviors on the partners and families of sex addicts up close. And I am a woman who has gone through my own healing from betrayal. I understand the enormous pain that the partner experiences first hand. I am especially empathetic toward the heartache that hurting partners deal with. I also understand just how important it is to seek support with a qualified therapist who is trained in sexual addiction. Isolating is not healthy – there is no need to hide.

Finding a counselor who understands the unique impact of intimate partner betrayal trauma and the subsequent agony that partners’ of sex addicts experience is a first important step in the healing journey.

Emotional Abuse: The Traumatic Injury of Gas lighting

betrayal, Mari Lee SASH, sex addiction, pornography, partners, APSATSIntimate betrayal trauma often feels like the death of a thousand cuts. Why? Because gas lighting is usually part of the sexually deceptive ritual of the addict.

Perhaps “Gas lighting” is a term that is new to you, or perhaps you’re all too familiar with this pattern of emotional abuse. Either way, you’ve likely experienced this if you are in a relationship with a sexually compulsive person.

Gas lighting is a form of emotional terrorism where the sex addict manipulates his or her partner by creating doubt – a verbal smoke and mirrors that leaves the partner feeling confused and paranoid.

In order to cover their tracks, sex addicts manipulate conversations and lie to their significant other in an effort to hide their deceptive behaviors, affairs, and addictions. By repeatedly denying the victims reality, they intentionally sow seeds of doubt – and do so very convincingly. The result is that the partner begins doubting his or her own perception.

Eventually, the betrayed spouse starts to distrust his or her own memory and sometimes, depending on the level of gas lighting, they begin to question their own emotional stability and sanity.

This brave partner shares her gas lighting story, a nightmare that spans several years,

“My husband would look me straight in the face, with tears in his eyes, and swear on our children that he would never cheat on me. Even though I had credit card statements from motels, and text messages from call girls, he would promise me that someone was trying to break us up. He was such a good liar! This went on for nearly 3 years.

After his constant gas lighting, I began to believe that what he was sharing must be true because he was so convincing. The stories that seemed so far fetched at the start became more and more believable. He would even show me notes that were written in lipstick by a “female stalker” threatening him and demanding money. This is how he covered his lies with the cash withdraws from our bank account. I started to believe that some awful woman was trying to set up or frame my husband. I was terrified that she would hurt him, or me and our children.”

After about a year of this, the hang-ups, the lies, the half-truths, the tears, the promises, I started experiencing insomnia, paranoia, and stomach problems. My doctor shared that I was under extreme stress and prescribed medication that left me feeling like a zombie. You would think that him seeing my health disintegrating would have created enough guilt and he would have stopped acting out with prostitutes and call girls.

Nope!

 Instead, he took advantage of my fragile condition and began staying out later and more frequently. His excuse was that he wanted me to have peace of mind knowing that the “crazy woman” who was stalking him would not be spying on our home if he wasn’t there.

Only when irrefutable proof arrived through a phone call from a trusted friend who had video taped my husband at a strip club, did I finally wake up. I know that some people will think I was a fool, but he was so manipulative. And I was blinded by my love for him.  

Once I realized that he was lying, I had him followed, and attached a GPS to his car. Within 2 weeks I had all the proof I needed that every thing I had suspected and worse was happening. He had secret profiles on hook up sites, he had a PO box, he had a second phone, and even a secret credit card. He’d been acting out with prostitutes – male and female – for over 5 years, maybe longer.”

I filed for a separation and I kicked him out. We’ve both been in therapy and 12 step support groups over the last year. I still don’t know if I can forgive him or ever trust him again. These days, with the help of my therapist who is experienced in partner trauma, I am focused on healing all of the damage he has caused me. He is working with his own sex addiction therapist, is in an SAA 12 step group, and is focusing on his own recovery work. If he would not have done this, I would have divorced him.

Time will tell if our marriage will survive. It will depend on how committed he is to his recovery and to being completely truthful with himself and with me. Until then, I continue to use the tools that I am learning in therapy.”

 First Important Steps in Healing

betrayal, sex addiction, pornography, SASHPartners often say, “Why should I go to therapy, I am not the one with the addiction! I did not cause this mess!” Or, “My story is not as bad as his/her story, maybe we don’t really need therapy at all.” I understand the resistance and resentment; I said the same thing at the start of my own healing process.

However, being in an intimate relationship with a sexually compulsive person is a traumatic wounding, and it is emotional abusive. You deserve to have the opportunity to heal and focus on yourself for a change, instead of being consumed by and focused on your partner’s addiction – walking on eggshells, and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

You deserve to have your pain validated. And you most certainly deserve to work with a supportive counselor who is both empathetic and experienced in helping partners of sex addicts heal.

A compassionate therapist will help you learn the tools you need to move forward in order to step out of the darkness of despair – whether or not you choose to stay in your relationship or marriage.

No matter how broken you are feeling right now, you don’t have to do this healing work all by yourself. As I often say to my clients, “The most important relationship that you’ll ever be in, besides the one with your higher power, is the relationship with yourself.”

In closing, I hope this blog has been a beacon of light during this stormy chapter of your life. Perhaps what you’ve read here today is a first small step in taking back your mental and emotional well-being. Every little step counts!

As I wrap up, know that I wish you all the best on your journey forward. It’s not an easy road, but healing is possible – please trust that.

With kindness,

Mari A. Lee, LMFT, CSAT-S

 

 

Mari Lee, SASH, sex addiction, pornography, APSATSMari A. Lee, LMFT, CSAT-S is a therapist, speaker and coach in Glendora California.  Her books, retreats and therapeutic practice has helped many partners recover from betrayal. www.GrowthCounselingServices.com

If you are would like to learn more about what you can do next to support yourself in moving forward, get her e-book, “Healing Betrayal: First Steps for Partners and Spouses of Sex and Pornography Addicts”.

It will offer you a focused road map, a check list, a boundaries exercise, a sample letter, resources, and includes a chapter on sex addiction and first steps for the addict. Download that here as a support to your own recovery: http://www.thecounselorscoach.com/healing-betrayal-e-book-partners-of-sex-addicts

References
Carnes, Lee, & Rodriquez (2012), Facing Heartbreak (1sted.),Gentle Path Press.
Rosenberg & Curtiss Feder, (2014), Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence and Treatment, Academic Press.
Hentsch-Cowles & Brock, (2013), A Systemic Review of the Literature on the Role of the Partner of the Sex Addict, Treatment Models, and a Call for Research for Systems Theory Model in Treating the Partner, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity The Journal of Treatment & Prevention Volume 20, 2013 - Issue 4


Blog Disclaimer

The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) sponsors this blog for the purpose of furthering dialog in the field of problematic sexual behaviors and their treatment. Blog authors are encouraged to share their thoughts and share their knowledge. However, SASH does not necessarily endorse the content or conclusions of bloggers.

Information in blogs may not always be complete, up-to-date, accurate, relevant, or applicable to all situations. Legislation, case law, standards, regulations, descriptions of products and services, and other information are often complex and can change rapidly. Always double-check and confirm that any information you find on the internet is accurate, current, and complete in regard to your specific situation, question, concern, or interests.

This website and its agents make no promises, guarantees, representations, or warranties, expressed or implied, and assume no duty or liability with regard to the information contained herein or associated in any way therewith. No legal or other professional services are being rendered and nothing is intended to provide such services or advice of any kind. The inclusion of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or approval of those sites or their contents. This website bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites or for that of subsequent links. Those who visit or use this website, links or any other information assume all risks associated therewith.

Todays’ Pornography,  #Metoo, and   Some Very  Disturbing Patterns of Porn Fueled “Bad Dates”

When I think about pornography  and its impact on society these days,  I am stunned by how things have changed over the last 25 years.   As a sex therapist certified in the very early 1990’s   I was trained in the late 1980’s,  and back then, all of us viewed pornography  as something that could be helpful to couples. Watching it could be fun. It would spice things up. I and other AASECT members never thought of pornography as ” Sexual Education.”  But neither did we think of it as imparting despicably  horrible messages to young men who might happen to look at it.   I do now.

Back then, as  part of the AASECT annual conferences, we used to screen erotica/ pornography as part of our education.  Some of it was Candida Royalle’s femme-friendly erotica/pornography, although  some of it was more male-centric.  There were directors like Cecil Howard  who created porn where there were actual plots, and  stories were creative, fun, and humorous. In Howard’s  movies, production values were high,  there was no violence towards women,  and women were normal looking, with different sized breasts (many small and perky) and glorious pubic hair. Men generously gave women  oral sex .   Watching much of this porn was arousing. I have  to confess that back then, I and other AASECT members shamefully  seemed  ignorant of the exploitative and abusive  way that the actresses were treated by  the producers, and to my recollection, we never talked about the kind of porn that actually is human trafficking.

That was porn then.  Internet porn now has  permeated thoughout society,  and it has poisoned young people’s visions of what sex is.  Pornography is having an  increasing negative  effect on what is seen as normal in sexual relationships,  and it frightens me that young women are either buying into this dark vision of sexuality (as some part of their version of feminism and the fight against slut shaming)  or they don’t have the assertiveness skills to stop men in their tracks when dating feels more like an assault.

Here is a piece I wrote (Mindful Dating)  for Boston public radio after the Aziz Ansari date tell all and it's still relevant today.

 

SASH, sex addiction, sexual health, Aline Zolbrod

 

 

Aline Zoldbrod Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist, seasoned sex therapist, teacher and trainer in sexuality, and author of multiple books on sexuality.

 

 


Blog Disclaimer

The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) sponsors this blog for the purpose of furthering dialog in the field of problematic sexual behaviors and their treatment. Blog authors are encouraged to share their thoughts and share their knowledge. However, SASH does not necessarily endorse the content or conclusions of bloggers.

Information in blogs may not always be complete, up-to-date, accurate, relevant, or applicable to all situations. Legislation, case law, standards, regulations, descriptions of products and services, and other information are often complex and can change rapidly. Always double-check and confirm that any information you find on the internet is accurate, current, and complete in regard to your specific situation, question, concern, or interests.

This website and its agents make no promises, guarantees, representations, or warranties, expressed or implied, and assume no duty or liability with regard to the information contained herein or associated in any way therewith. No legal or other professional services are being rendered and nothing is intended to provide such services or advice of any kind. The inclusion of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or approval of those sites or their contents. This website bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites or for that of subsequent links. Those who visit or use this website, links or any other information assume all risks associated therewith.

Male Vulnerability to Out-of-Control Sexual Behavior

men, OCSB, SASH, Michael Crocker
Michael Crocker social worker, researcher and professor.

The majority of individuals who experience out of control sexual behavior are men.  Why?  This question is complex as is the answer.  The ecological model of clinical social work (Pardeck, 1988) provides a frame in which we can understand the contributing factors that have resulted in men’s vulnerability to out-of-control sexual behavior (OCSB).  This model provides a frame that includes social, cultural, familial and intrapsychic factors that result in a phenomenon and it is particularly useful in understanding men and OCSB.

Over 30 years ago, Haviland and Maletesta (1981) looked at the differences between male and female infants and their emotional expressiveness.  In their review of 12 infant studies, they found that male infants often displayed more emotional reactivity, tended to cry and be startled more often, and that their emotions changed more rapidly than did those of female infants.  Olesker (1990) found that male infants show a slower achievement of emotional stability than did females, are more invested in the outside, material world, and show less inner processing.  According to Levant (1997), males are more emotional in infancy; however, there is a reversal by the age of 2, which he believes occurs due to a socialization process that is supported both by parents and by society at large.

Olesker (1990) stated that boys had less awareness of maternal separation and often did not display as much clinging behavior as did girls.  She noted that boys often turn to the object world to cope with their anxiety, whereas girls turn to their caretakers to help assuage their distress.  According to Pollack (1998), this process continues into adulthood and leaves men more apt to cope alone rather than turn to others.  He referred to this as defensive autonomy, which he believed was a result of the early emphatic separation from their maternal caretaker that left men with a continued yearning for closeness that simultaneously threatened their autonomy.  This notion is in keeping with Pleck’s (1981) theory of a gender-role strain that posits that, when men conform to the male role, for which the embracing of feelings is scorned, it results in a disconnection from their feelings and needs.

Fonagy, Gergely, and Target (2008) noted that the infant’s ability to reflect on feelings and cognitions is directly related to the caretaker’s ability to understand his or her own history with his or her own parents.  Further, the ability to mentalize and reflect is directly linked to secure attachment and competence in affect regulation.  Insecure attachment often leads to defensive functioning and affect dysregulation.  These theories all have relevance to an understanding of the etiology of OCSB.  Studies have shown that those with OCSB often present with insecure attachment (Crocker, 2013, Gilliland, 2015, Zaph, 2008).

Goodman (1998) hypothesized that alexithymia is related to OCSB.  The term alexithymia was developed by Sifneos (1967), who observed individuals with psychosomatic complaints and felt that the complaints were related to their difficulties in recognizing, naming, and verbalizing their feeling states.  Sifneos believed that alexithymic individuals with psychosomatic complaints typically experienced their feelings as bodily states rather than as identifiable emotional states and that these individuals lost the benefit of having identifiable emotions that could be used to direct their thinking and actions.  Sifneos observed that this alexithymic condition often was accompanied by impairments in self-care, object relations, empathy, and affect regulation.  Goodman felt that individuals with OCSB also presented with alexithymia.  He believed that these individuals often did not know what they were feeling and often experienced their feeling states in their bodies and, as such, were prone to use bodily action to address them.

Levant (1990, 1997a, 1997b) theorized that there is a normative male alexithymia due to familial and social processes.  He theorized that this male-patterned alexithymia results in an impaired ability to put feelings into words and, instead, an inclination to act out feelings.  He noted that one acting-out strategy is nonrelational sex.  Similar to Goodman (1998), Levant believes that men may use sex to address myriad feeling states, including sadness, fear, and anger.  In support of this ideology, Katehakis (2016) has theorized that OCSB is an affect regulation disorder directly related to early attachment trauma.

More recent research indicates that biological factors, specifically testosterone, may cause male vulnerability to OCSB (Alexander & Saenz, 2010), yet not due to the assumed idea of a high sex drive, but actually increases in affect dysregulation.  Alexander and Saenz found that male infants with high testosterone levels showed lower levels of frustration tolerance as well as externalizing behaviors, which is often seen in OCSB (Goodman, 1998).

Testosterone appears to impact the amygdala, the region of the brain often associated with emotional reactivity.  Both Ledoux (1998) and Goleman (1995) refer to the amygdala activation as “emotional hijacking,” stating that this activation can hijack an individual’s ability to be reasonable and logical.  Hamann, Herman, Nolan, and Wallen (2004) found that, when presented with visual sexual stimuli, men experienced more activity in the amygdala than did women.

All these issues help to explain the speculated higher prevalence of OCSB in men and why men may corner the market on OCSB.  With this in mind we must think creatively about how to treat men that are struggling with these behaviors.  It is essential to take into account that many men may struggle with the typical therapeutic question of “how does that make you feel?”.  Not only may they not be able to answer the question but they could also feel shame about the fact that they have no idea how they feel.  As clinicians we need to take this into account and find ways to help our male clients find their feelings.  As noted men often experience their feelings in their bodies without the necessary process of mentalization and for this reason run the risk of turning to bodily means to address the feeling state.  If we can help these men locate the feeling states in their body and begin to help them describe their experience then we can help them move towards reflective function.  This approach needs to address both somatic and emotional literacy (Linden, 1994, Goleman, 1995).  With men we often have to start with their bodies.  If we help men find words to describe what they are experiencing in their bodies we can move them towards increased emotional intelligence.  As emotional intelligence is improved, our clients start to be able to describe their feeling states in nuanced ways, which includes blends of emotional experience.

As attachment theorists have noted, increase in reflective function provides an additional interpersonal benefit.  In increasing reflective function and mentalization in our male clients we improve their ability to understand another person’s subjectivity.  In the couples we treat it is often a challenge to help our male clients to have empathy and compassion for their partners.  This is directly related to emotional literacy.  The more our clients understand their own emotionality the more they will understand the emotional experience of others.  Helping men understand their feelings also helps them to know and understand the feelings of others.  They are able to identify in themselves and in others hurt, sadness, anger, fear, joy and all the derivatives that come along with these emotional states.  In helping men to know their feeling, we help them to be relational and most importantly we help them to connect both to themselves and others.  Lastly, we help these men to understand that in knowing what they feel they will then begin to know what they need.  Through this process we help men to honor their feelings and to care for themselves and others.  In short, we help them to love.

Michael M. Crocker, DSW, LCSW, MA is the founder and Director of the Sexuality, Attachment & Trauma Project in New York City. He is an expert on sexual addiction, trauma, and attachment disorder.  As an advocate for children Dr. Crocker serves as a State Education Department Approved Trainer on Child Abuse Identification and Reporting. For more information about Dr. Crocker visit www.sexualityproject.org or email him at mmcrockercsw{at}gmail.com


References

Alexander, G., & Saenz, J. (2011). Postnatal testosterone levels and temperament in early infancy. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 1287–1292.

Crocker, M. (2015) Out-of-control sexual behavior as a symptom of insecure attachment in men. Journal of social work practice and the addictions. Vol 15, issue 4, pp. 373-393.

Fonagy, P., Gergely, G., & Target, M. (2008). Psychoanalytic constructs and attachment theory and research. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research and clinical application (pp. 783–810). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Gilliand, R., Blue Star, J., Hansen, B., Carpenter, B. (2015)  Relationship attachment styles in a sample of hypersexual men. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Volume 41, 2015 - Issue 6 pp. 581-592

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

Goodman, A. (1998). Sexual addiction: An integrated approach. Madison, CT: International Universities Press.

Hamann, S., Herman, R., Nolan, C., & Wallen, K. (2004). Men and women differ in amygdala response to visual sexual stimuli. Nature Neuroscience, 7(4), 411-416.

Haviland J. J., & Malatesta, C. Z. (1981). The development of sex differences in nonverbal signals: Fallacies, facts and fantasies. In C. Mayo & N. H. Henley (Eds.), Gender and nonverbal behavior (pp. 183–208). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.

Katehakis, A. (2016) Sex addiction as affect dysregulation: A neurobiologically   informed holistic treatment. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Company,Inc.

Katehakis, A. (2009). Affective neuroscience and the treatment of sexual addiction. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 16(1), 1–31. doi:10.1080/10720160802708966

Ledoux, J. (1998). The emotional brain: The mysterious underpinning of emotional life. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Levant, R. (1990). Psychological services designed for men: A psychoeducational approach. Psychotherapy, 27, 309–315. 

Linden, P. (1994) Somatic literacy: Bringing somatic education into physical education. Journal of physical education, recreation and dance, Volume 65, Issue 7, pp 15-21.

Levant, R. (1997a). The masculinity crisis. Journal of Men’s Studies, 5(3), 221–231.

Levant, R. (1997b). Men and emotions: A psychoeducational approach. The Assessment and Treatment of Psychological Disorders Video Series (Video and Viewers Guide). New York, NY: Newbridge Communications.

Olesker, W. (1990). Sex differences in the early separation-individuation process: Implications for gender identity formation. Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association, 38, 425–346.

Pardeck (1988) "An Ecological Approach for Social Work Practice," The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare: Vol. 15: Issue 2, Article 11

Pleck, J. H. (1981). The myth of masculinity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Pollack, W. (1998). Real boys: Rescuing our sons from the myths of boyhood. New York, NY: Henry Holt.

Sifneos, P. E. (1967). Clinical observations on some patients suffering from a variety of psychosomatic diseases. Acta Medicina Psychosomatica, 7, 1–10.

Zaph, J. L., Greiner, J., & Carroll, J. (2008). Attachment styles and male sex addiction. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 15(2), 158–175.


Blog Disclaimer

The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) sponsors this blog for the purpose of furthering dialog in the field of problematic sexual behaviors and their treatment. Blog authors are encouraged to share their thoughts and share their knowledge. However, SASH does not necessarily endorse the content or conclusions of bloggers.

Information in blogs may not always be complete, up-to-date, accurate, relevant, or applicable to all situations. Legislation, case law, standards, regulations, descriptions of products and services, and other information are often complex and can change rapidly. Always double-check and confirm that any information you find on the internet is accurate, current, and complete in regard to your specific situation, question, concern, or interests.

This website and its agents make no promises, guarantees, representations, or warranties, expressed or implied, and assume no duty or liability with regard to the information contained herein or associated in any way therewith. No legal or other professional services are being rendered and nothing is intended to provide such services or advice of any kind. The inclusion of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or approval of those sites or their contents. This website bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites or for that of subsequent links. Those who visit or use this website, links or any other information assume all risks associated therewith.

Stay Up To Date With SASH

Get news from the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health straight in your inbox.
By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive email updates from: The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health, P.O. Box 916, Acworth, GA, 30101, US, http://www.sash.net. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
SASH Logo
© 2024 SASH | The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health. All Rights Reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram