Teen Females with PSB

The client is a 15-year-old girl referred by her guidance counselor. “Amber” has been disciplined by her high school for sending naked selfies to her boyfriend, which came to the attention of a teacher as the sexts were liberally shared around the sprawling suburban campus. Her horrified parents initially labeled the behavior a momentary judgment lapse fueled by “bad influences,” until a search of her phone revealed a couple of well-hidden hook-up aps. Her laptop browser history added to their concern.

The parents are college educated professionals, who responded to their daughter’s difficulty by grounding her for two weeks and taking away her phone and tablet indefinitely. They banned her boyfriend from the house and insisted she talk with her female church youth leader. Mom and dad were relieved when they got through the two-week home arrest with Amber “just being angry at first, then sullen and often disrespectful, but it could have been a lot worse.” They added, “We were sure she’d learned her lesson and everything would be fine. We just wanted to put this whole sorry mess behind us.”

teen girl sex addiction, teen girl psb, pornography, SASH, Bethesda WorkshopsAnd it seemingly was, until a few weeks later when they discovered Amber had gotten another phone and was exchanging explicit texts with a guy who claimed to share her interest in soccer and just wanted to get to know her better. The parents asked their pediatrician what they should do, and he said he had no idea other than finding a therapist. The school social worker also was unable to provide an appropriate referral, but she was aware of a local program for adult males who used pornography compulsively, and she gave the parents our number

“Please help us!”

“Please help us!”the mom wailed. “Our beautiful, talented daughter has gone off the deep end. We taught her better than this, but she won’t listen when we tell her how terrible she is. We need to send her to your facility and have you straighten her out. We’re so embarrassed and want this fixed before it further damages our family reputation.”

Yes, indeed. “Straightening out” is exactly what needs to be done with teen females struggling with problematic sexual behavior, right? And labeling an acting teen as “terrible” is sure to motivate her positively. Not.

The reality is that untold numbers of teens, both males and females, are engaged in potentially problematic sexual behavior. According to Statistics Brain (https://www.statisticbrain.com/sexting-statistics/), the numbers are staggering. In an online survey with 1280 respondents ages 13-19:

teen girl psb, teen girl sex addiction, sexting, sex addiction, pornography, SASH

 

 

 

Perhaps it’s reassuring that 71% of teen girls and 67% of teen boys say they’ve sent or posted sexually suggestive content to a boyfriend or girlfriend. Less comforting, 21% of teen girls and 39% of boys say they’ve shared such content with someone they wanted to date or hook up with. Most frightening, 15% of teens in this age group (not broken down by gender) report they’ve sent nude or semi-nude pictures to someone they only met online- in other words, to a stranger.

Our sexually-saturated culture has far outrun most families’ - and counselors’ - ability to protect or even adequately inform and guide their children. The information presented by Dr. Gail Dines and Culture Reframed provides overwhelming evidence that pornography, not parents, are providing sex education for today’s kids. (https://parents.culturereframed.org/).

The culture is swamped with gender and sexual messages, images and values - most of them unrealistic and unhealthy.“Pornland,” as Dr. Dines calls it, increases early sexual awakening before the child is developmentally able to process what’s happening. It further encourages objectification of self and others, often in a violent form.

Recent research shows that early exposure to pornography is more predictive of later problematic sexual behavior than overt sexual abuse. If that finding proves true over time, the impact will only mushroom exponentially. Sadly, the pornified culture is unlikely to reverse itself any time soon, if ever.

teen girl psb, girl sex addiction, sexting, pornography, SASH

Typically, teens won’t recognize their sexual behavior is a problem. They think they’re engaging with their friends and romantic partners like “everyone else.” Unfortunately, they may be right, since sexting and promiscuity are more the norm than the exception, including for teens raised in “good” homes

Teens usually don’t have the maturity to realize the impact of their sexual and relational behavior, which might affect the rest of their lives. Problematic sexual behavior can interfere with education, health, self-esteem, and social and spiritual development. It can also be extremely dangerous when girls (and sometimes guys) put themselves in risky situations.

 

Attachment theory illuminates the importance of healthy bonding between parents and children, yet more and more, today’s teens seem adrift in a technology wasteland. Many parents are similarly engulfed in their devices or work, or are themselves struggling sexually or relationally. Most parents label the acting out teen as the problem, and they miss the attachment wounds that may be driving his or her search for connection, however exploitive or fleeting. As Amber’s mom expressed it, parents want the teen “fixed,” and they may be unwilling to be involved in that solution beyond carting the teen in for therapy.

The field of treating problematic sexual behavior has evolved positively to include effective models for helping partners as well as addicts. Resources for teens, though, are woefully lacking. As far as I’m aware, only two in-patient treatment programs that accept adolescent males are equipped with clinicians who have specific certification or training for treating problematic sexual behavior. None of the programs I’ve found for adolescent girls have a specialized PSB program with therapists who are specifically trained in the field. A few outpatient support or therapy groups exist for teen males with PSB, but a group for teen females is rare. The need is huge for clinically informed, excellent resources, especially ones based on attachment theory and a family systems perspective.

Real change for a hurting teen happens within a systems framework, which means the whole family engages in the healing process. Parents need and deserve personal help to address their own emotional struggles and learn how to help their teen through altering their parental attitudes and behaviors. It’s vital that the whole family be involved in a coordinated process of understanding, growth, and change. The therapeutic environment should be non-judgmental, non-adversarial, and engaging for all involved.

Today, adolescents are probably the largest under-served population of those struggling with problematic sexual behavior. If you’re like me, the prospect of treating a teen is a bit terrifying. Yet we need more specialists in this area who can offer prevention and intervention, so that teens are spared some of the pain experienced by addicts and partners in adulthood.

 

sex addiction, SASH, pornography, Marnie Feree
Marnie Ferree, therapist, speaker, author

by Marnie C. Ferree, M.A., LMFT, CSAT

Marnie C. Ferree, M.A., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Nashville, Tennessee, where she directs Bethesda Workshops, which provides Christian-based treatment for sexual addiction in an intensive setting. The workshop she established for female sex addicts in 1997 was the first of its kind in the country. Her book, No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction, is one of the earliest books to address sexual addiction in women. She is also the volume editor and a contributing writer for Making Advances – A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Female Sex and Love Addicts.

Bethesda Workshops has launched a new Healing for Teens & Their Parents Workshop, which offers gender-specific clinical intensive workshops (four-days) for adolescent females and males. The first workshop, June 13-16, 2018 is for teen females. Later dates, August 8-11 and September 26-29, will provide services for teen males. Parents accompany their teen and are required to attend the workshop. Visit http://www.bethesdaworkshops.org/workshops/healing-for-teen-females-and-parents/for complete information or call Bethesda Workshops at 615-467-5610.


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.

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