Why Sex Is Not Your Problem
In dealing with any problem, we must address the roots of the problem as well as the
symptoms of the problem.
Sex is not the primary reason we develop a addiction. Getting help
from sexual addiction is not simply changing sexual behavior.
Of course, deviant sexual behavior is one of the symptoms of the problem, but the drive
for deviant sexual experiences is often rooted in our need for intimacy.
Dr. Patrick Carnes, an expert on sexual addiction, purports that sexual addiction is not
about sex; it is about intimacy.
Intimacy is born out of healthy relational connection, in which safety, security, support,
comfort, nurture, and love is expressed and experienced.
We are Designed for Intimacy
We seek connection and intimacy from the moment we are born. Even through the simple
act of feeding, we not only nourish our bodies, but also develop our emotional and
- How many love songs have been written throughout history?
- How many poems of love?
- How many romance novels?
- How many movies of finding love?
We are drawn towards creative expressions of love because there is something intrinsic
within us that desire connection and intimacy. Those who find love inspire us, and we
become hope-filled that their story will somehow become ours.
As the infamous song of old proclaims,
Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream.
Sexual addiction is simply an attempt to find the fulfillment of the dream for
connection and intimacy — love.
Breastfeeding Enhances Intimacy
Studies have shown that when children are breastfed, they receive more than just mom’s
milk; they also receive an increase in the hormone, Oxytocin, which provides feelings of
safety, security, nurture, and bonding.
Conversely, children who were bottle fed, were deprived of the positive effects of
Oxytocin, and experienced more disconnection and intimacy dysfunction than children
who were breastfed.
In an article in Psychology Today, entitled, Oxytocin: The Multitasking Love Hormone,
Robert D. Martin Ph.D. describes how Oxytocic is required for bonding and connection
Dr. Martin explains that our oxytocin needs begin to be met during breastfeeding, and
how this simple act provides a foundation of safety, security, and connection that helps us to have emotionally intimate relationships as adults.
Wrestling Enhances Intimacy
We also get Oxytocin needs met through a connection with dad. Specifically, connecting
through touch enhances our sense of security and love.
Alan Boyle, the science editor for NBC News, in a 6/15/2013 article entitled, This Is Your
Brain On Fatherhood, discusses that while fathers do not have the benefit of bonding
with their children through breastfeeding, they can release and receive oxytocin in similar ways through touching and playing with their children in healthy ways.
In other words, children who grow up in healthy families, in which healthy, caring, and
comforting touch is often expressed, will feel more secure and connected relationally as
Intimacy Enhances Our Relationships
Oxytocin creates a capacity for more intimacy within our relationships. When our
Oxytocin need is met within a committed relationship, we are less likely to venture into
deviant sexual behavior to find it.
So then, it may be that compulsive sexual problems may be an Oxytocin problem more
than a sex problem. It may be that those caught in compulsive sexual deviant behavior
are really looking for connection and intimacy more than an orgasm.
When we grow up without getting our Oxytocin needs met, we tend to look for ways to
compensate when we are adults.
Interestingly, men have the most concentrated amount of Oxytocin receptors on their
penis. It makes sense, then, that masturbation and other deviant sexual behavior can be
an attempt to find an Oxytocin fix.
Our need for relational connection and intimacy is legitimate. However, the way in
which we pursue fulfilling that legitimate need may be illegitimate.
The key to healthy, whole, living is to find ways to meet our legitimate needs
So then, an important factor in overcoming a porn or sex addiction is to learn how to get our Oxytocin needs through healthy expressions of touch that result in greater levels of connection and intimacy.
Let us know how this blog has helped you. Be sure to check out the next installment of
Getting Help From Sexual Addiction.