When an individual who is addicted to drugs or alcohol goes into rehab, one of the goals of treatment is to help the individual maintain a total abstinence from substances for life. In the case of sexual addiction however, it is not recommended that the individual adopt lifelong celibacy. Rather, the goal of sex addiction recovery is to help the individual address the problems that have led to the development of addictive sexual behaviors, set healthy boundaries, and ultimately enjoy a healthy sexuality.
Sex Addiction Treatment and Abstinence
Does abstinence have a role in sex addiction treatment? Yes it does. In fact, many sex addiction treatment specialists recommend that the individual in recovery maintain a period of celibacy, usually 90 days, after entering rehab. This period is intended to give the individual some breathing room and an opportunity to experience their life free from all the distractions of compulsive sexual behavior. It isn’t meant to be a life long ban on sex.
After the celibacy period is over, the individual’s therapist is likely to recommend that they refrain from the specific sexual behavior that was the cause of the addiction.
The Signs of a Healthy Sexual Relationship
It is important to understand that most individuals who are struggling with or have struggled with a sexual addiction have never known a healthy sexual relationship. So how will the individual know what that looks like? In a healthy intimate relationship, both partners place strong boundaries around sex, and avoid behavior that could put their relationship at risk.
Individuals must also learn to share emotional vulnerability with their partners inside and outside the bedroom. They must also learn the value of having integrity, and how it must be a part of a romantic relationship with their partner. Trusting one another and maintaining that trust is critical in a relationship beyond sexual addiction.
A hallmark of a healthy sexual relationship is when the individual practices self care. Without that, they cannot take care of someone else. In fact, self care must be a priority for the individual. Furthermore, beyond sex, the individual and their partner must make sure to nurture each other in other non sexual ways, like sharing mutually enjoyable non sexual activities.
As mentioned previously, it is not to goal of sex addiction recovery to achieve complete abstinence, but rather to get to a place of healthy sexual expression. Sex addiction recovery will teach the individual the skills needed to conduct a healthy intimate relationship.
Blueprints provides support for young adults facing addiction recovery. Call us if you are struggling to quit sexual addiction or other compulsive behavior. Our staff and programs support individualized programs to help you get on the path to recovery and healing.