Sex Addiction AMA

Inspired by @lexie_elyse @shanaz @marginally_amazing and all you other wonderful people doing these AMAs (that I really enjoy reading your answers to!)
  1. As few here may know, I was "diagnosed" with sex addiction at age 21. I put this in quotes because, technically, it's not a real diagnosis, but it was placed upon me nonetheless. I spent almost 4 years in "recovery" before I put distance between myself and the label.
  2. During my time in recovery, I went back to school so I could teach and counsel others around issues of sex/sexuality, sexual health, and more. Needless to say, I'm pretty comfortable talking about this stuff.
  3. While I, personally, don't identify this way anymore (and my current therapist disputes the original "diagnosis"), I know people had a lot of questions they were hesitant to ask because it has always been such a stigmatized topic. But I would love to answer yours! Nothing is really off limits.
    Except using this as an opportunity to a) creep on me or b) slut shame. Neither of those are welcome here. Other than that, go!
  4. ❤️
  5. How does one get diagnosed with a sex addiction?
    Does your doctor diagnose you or a therapist, or can you self-diagnose?
    Suggested by   @lexie_elyse
  6. @lexie_elyse thats the dangerous part! First of all, it hasn't been accepted as a legitimate addiction or diagnosis, so the parameters are wide (and often filled w/ social biases re: sex). My old psychiatrist and therapist agreed on the diagnosis for me. The anon group's website has a self diagnosis questionnaire, which means you CAN self-diagnose.
    I say this is dangerous because you may believe your sexual behavior is "out of control" simply because you're surrounded by sex-negative people, or perhaps your religion says it's bad. So there's a lot of room for shame to dictate the diagnosis.
  7. what is the technical (vs your own) definition of sex addiction and how did you come to be "diagnosed"?
    Suggested by   @cat_lyn
  8. @cat_lyn the technical definition would be: when a person feels their sex drive/sexual desire controls their life and they struggle to maintain control over it. But it has to get to a point where the person feels that it has affected their life negatively in other areas (relationships, career, etc.)
    My personal definition looked similar to this, however, what a professional might call "sex addiction" for a man will often look different for women, and that's where the social biases and judgments come in. Once I realized that everyone's perception of "out of control" looked radically different, I started to see that, maybe, I had been put in that box based on a sociocultural bias towards women's sexuality and how we "should" or should not express it.
  9. (Cont.) I had told my therapist back then that I felt I had no control over my sex drive - that sex was all I thought about, talked about, wanted to do, etc. And that was true, but I was also in a shame spiral. I often wonder if I would've even accepted this "diagnosis" at all, had I not been so filled with shame about my relationship with sex.
  10. What made you initially think you had an issue, was it a therapist that brought it to your attention or did you know something felt off?
    Suggested by   @marginally_amazing
  11. @marginally_amazing interestingly enough, it was when 2 friends pulled me aside to say they were "concerned" about my attitudes toward sex & how often I had casual sex. I told my therapist, who started questioning me further about my sexual behaviors, desires, etc. Once I saw others' responses, I started to truly believe I had a problem.
    My friends said: "You have sex like a man and it's weird. We are worried about the choices you're making." One even said she "couldn't support my bad decision-making anymore." Looking back on it now, of course, I see all of the judgments & gendered assumptions in those statements, but at the time, I took on their opinions - and my therapist's opinions - as fact. 😕 This is the thing that worries me about calling sex an addiction - everyone has a different idea of what "healthy sex" looks like.
  12. How do you navigate when to sleep with someone in a new relationship knowing how easily you could get started?
    Aka, do you force yourself to have a 3 date rule or something?
    Suggested by   @Boogie
  13. @Boogie oh girl I'm still figuring this one out! It's one of the hardest things I have EVER had to navigate. For now, when I really like a man, and I want to keep dating him, I plan lunch/breakfast dates. Daytime dates are my JAM. There's way less of a chance that I'll take him home, there's little to no alcohol involved, etc.
    And I try to leave him out (aka not go home with him or take him home). If I can hold off until date 2, or even 3, it's definitely cause for celebration. But I also don't shame myself anymore if I do, in fact, feel like taking some guy home just for fun! Because I'm an adult woman who is still entitled to her carefree sexual pleasure every now and again 🙌🏻
  14. Was there any ONE event or situation (other than your so-called friends, so-called intervention 😁) that got you thinking you might need redirection?
    Something in the past or how you were treated by someone? And if this is too personal, it's cool. 💝
    Suggested by   @angela3950
  15. @angela3950 To go into recovery, there wasn't really one particular event. Now at 28, and not identifying as a recovering sex addict anymore, I can honestly say that most of the reasons I went into recovery were mostly based on sexist garbage that I had internalized.
    But to leave the label behind, the inciting event was my last relationship. I wrote about it before, but my boyfriend raped me in 2013. The majority of our fights happened because of his insecurities about having a girlfriend who was a recovering sex addict. Always assuming I would cheat, feeling entitled to my body 24/7, disappointed when I didn't want to have sex ("I thought sex addicts wanted it all the time though"), etc. And he was certainly not the first to lead with their assumptions.
  16. (Cont.) I had to take a step back and see that neither the program, nor the sex addict label had benefitted my life or brought comfort or solace in any way. I hated myself more in the few years I was 'in recovery' than I ever had before or since. At least now I can just be Taylor first - no preconceived notions, no self-flagellation, no shame. 😊