Guest Blog: Timothy F. Hogan, Psy.D. PLLC & Randy Hermann MA, LLPC
If you have the courage to take a look at your sexual struggles you undoubtedly know changing unhealthy sexual thinking and behavior is hard.
Since the two of us focus our time with men, we will look at this from a male perspective. However, we think females may not be much different.
Most men – whether they “go to church” or avoid it like the plague – who struggle sexually report multiple attempts to “clean up” this area of their lives. Yet, most have stories of repeated failure.
Why is change so hard?
The primary reason for this is that the path to freedom is not a straight line. It is not something that can be grasped directly. There are no quick fixes. In fact, most men learn that traditional disciplines (try harder, think differently), even spiritual disciplines (Bible study, fasting, prayer, etc.) do not deliver men into sexual health. Accountability groups aren’t working either for the long term.
What should a man do?
The first step towards sexual freedom is to find a vision for sexual health. Sexual health is much bigger than what a man stops doing. Healthy sexuality is all about helping a man answer the question, “What kind of man do you want to be?”
The next important step is to help men understand what is the motivation. Men need to understand how sexualized thoughts and behaviors have become a way to medicate unwanted or painful emotions. In order to understand how this is working, men often need to revisit their stories, especially the times and circumstances that helped to create the unwanted behaviors. Men only find freedom after they uncover the implicit decisions they have made to not feel painful or unwanted emotions, even “good” emotions sometimes. So uncomfortable and unaware are men regarding their feelings, even emotions from positive life events can trigger old, unwanted behaviors.
Long-term recovery often demands that men reconstruct their lives, so that there is space for them to experience and work through their stress in a new way. This often involves integrating new ways to connect with their bodies through movement and exercise, connecting with their partners and friends through more honest dialogue and, we believe it includes connecting with God through new, more honest methods of prayer.
Most men find freedom with the guidance of some professional help along the way. Untangling a lifetime of self-medication through sexual fantasies and behaviors is neither simple nor obvious.
Contact Randy: www.sexaddiction-recovery.org
They practice at Grace Counseling Center – Detroit, MI