Many people associate intimacy with sex. And intimacy is crucial to healthy sex life. But when sex addiction and intimacy collide, the various types of intimacy often take a back seat to the physical act.
Sex Addiction: an Intimacy Disorder
Intimacy in a relationship means trusting in and drawing closer to your significant other.
The four different forms of intimacy are:
- Physical. Physical intimacy involves physical touch, ranging from holding hands and sitting next to each other to kissing and sex.
- Emotional. Having emotional intimacy means you can share hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, failures and successes without fear of judgment.
- Intellectual. When people in a relationship are on the same intellectual level they can share and strive toward the same hopes and goals.
- Spiritual. Having the same greater beliefs and uniting to uphold those beliefs.
But people with sex addiction have issues with true intimacy. For someone with sex addiction, sex and intimacy are disconnected. They use sex to feel better emotionally, even if the feeling is temporary.
The most common reason for the disconnect is attempting to cope with past traumatic experiences. These experiences can cause a person to seek comfort solely through sexual acts.
And over time, the focus shifts from a search for intimacy to an increase in intensity. It takes more for them to feel better emotionally.
A person with sex addiction isn’t trying to draw closer to a person. They’re trying to make themselves feel better because their unresolved trauma causes them emotional pain. Before they know it, this behavior is out of control, and an addiction forms.
Regaining Intimacy after Sex Addiction
A person recovering from sex addiction can regain authentic, genuine intimacy with a partner. But it requires first identifying and treating the cause of the sex addiction, then recovering from the addiction. It also means focusing on intimacy that doesn’t involve sex.
An intimacy that doesn’t involve sex includes:
- Praying, worshiping, or reading scripture together
- Spending time talking and sharing your feelings
- Cuddling and watching a movie together
- Holding hands
- Watching the sunrise or set together
- Putting your arm around your partner
- Attending events you both enjoy
- Participating in shared hobbies
Healing is Possible
Sex addiction and other intimacy disorders make those they affect unable to be vulnerable to or authentic in their relationships. These issues affect both partners in a relationship. But healing is possible. Boulder Recovery offers ways for husbands and wives to get the help they need.
Our 14-Day Men’s Intensive is for men struggling with intimacy disorders and sex addiction. And our Partner Support Program helps wives who meet virtually during the men’s intensive and work through the trauma they experienced through their husbands.
To get help in beginning your healing journey, contact us today.