British patients are flocking to take part in 'sex addiction' recovery programmes (News)

Posted on August 15, 2011, in Addiction, Men, News, Psychological, Self-Image, Sexual Violence, Societal, Teens, Women

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It’s a term which has become familiar. Everyone knows what ‘sex addiction’ is, and the eye-rolling it tends to provoke is usually because of the celebrities and public figures who have cited it as the cause of their unreasonable sexual behaviour. Think of Russell Brand, David Duchovny. Rob Lowe and Michael Douglas (though he later denied it). Ryan Giggs is said to have agreed to undergo sex addiction therapy. When Tiger Woods was exposed as having multiple affairs, he went straight to therapy, spending 45 days as an in-patient. He reportedly underwent treatment for sex addiction, explaining in his statement to the press that he was “receiving guidance for the issues I’m facing”. When the US Senator Anthony Weiner resigned in June after sending explicit photographs of himself to Twitter followers, the internet was abuzz with questions about whether he was a sex addict. When he asked for forgiveness for the “personal mistakes” he’d made to get the sexual highs that led to him losing the career he had fought hard to get, he was heckled, and shouts of “Pervert!” interrupted his speech. An admission of this kind is, it seems, difficult for an audience to take seriously. At the very least, there are raised eyebrows and sniggers; the most common reactions, to celebrities at least, are underpinned with cynicism.

And yet, here in Britain, a growing number of ordinary people – mostly men – are seeking help for what they believe is an addiction to sex. Much in the way that alcoholics or drug addicts attend 12-step programmes or group therapy to kick the habit, people who believe they are addicted to sexual highs are increasingly searching out treatment. Many come to Dr Thaddeus Birchard, a psychotherapist and consummate learner (he’s embarking on his second PhD next year) who could be described as the grandfather of sex addiction therapy. He was the first to set up a programme in the UK, in 2001, and since then the Marylebone Centre, where he is Clinical Director, has seen hundreds of men, and some women, come through his door. That door is discreet; his offices are positioned on a tasteful side street in the expensive London borough of Marylebone, which is fitting, as most of the people he treats are professionals, high-flyers, otherwise self-controlled individuals.

Repeatedly, in the article, the patients talk about how it started with pornography use and that porn use played a big part in their addictions.

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