Is Sexual Addiction Real?
By Tiffany Silva, LCSW
Director of Admissions
It’s 3:00am. He not only has school in the morning but mid-term exams. He needs to do better this time. His grades have been suffering lately and his parents are frustrated. He and his parents have been fighting a lot and he even heard his mom talking to his grandma about it. His grandma was saying that it’s just normal teenage behavior and that he will grow out of it! He always liked his grandmother.
It’s now 3:58am. He keeps thinking that he needs to shut down his laptop and get some sleep. He feels that nagging pit in his stomach that he often feels after being on his computer so long without getting his homework done and deleting the history on his browser as if it will make everything better. It never does. He thinks to himself;
“School is stupid! When am I ever going to use algebra or chemistry anyway? I can’t do anything right anyways…”
What is Sexual Addiction?
Is it real?
What does it look like?
Who does it affect?
The negative ramifications of porn use are no longer lurking in the shadows. The negative impact of porn use is now beginning to outweigh any social acceptance and belief that it is a normal part of adolescent development. There was a recent feature article in Time Magazine that discussed the effects of pornography use. The article mentions;
“A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents.”
A Forbes article called “Sex, Lies and Statistics” says; “The Internet has changed the whole dynamic of porn…” and that “The average age of the introduction to pornography is now 11 years old.” At Oxbow Academy, many of the students report first exposure to porn as young as 4 years old.
There is a continuing debate within the therapeutic community as well as the media about whether someone can be addicted to sex or porn. Is Sexual Addiction real? What do you think?
Over the last few years, there have been some valuable resources developed for parents, educators, clinicians, and other allied professionals. This profound and eye opening Ted Talk by Paula Hall better explains what Sexual Addiction is and is sexual addiction real? How it is affecting many of our loved ones today.
Marnia Robinson who serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) has a very detailed website entitled Your Brain on Porn which offers an extensive collection of articles and research.
Oxbow Academy was established because Shawn Brooks, Executive Director, started seeing signs of addictive behavior in the students he worked with about the same time the internet became accessible in the homes. He realized there was a need to establish a residential treatment center with a primary focus on sexual issues and addiction. This is the reason Oxbow Academy exists and why we are fighting this extremely difficult challenge to get young boys help at an early age.
Many of our families feel alone, isolated and labeled. The students we work with are normal teenage boys who mainly have been exposed at an early age to either pornography or sexual behaviors or both. Pornography is re-wiring the brains of young men to view relationships and sex in unhealthy ways. Many of our families who come to Oxbow for help with their sons find support, acceptance and open arms to help them battle the constant fighting, compulsive behaviors, shame, lies and manipulation. If you know of a loved one who is struggling with this, you are not alone.