Sexual diversity and addiction
Is sex addiction different if you’re gay?
Do lesbians get addicted to porn?
Does being in an open relationship mean you’re a sex addict?
These are all common questions asked by people from LGBTQ communities and the bottom line is that sexual orientation and sexual addiction, (or compulsive sexual behaviours, if you prefer that label) are unrelated. As I’ve said in other articles, sex addiction, porn addiction and compulsive sexual behaviour disorder (CSBD) are all equal opportunity problems. Anyone can find themselves trapped in an endless cycle of unsatisfying sexual encounters, whether that’s alone or partnered, and feel powerless to find a way out.
But one of the challenges for people with diverse sexuality or relationship preferences is that historically, sex addiction experts have often inadvertently pathologised their lifestyle. ‘Healthy’ sexuality has often been framed as being monogamous, and often vanilla too, which has left those in non-monogamous relationships and/or kink communities feeling that people in the sex addiction field don’t respect their preferences. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people have often come from a background of repressed gender orientation or identity issues, homophobic judgements, teasing, bullying and discrimination. People within these communities may also have complex issues relating to sexual shame, much of which may have developed within the home and social environment whilst growing up, but may vary greatly depending on age, geographic location and social support networks. It’s essential to understand that sexual ‘sobriety’ is not limited to a hetero-normative, monogamous template and every person needs to recognise their individuality and be free to define which of their behaviours they feel are damaging and compulsive and which are not.
ChemSex and sex addiction
It’s been widely recognised for many years that drug use is higher amongst sexually diverse communities, but over recent years, there have been particular concerns for those who engage in what’s commonly referred to as ChemSex. The term could be used for any drug use combined with sex, but more often it’s attributed to those who use a particular cocktail of drugs on the urban gay party scene. Like everything, the vast majority of people are able to control their use and would describe it as ‘recreational’. But for a significant minority, the potent combination of sex and drugs becomes addictive. And one of the biggest challenges for people who regularly combine sex and drugs is that ‘sober’ sex, ie sex without drugs, often feels pointless.
Help for LGBTQ and sex addiction
If you’re from an LGBTQ community or would describe yourself as having a diverse sexual or relationship lifestyle, you may have struggled to find help from someone who understands where you’re coming from. Or you may simply have been put off by the heteronormative male-centric positioning of some services. Pivotal Recovery has been created and written to be gender-neutral and inclusive. So whatever your orientation or preference, Pivotal will help you to identify if your problem is an addiction, and if it is, how it developed and how to overcome it. And critically, Pivotal won’t tell you what kind of sex life you should enjoy, but help you to make that decision for yourself.