Understanding More About Intimacy Avoidance & Sex Addiction
Updated: Oct 21, 2022
“If you want to learn and understand more about addiction read a book. If you want to change your behavior reach out and connect with others.“
Clients often come to our practice seeking help for a variety of intimacy avoidance behaviors ranging from the traditional avoidance behaviors of isolating to the person who chases after people and acts out compulsively with sex or relationships (Also intimacy avoidant!). Sometimes, clients ask for homework between sessions or books to read about intimacy or sex addiction or whatever they’re struggling with, or even workbooks where they can “work” on themselves.
There’s certainly is a place and a need for psycho-education when it comes to intimacy avoidance behaviors. If we don’t understand the different aspects of our intimacy avoidant behaviors or sex addiction and the nuances and ways that we manifest these in our lives, then we can’t watch out for them and begin to change them. However, the main work to be done is not from a book, a workbook, a podcast, or a class.
The primary work to be done with Intimacy avoidant behaviors is through connection with others.
The relational trauma wounds that happened in our childhood or other points in our lives which are the causes for intimacy avoidant behaviors can only be healed through connection and intimacy! Therefore, at the Center for Intimacy Recovery, we encourage our clients who want to do “homework“ in between sessions to work on connecting with others and building relationships, and deepening the relationships they already have. That’s also one reason why at the Center for Intimacy Recovery we have over 17 groups that meet weekly. Group therapy is a tremendous help for intimacy avoidance behaviors including sex addiction. Being in a group is often a way to accelerate one’s growth and to expand one’s ability to experience intimacy.
A few years ago a Ted talk by Johann Hari, went viral about an entirely new approach to addiction. Probably the most famous quote from that Ted talk was “the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety it’s connection.“
In some of the stronger 12 Step recovery programs, there’s often a suggestion for newcomers to pick up the phone and call three people every day. The reason for this is to create new neural pathways in the brain of intimacy and connection to combat the intimacy avoidance behaviors. All addiction in every form is an intimacy avoidant behavior. Whether using a substance or a behavior like sex or eating food or shopping or electronics, addiction by nature is a way that we disconnect from ourselves and avoid intimacy with ourselves and with others. Therefore, one of the most important ways to combat addiction as well as to heal loneliness and isolation is to learn how to reach for connection and intimacy.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about deepening intimacy, addressing intimacy avoidance behaviors, or if you would like to join one of our groups please contact us today.