Sexual addiction should be classified alongside gambling addiction and other behavioral addictions, according to a…
Dr. Oz Show Visits The Ranch to Learn About Sex Addiction Treatment
On the heels of controversial celebrities like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey signing up for rehab after being accused of sexual misconduct, Dr. Mehmet Oz devoted a portion of “The Dr. Oz Show” on Nov. 16 to the topic.
The segment, called “Sneak Peek: An Inside Look at Sex Rehab,” included a visit to The Ranch in Tennessee to hear from experts about what sex addiction treatment is like for people not in the glare of the spotlight.
Interventionist and addiction expert Brad Lamm visited The Ranch to experience part of the process and report on it from his own experience. With the help of various therapists at The Ranch as well as Karen Brownd, director of the Center for Relationship and Sexual Recovery at the facility, Lamm tried to paint a picture of why sex addiction recovery treatment is crucial to the healing process.
One of the key points discussed on the show was the importance of bringing men together in therapy groups to share their secrets and hear others share theirs, Lamm said.
“These are some of the words you actually will hear sex addicts say during group therapy sessions,” he said, as a voice played speaking the following phrases.
“I started looking at porn when I was 7 years old.”
“I was like, 30, and I was going to one escort just for a massage, but it always ended up where she would give me a happy ending.”
“It was because of the drugs.”
“I’d be fired for it.”
“My wife would never forgive me for the affair.”
Lamm interviewed Brownd about why speaking these truths is so healing when shared in the safe space of a therapeutic group.
“The group process is really important because there’s so much shame and guilt,” Brownd said. “They sit in the group. They hear other people talking about their behaviors and they know, ‘I did that, too.’”
“There’s also a lot of denial with the clients that come in,” she added. “Sitting in a group process, the other gentlemen that are here will call another client on the behavior. “
For example, if one man in the group says, “Hey, I wasn’t cheating … it was just a massage,” another might counter, “Yes, but it ended with a sexual act.”
Keeping one another accountable is how people in sex addiction rehab learn to own their behavior.
Lamm commented, “It’s a rich idea that the group does, together, what a person can’t do by themselves.”
Brownd agreed and summed it up this way: “That’s recovery. “
Different Kinds of Sex Addiction
Dr. Oz wanted to know if alleged sex abusers like Spacey and Weinstein were using sex addiction rehab as a way of softening their public image and gaining sympathy, rather than seeking true recovery. He also asked Lamm to spell out the difference between just “liking sex” and becoming addicted.
Lamm explained there are three ways to look at sex addiction. Here’s what he had to say:
- Compulsive sex addicts. This person would be the one who is masturbating compulsively. They’re using porn at home. It’s interrupting the kind of life they want.
- Secondary sex addicts. It’s “chem-sex.” It’s chemicals and sex together. Picture crystal meth, Viagra and sexual compulsion. Those three things, over four to seven days, become this fused sex event where you’ll have sex until you drop. That person has to really be treated concurrently, meaning that if you just go to sex rehab, and you’re not treating the addiction piece, you’re not going to have a very good impact. It’s very, very destructive to their life.
- Sex predators. This is the scariest one. But I want to delineate two different camps here:
– One is the person who is annoying but not breaking the law. They’re crossing lines, but they shouldn’t be arrested. They may lose things, like their family, because, you’re only going to put up with so much.
– The second category is the person who is melding power with violence and really abusing people, taking hostages and then abusing them. This is the sex predator at their worst.
Lamm explained that The Ranch does not treat predators but rather works to help people heal enough to prevent their behaviors from becoming extreme.