Sex Addiction Q&A with Jamie Mantell, LMFT
Preface by Jamie Mantell, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at D’Amore Healthcare in Orange County, California:
“Based on my education, training, and experience, I’ve consistently approached the subject of sex addiction with the understanding that it is a very private experience for patients. Sex is a powerful and vital survival instinct, with one significant difference from other survival instincts. Sex is an instinct for survival of the species, rather than the individual. I almost always add that even plants have sex when discussing the topic with individual patients or in group therapy.
Sex is such a primal instinct
I learned early on, as a student at California State University, that despite all the research, sex is such a primal instinct it’s not understood by the majority of clinicians.
I have utilized the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) book’s approach that ‘we treat sex as we would any other problem.’ I base my work with patients on the belief that awareness of and interest in the welfare is vital. In other words, moving from primal selfishness into the level of being of service to others.”
Q: Can you explain the difference between sex addiction and sex offending?
A: Sex produces endorphins and dopamine, hence creating the opportunity for sex addiction, similar to a drug or alcohol addiction. Sex offending is a sociopathic behavior that causes harm to others. Rationalization and justification bolster the sociopath in continuing to do harm. When I worked at a treatment center for sex offenders, the generally accepted premise was that there is no effective treatment for post-adolescent sex offenders.
Q: With recent mentions in the news of so many sexual harassment cases, is it true that some people use the term sex addiction as a way to excuse sex offending?
A: The process of rationalization and justification by sex offenders indicates a serious, dangerous condition.
Q: Is there a common thread between sex addicts and offenders?
A: I’d say selfishness and denial. However, sex addicts can be treated by learning new behaviors or “a sufficient substitute”, whereas, an adult offender cannot be “cured”.
Q: What common trait do you see in recovering sex addicts?
A: No doubt, it’s a willingness to place the welfare of others ahead of themselves. Again, this is a learned behavior from a 12-step or another spiritual approach to recovery.
Q: How can recovery from sex addiction impact the family, marriage, children, career?
A: The most effective recovery process for sex addiction is the 12-steps, which reduces self-centered practices. The steps give understanding and hope to the addicts’ loved ones when there is evidence of that reduction and amends are made.
Q: What Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT) exercises help the sex addict?
A: The best thing I have seen is the book “Living Sober”, published by AA. It’s a CBT masterpiece.
Q: Why does residential treatment help the sex addict?
A: Not certain about all residential programs, but many D’Amore patients develop a productive interest in others and are able to enjoy healthy, productive relationships.
If you or a loved one is in need of help for sex addiction, please contact us at D’Amore Healthcare. Our goal is to replace compulsive, unhealthy sexual behavior with mindfulness and respect.
If you’re in the process of trying to kick an addiction, you’ll likely need extra support throughout the process. There are so many benefits to recovery at D’Amore Healthcare. Our amazing staff will guide you through the entire detoxing process, and you’ll be safe and comfortable in our beautiful residential homes.
We provide information and treatment for people dealing with the life-shattering cycle of mental illness, substance abuse and addiction. Therefore, if someone needs immediate help, call 24-hours a day at 714.375.1110 or contact us online.