How do secrecy and shame play into sex addiction as opposed to other addictions?
Charlene: Well I think sex has been such a taboo subject and we’ve been taught that sex is a very private matter and I think a lot of times people confuse privacy with secrecy. It’s something that is very isolating. When we’re looking at pornography addiction, usually people do it alone so there’s a lot of shame that can come with it. There’s a lot of guilt. Feeling dirty. Feeling just like disgusting. There’s this internal message of what I’m doing is bad so I definitely don’t want to talk about it with anyone so I’m going to keep it to myself. It creates this double life in people. If I’m with escorts or if I’m married and I’m have extramarital affairs, I don’t want to talk about that kind of stuff. That in and of itself creates shame or at all. I definitely don’t want to mention that to anyone.
Sometimes when we’re growing up, it’s only supposed to be for marriage or it’s only between a man and woman. I think we’ve come a really long way from where we came from but I think part of those messages creates the shame, especially if it feels good or if I’m doing something that I think I’m not supposed to be doing because society doesn’t approve of it.
There’s like a fine line with sex addicts in what’s unhealthy and what’s healthy. What’s shame-based and what should be something that feels good, that I could enjoy with my partner or with myself and that I don’t have to be secret about.