Having sex is a normal enjoyable healthy part of life. Seeing sex workers can also be healthy and lead to a more fulfilling life for many people. However, like with anything in life, too much can be a problem.
Sex addiction, according to WebMD.com, “is defined as a lack of control over sexual thoughts, urges, and impulses.”
Today I’ll help you figure out if your hobby may have gotten out of hand. I’ll also offer suggestions on how you can get things back under control so you can enjoy all the things that make your life great in balance with seeing sex workers. The key is finding that healthy balance again.
Also, I do want to point out that this advice should not be taken as professional medical advice – that’s not where my training lies. This is more to steer you in a direction that might help you.
First off, it should be understood that seeing sex workers does not, on its own, mean you have a sex addiction. Really liking sex does not mean you have a sex addiction.
Think of it this way – you really like apples. You might have one once a day or even twice a day. When you go to the grocery store, you’re sure to buy apples because you like them. But you do not have an addiction to apples.
A problematic addiction is when it begins to have a negative impact on your life. If you’re worried that your seeing sex workers could be out of control, ask yourself if you’ve experienced any of the following:
Sex Addiction Impacts
Financial Impact: you’re spending more on seeing sex workers than you can afford. You’re starting to fall into debt, your bills aren’t getting paid, you’re struggling to pay your rent / mortgage. You may not be able to provide enough money to support any dependants that you have. This clearly falls under a problematic addiction.
Social Impact: You’ve stopped trying to date and depend solely on providers for intimacy. You are no longer intimate with your partner. You don’t make time to see friends or family because you’re focused on planning your next session. Again, reducing or eliminating social interactions is a sign of a problematic addiction.
Career Impact: You’re risking your job because you take too long at lunch seeing providers. You’re leaving work to see them on company time. You risk getting caught by looking at providers on your computer or on your phone. You call in sick to see sex workers. Definitely an addiction having a negative impact on your life.
Health Impact: You engage in high risk behaviours such as unprotected sex with providers. This puts you at risk of contracting unpleasant and even fatal STI’s and possibly sharing them with your partner. These actions are clear indications of a negative and dangerous addiction.
Any of the above are not productive in your life. But you are probably already aware of that. It probably started out as fun but just got out of control. Before you knew it, the negative was outweighing the good. You felt lousy about it so you went back to the one thing that felt good – seeing the sex worker. And there’s the tricky loop of addiction – you try to feel better by doing the thing that’s causing the problem in the first place.
So, how do you get it under control?
This is the hardest part. Talking to your family doctor can help in that they can refer you to a counsellor. Or, if you’re uncomfortable talking to your doctor, a lot of companies have employee assistance programmes that are totally confidential. You can call them and they can arrange for you to speak with a counsellor for a series of sessions. Your work would never find out it was you or what it was about.
WAIT, DON’T LEAVE!!!
Your instinct might be that you don’t want to talk to anyone about it. They may tell you to stop totally … And you don’t want to do that. Fair enough. Counselling is usually the most effective way to deal with this type of issue, but if you’re not ready for that, you’re not ready for that. Let’s try a different approach…
If you want to try to get it under control on your own, here’s some things you can try:
Cold Turkey: If you feel you don’t want to do it anymore or until you get your problem under control, just stopping is a powerful way to do it. But it’s not easy.
Like any addiction, you’ll feel like crap for a while and you’ll really want to go. You’ll rationalize to yourself why you should go – you’ll plan to just go one time … one last time. But it never works that way. If you go the once, it becomes easier to rationalize it the next time and the next time after that. And then you’re just dealing with the same challenges again.
If you’re going to go cold turkey, you have to be tough with yourself. You have to be ready to deal with feeling irritable or depressed – that will be part of it. Find things to occupy your time – family or friends or even watch a lot of movies.
I would avoid porn as a substitute or trying to pick up at bars or hooking up with people you know for a while as that might just be exchanging one type of sexual addiction for another. Keep your diversions non-sexual. Getting things under control this way will help you to slowly get your finances, your social life and your work life back in order and you’ll eventually start to feel better about yourself.
Perhaps once you’ve gotten a grip on the situation after a good amount of time has passed, you can look at going again. Just plan to follow strict rules of how often you go or how much you can spend so you don’t wind up in trouble again.
Setting Limits: If you find you’re going too much and it’s having a financial impact on you, create a budget. Add up all your monthly expenses. Factor in spending money on other activities that you may enjoy as well. If you’ve amassed some debt, factor in paying that back over a period of time. Once that’s done, see how much you can spend on sex workers – if you can afford once every two weeks, that’s what you stick to. If it’s once a month, do that. Just be strict with yourself and do it.
Even if you’re not doing it for financial reasons but for other reasons, it’s good to budget the amount of time you go. If it is interfering with your work, school or personal life, be strict with yourself and set aside a regular amount of time to see providers that doesn’t interfere. Say once a week or once every two weeks or even once a month. Then make plans to focus on the other things that matter to you. Don’t spend your time looking at stuff that will just tempt you to go back.
Playing Smart: If you’re seeing sex workers and doing things that can endanger your health, I would urge you to stop. Practicing unprotected sex can cause you to contract a wide variety of STI’s. The reprecussions of which can range from discomfort and pain all the way up to a compromised immune system which can lead to your death. If you’re also in a relationship, you can pass these diseases on to your partner and they could suffer the same.
The argument can always be made that it doesn’t feel as good with a condom. But it feels way worse when you’re pissing fire or your junk is covered in sores … or worse.
At this point, you should look within to find out why you are willing to risk so much for just a bit more sexual gratification. Ask yourself if it is worth it. And then, use a condom.
If you’re addicted to the rush of the risk, that’s something that needs more investigation on your part – a counsellor may be something you should consider.
But overall, I am not condemning seeing sex workers … AT ALL! Seeing sex workers is an exhilarating positive experience.
But like everything else, if it starts to impact your life in a bad way, it’s time to look at things and take action to get your balance back.
Ideally, you’ll do the things you love to do, spend time with the people you love to spend time with, be the best at your job or school that you can be, and maintain your health.
And seeing sex workers can be a healthy part of that as long as you do it in a moderate way that works for you.
And, if you do find your balance out of whack and you suspect you have a problem, remember that there is no shame in seeking help from your family doctor, a walk-in clinic or even through an over-the-phone help line like your work’s employee assistance plan. These are the best sources of help … And I can’t stress that enough.
But if the advice I’ve offered can help get you back to a place you’re more comfortable with, that’s good too!
Until next time,
–D at @workinggirlssix