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I’ve been all over the internet, checking up on what the sex addiction recovery industry is doing and saying, and I’ve seen the slow shift over to giving lip service to partner trauma and the Trauma Model of treatment. What they fail to do, and what is essential to the health and safety of partners, is call the behaviors of sex addicts “abuse” and the addicts “abusers.” It is still an addict-centered approach that they offer, and it requires the partner’s cooperation. It calls for her to sign up for the very real possibility of further abuse. I’m baffled by this. No one would tell the spouse of a wife-beater to stay and help him learn to manage his rage.

And why stay? Because the recovery statistics are so great? (What statistics?) Because she’s almost guaranteed happiness if she stays? Living with a sex addict is a hell of fear and abuse. It’s a continuous pummeling of your self esteem. It’s the worst kind of loneliness. Leaving’s not easy. It is a difficult, torturous process with a long road to healing. But staying is an even longer, more treacherous road, with the likelihood of ending up in a ditch.

One cheerleader for the coupleship, the ol’ ‘stay-and-work-it-out,’ is Alexandra Katehakis. Katehakis is the Clinical Director at The Center for Healthy Sex. Besides her pretty prolific article writing, she is the author of a couple of books for recovering sex addicts. In the first, Erotic Intelligence: Igniting Hot Healthy Sex While in Recovery from Sex Addiction, we find a pretty manipulative passage to my point:

Many partners of addicts have told me they feel bad about themselves for staying in the relationship because of the betrayal they’ve experienced. They imagine that the people who know their past judge them to be stupid for staying with the person who’s caused them so much pain. I often counter this thinking, explaining that leaving may seem quick and easy because they can pretend they’re okay and the problem has disappeared. However, if you leave your relationship, you’ll be stuck with your pain and sorrow without the person you loved to help you sort it out. Why is this true? Because even though it feels as if your pain comes from your partner, it’s actually coming from inside you.

We all know how easy leaving is, right? That simple task of dismantling your entire life–a home and family, of explaining to your kids why they’ll be splitting time with Mommy and Daddy and why Mommy is probably going to be poor. It’s a breeze. But we also know how much help that “person you loved” would be with “sorting it out.” Sex addicts are notoriously helpful. Oh, and it doesn’t feel as if he caused the pain; he actually caused it–the same way he’d have caused it if he punched her in the face, the same way a rapist causes pain to his victim.

The second book is called Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Erotic Intelligence, and it’s chock-full of sparkly gems such as:

There are marvelous sea creatures whose existences can be viewed only within the deep blue sea, and similarly we all have dear secrets that can be spoken only in the habitat of the heart.

And this:

Observe the rhythm of passers-by on the street, at work, everywhere. Summon loving acceptance and let their tempos move you emotionally and corporeally. Try to assimilate new ideas by trying out the rhythms of those you encounter.

I pull from the second book just for shits and giggles. These were actually written for sex addicts– people who find it difficult to pass any attractive person on the street without objectifying them and storing their images for “alone time.” Rhythms, yes. Dear secrets indeed.

Well, I haven’t even gotten to what I really wanted to talk about, the power point for partners from Alexandra’s Center for Healthy Sex. Why don’t you take a look at it on your own.

I’ll tackle it tomorrow.


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