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At Matthew Bruhin & Associates we treat sex and pornography addiction with our specialized San Diego sex and porn addiction therapy. Dr. Bruhin is certified and highly experienced in working with sex addiction. Sex addiction like other addictions, is a maladaptive pattern of behavior, which involves persistent dependence on various forms of sexual behavior in order to avoid or deal with life’s many problems. Like other addictions, there is a revolving cycle of behavior, involving urges and cravings to engage in the behavior, a ritualistic way of planning and acting out the behavior, and a sense of relief and elation on engaging in the behavior, followed by a period of withdrawal and repeated cravings. Often the withdrawal period is met with symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts, and promises to loved one’s of changed behavior.

Dr. Bruhin’s easy-going attitude and practical real world advice has made a tremendous difference in our daughter’s ability to get her life back. Absolutely the best therapist in San Diego!
-Linda L.

This cycle of shame and guilt, makes sex addiction a particularly stigmatized disorder that often goes untreated until major loss or destruction occurs. These behaviors are often difficult for spouses and friends to understand. Why would someone continue to have extramarital affairs, continue frequenting massage parlors, or spend countless dollars and time with pornography? Sex addicts, like alcoholics and other addicts, often come from a dysfunctional family in which parents were chemically dependent, sexually addicted, abusive, or otherwise emotionally unavailable. In one survey done by sex addiction researcher Dr. Patrick Carnes, of 75 recovering sex addicts, only 15 (20%) said their parents had no addiction. At least one parent was chemically dependent in 30 (40%) of the 75 families. One or both parents were sex addicts in 27 (36%). In 25 (33%), at least one parent had an eating disorder, and in 5 (7%), one parent was a compulsive gambler. The great majority of sex addicts (82% of almost 900 addicts) in another survey done by Carnes had been sexually abused in childhood. Among the male addicts, 3% were forced to have sex by their fathers and 11% by their mothers. Others (41%) were abused by neighbors, business associates of their parents, or strangers, while 8% were molested by other adults in authority.

While not all sex and pornography addicts come from an abusive past, one often overlooked predictor is that of familial system style. More than half of sex addicts in Carnes survey came from a rigid, emotionally disengaged family.  In such families, discussion of sex may be taboo or sex may be considered disgusting. As a result, children grow up lacking accurate information about sex and believing that sex is powerful and dangerous. Growing up in these often “pressure cooker” families, can lead young ones to turn to self-soothing sexual behavior, especially if pornography or sexual material is presented early on. This pattern of stress relief is often played out in the adult years and leads to many fragmented relationships and potentially even severe legal problems.

So how does one know if they suffer from sex or pornography addiction? Below are a few possible characteristics that might be indicative of an existing problem:

1. Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
2. Have you regularly subscribed to or regularly purchased sexually explicit materials?
3. Did either of your parents have trouble with sexual behavior (repress or act inappropriate)?
4. Do you often find yourself being preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
5. Do you (ever) feel that your sexual behavior is inappropriate?
6. Does your spouse or significant other ever worry or complain about your sexual behavior?
7. Do you have trouble stopping your sexual behavior when you know it is inappropriate?
8. Do you ever feel bad (shameful or guilty) about your sexual behavior (and then rationalize it)?
9. Has your sexual behavior ever created problems for you or your family (physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, and spiritually)?
10. Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior you did not like or caused problems?
11. Have you ever worried about people finding out about your sexual activities?
12. Has anyone (ever) been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
13. Are any of your sexual activities against the law?
14. Have you made promises to yourself to quit some aspect of your sexual behavior?
15. Have you made efforts to quit a type of sexual behavior and failed?
16. Do you hide (or have you ever hidden) some aspects of your sexual behavior from others?
17. Does your sexual behavior put you at odds with your personal or spiritual values/integrity?
18. Have you ever felt degraded by your sexual behavior or affair?
19. Has sex been a way for you to escape your problems (or self-medicate)?
20. When you have sex, (that you question), do you often feel depressed afterward?
21. Have you felt (or do you now feel) the need to discontinue a certain form of sexual activity?
22. Has your sexual activity interfered with your family life?
23. Have you been sexual with minors (or vulnerable adults)?
24. Do you often feel controlled by your sexual desire?
25. Do you frequent pornographic web sites or chat rooms?
26. Do you tend to sexualize others?
27. Do you rationalize your sexual behavior?

Check yes or no to the above. Affirmative answers to 12 or more questions strongly suggest that sex is being used like a drug of choice and may be an addiction.

* Taken in part from the SAST by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., with permission and includes some adaptations and additions.

One major problem that has created difficulty for those with sexual problems is the internet. The internet has seen rise to pornography a thousand fold and continues to be a source of anguish form many married couples and men in general. A recent estimate found that:

  • Every second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography
  • Every second 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography
  • Every second 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines
  • Every 39 minutes: a new pornographic video is being created in the United States
  • Pornography creates $10 billion to $14 billion in annual sales

One alarming trend in the vast playground online porn offers, is the almost certain assurance of eventual impotence among male users. Due to biological and neurological changes that stem from daily pornography use, the body eventually creates system failure in the bedroom. Very often men are dumbfounded and confused by their inability to achieve erection after years of porn use. Part of the work we do at Matthew Bruhin & Associates, is getting porn use under control and allowing healing and eventual return to normal sexual activity to occur. The pain, insecurity, and loneliness that porn addiction causes leaves room for depression and overall relational failures. Our goal is to help work with you to resolve these problems.

Sex and Pornography addiction has hit the US by storm. The internet, relaxed social values and demise of the family, has all added to what is now an epidemic situation. Dr. Bruhin has helped many men, women, and couples navigate their way through this damaging disorder and come out happier and healthier on the other side. Dr. Bruhin is certified in Sex Addiction and has proven evidence based methods to help your situation. He has implemented many proven techniques in helping people recover, with his San Diego sex and porn addiction therapy. The most difficult action is always the first step. If you, your spouse, or family member has fallen prey to sex or porn addiction, please call our office and set up an appointment. It is time to get back to a life free from the shadows.

Matthew Bruhin & Associates offers addiction treatment services, counseling, and therapy to people living in greater San Diego County including:
La Jolla, North Park, Hillcrest, University Heights, Downtown San Diego, Point Loma, Mission Hills, South Park, Bankers Hill, UTC, La Mesa, El Cajon, Chula Vista, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Old Town, Mission Valley, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas.