Sex-addicts: when sex causes pain

Multiple sexual intercourse a day, frenetic masturbations, escort-girls, swingers clubs, big porn consumption, even sado-maso practices ... Sex-addicts are obsessed with sex, which is, for them, a real drug. Sexual addiction remains a taboo disease in France. Return with the psychoanalyst Jean-Benoît Dumonteix on a real source of suffering.

Interview by Margaux Rambert

In France, we have only been talking about sexual addiction for a very short time. There was the DSK case, then the film "Shame" ... Why is this disease still taboo?

Jean-Benoît Dumonteix: In our highly sexualized society, sex must be just pleasure. It is hardly conceivable that it can be a source of suffering. If someone multiplies sex, we will think that it is a Don Juan or a big party animal. And that is the problem. In reality, there are people who suffer from their sexuality, who put themselves in danger, by exposing themselves to sexually transmitted infections for example. And it is urgent to realize it. In the United States, it is thirty years that we know and treat this disease.

We often think that we can not suffer from sex until it runs out. In what way can excess sex also be a source of great suffering?

Jean-Benoît Dumonteix: Sex-addicts no longer control their sexuality. She is no longer wanted, she is totally undergone. Reflex, almost. It acts as a medicine: these people respond to their negative emotions through compulsive sexuality. While knowing that this sexuality does not suit them. But they go back because "it's stronger than they". They are constantly looking for the extreme shoot. The one who will provide them with an incredible well-being, a total forgetfulness. But as this one does not last long, they try to repeat it as often as possible. And raise the bar higher and higher. That's why they often find themselves in a sexuality that has nothing to do with their values ​​(SM, hard ...).

What is striking in your book is that all sex-addicts who testify to it speak precisely of this need to have "their shoot", "their dose". Can sex be a hard drug, as can alcohol or cannabis?

Jean-Benoît Dumonteix: It's quite comparable. There are people who, if they do not have their dose, will be seized with tremors, have teeth that slam ... The same symptoms as in someone lacking heroin or alcohol. There is of course a psychological lack: the addiction puts in a protected state, one is in a tunnel where the others and the reality do not exist.But there is also a real physical lack. Sex can therefore be a hard drug in its own right.

And the others, precisely, what become of them? Objects?

Jean-Benoît Dumonteix : They are going to be weirs, objects of satisfaction, consumption, objects sometimes masturbatory, but absolutely not people. One of the keys to getting out of sexual addiction is, in fact, restoring the other person to his position as a human, a subject. The social relations of sex addicts are diminishing over time, because addiction is becoming more and more important. They can leave (or not go to) a dinner to be able to "sex", for example. If they are in crisis and frustrated, they may be aggressive, such as making others pay for what they can not handle. In general, we find a lot of loneliness, little socialization, this can also be explained by the shame felt vis-à-vis the others, and the feeling of being "an imposter": "if they knew who I am ... '

Sexual addiction has many similarities with other addictions, but what is its particular characteristic?

Jean-Benoît Dumonteix: The product, we have it in itself, It is part of the identity of the person, it is very easy to have access to masturbation and that is why it is a drug that is so difficult to fight. put alcohol at a distance and never drink a drop of it.It is completely absurd to say that we will never have sex again because we know that we risk falling into an addiction. we can not do without, so we'll have to deal with it, but differently.

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