Don't Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction

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9780553351385: Don't Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction
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"Dr. Patrick Carnes is a creative,  pioneering, and courageous human being. His books are  changing the lives of  thousands!"

"I lost three marriages, all because of affairs."  "I became suicidal because of multiple intense  involvements."

"I spent money on sex when I  needed it for children's clothes."

"I  lost promotion opportunities and a special  scholarship because my co-workers found out about my sex  life."

Every day they face the possibility of  destruction, risking their families, fiances,  jobs, dignity, and health. They come from all walks  of life: ministers, physicians, therapists,  politicians, executives, blue-collar workers. Most were  abused as children--sexually, physically or  emotionally--and saw addictive behavior in their early  lives. Most grapple with other addictions as well,  but their fiercest battle is with the most  astounding prevalent "secret" disorder in  America: sexual addiction. Here is a ground-breaking  work by the nation's leading professional expert on  sexual addiction, based on the candid testimony of  more than one thousand recovering sexual addicts  in the first major scientific study of the  disorder. This essential volume includes not only the  revealing findings of Dr. Carne's research with  recovering addicts but also advice from the addicts and  co-addicts themselves as they work to overcome  their compulsive behavior. Positive, hopeful, and  practical, Don't Call It Love is  a landmark book that helps us better understand  all addictions, their causes, and the difficult path  to recovery.

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"This clear,  helpful, well-organized guide... points the way  toward healing twisted relationships and reclaiming  healthy sexuality."--Publishers  Weekly

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER ONE
The Signs of Addiction
 
 
 
 A woman uses a vibrator so intensely she burns herself and has to go to the emergency room.
 A thirty-one-year-old man, married and the father of three small children, has been having sex with men in “hot johns” since he was seventeen. He got married to stop. He went through treatment for alcoholism to stop. Now he has AIDS. So does his wife. They are both dying.
 The priest has a thousand-dollar-a-week prostitution habit. His only way to support the habit is to steal from the parish he serves.
 Their children and friends knew. But his wife was in the dark until she discovered three volumes carefully annotating his sexual encounters with fifteen hundred women.
 A thirty-eight-year-old dentist is furious about his wife’s sexual unavailability. He secretly drugs her to have sex with her.
 A thirty-five-year-old schoolteacher is stunned as she watches Looking for Mr. Goodbar and recognizes that it fits her life with frightening accuracy.
 A thirty-three-year-old woman leaves her toddlers alone while she goes off to meet her lovers.
 A sixty-six-year-old man is arrested for the third time for stealing lingerie.
 A minister is confronted by the bishop, who has heard about his affairs with parishioners.
 A corporate technical guru has been the subject of seven sexual harassment complaints in two years. Now there is one from a major customer.
 A youth leader has sex with yet another boy. He plans suicide if ever discovered.”
 
The signs of addiction. Some would say these cases are matters of sexual excess or bad judgment or accidents. Others would dismiss them as bizarre or perverted, part of the ragged edge of life. In reality, they represent a much more serious problem: a life-threatening obsession with sex. These situations involved people whose lives were dominated by a pattern of out-of-control sex. Such people are sex addicts. They have experiences that others don’t have, at least not in the same way or to the same extent. The patterns of their lives signify the presence of an illness we are just beginning to understand.
 
We are surrounded by the signs of sex addiction yet still resist its reality. We can accept that people can be sick with alcoholism or can destroy themselves with gambling or food—but not sex. There are some who see the problem clearly but hesitate to call it an addiction. They choose words like “compulsive” or “hypersexual”—yet they have absolutely no problem calling compulsive gambling an addiction. Why is there so much resistance to recognizing the clear signs of sexual addiction? The answer resides in the central role sex plays in all of our lives.
 
1. Sex is essential. Sex is key to the survival of our species, and some of our richest cultural symbols relate to the meaning and beauty of sex. Our songs and literature testify that some of our best moments as human beings are sexual. The first statement made about every one of us is a sexual statement: It’s a boy! It’s a girl! Our sex—male or female—is a fundamental definition of who we are and strongly influences how we live out our lives.
2. Sex is powerful. People in passion will murder, betray, and exploit others. Sex sells products from cologne and cars to newspapers and talk shows. Sex changes our mood and relieves tension. From migraine headaches to arthritis, medical research tells us, sex can be a significant force in healing. But most important, sex for many becomes a bonding force; it sustains relationships through some of our most significant and difficult moments.”
3. Sex is frightening. Current estimates suggest that one out of ten men will commit date rape and that one million women will be raped this year, over half of them by someone they know. Over forty million American adults were abused sexually as children. Each day an average of three thousand teenage girls in the United States become pregnant. Our fears of sexual excess emerge in religious teachings, legislative action, and zoning ordinances, which together express an unwritten cultural code suggesting that sex is dirty and bad. Most adults can confirm that this is the cultural judgment by recalling myths told them as children to prevent sexual play. Our fear of sexual excess serves as a sad counterpoint to our own profound fears and self-doubts about our sexual adequacy. The irony, of course, is that performance anxiety and sexual exploitation are driven by some of the same fear-based sexual assumptions rooted in our culture.
 
This book is about sex addicts but also about the fear, the power, and the importance of sex. From the stories of addicts who have committed themselves to a program of recovery, painful questions emerge about public policy, church practice, and family life. We learn about the damage of child abuse, family dysfunction, and multiple addictions. Sex addiction may be the extra insight we have needed to generate a global picture of a cultural crisis: ours is an addiction-prone culture which is, moreover, becoming increasingly vulnerable to addictive illness. And sex addiction is one of the most destructive.
 
For many, this book will be painful to read. You may recognize patterns in yourself, your family members, your friends. Yet the stories shared here offer extraordinary hope. The journey to recovery starts with being able to identify the common characteristics shared by sex addicts. On the basis of our research and clinical experience, there are ten signs that indicate the presence of sexual addiction:
 
1. A pattern of out-of-control behavior
2. Severe consequences due to sexual behavior
3. Inability to stop despite adverse consequences
4. Persistent pursuit of self-destructive or high-risk behavior
5. Ongoing desire or effort to limit sexual behavior
6. Sexual obsession and fantasy as a primary coping strategy
7. Increasing amounts of sexual experience because the current level of activity is no longer sufficient
8. Severe mood changes around sexual activity
9. Inordinate amounts of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experience
10. Neglect of important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of sexual behavior
By exploring each sign in depth, we begin the anatomy of an addiction. We will also start to see how it has been obscured by the shadows of denial, misperception, and prejudice.
 

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780553072365: Don't Call It Love

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ISBN 10:  0553072366 ISBN 13:  9780553072365
Publisher: Bantam, 1991
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9780749911164: Don't Call It Love: Recovery from Sexual Addiction

Piatku..., 1992
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