Sexual abuse refers to any instance in which one person forces another person to engage in unwanted sexual activities, or makes unsolicited threats or harassing comments of a sexual nature. Abuse is measured subjectively; it can be any unwanted sexual activity or remark that makes a person feel violated or uncomfortable. Sexual abuse can happen to anyone— men, women, children, and adults—and can be a single incident or an ongoing occurrence. Most victims know their abuser. The effects of sexual abuse may include anxiety, depression, trauma, flashbacks, fear, shame, and/or low self-esteem.
Sexual Abuse. What Do I Do Now?
If you are a sexual abuse victim, you must first take steps to ensure your protection: get away from your abuser, surround yourself with supportive family and friends, and see a doctor as soon as possible. Once you are safe, seek the help of a qualified mental health expert. Sometimes victims of abuse will suppress memories of their abuse, only to have the experience resurface months or even years later, when no longer under threat. If this is the case, your first concern will not be safety but dealing with the psychological repercussions of abuse.
Healing and Recovery From Sexual Abuse
For most sexual abuse victims, the road to healing is long and difficult, but there is hope for recovery after abuse. The best way to recover from sexual abuse is to openly confront your experience with the help of trusted, qualified professionals. Speaking with a counselor about your experience can help you work through the pain, recognize your worth, and rebuild your life.
Sexual Abuse and Relationships
Learning to navigate relationships after sexual abuse can be a complex and challenging process. In a healthy relationship, both partners should feel confident about their personal dignity and lines of trust and communication should be totally open. The personal violation of abuse usually causes victims to retreat and often significantly lowers self-esteem. This can make intimacy difficult, but it is essential for others to support the victim by listening and reminding the victim that he or she is worthy of love.
By Patricia Lyon,
Posted September 17th, 2015
Tags: Rebuilding trust after Sex Addiction, Therapeutic Approaches to Sex Addiction
An Analysis of Counseling Interventions
Cybersex, Part 3 of a 3-Part Series
Cybersex addiction is a widespread problem in our society that has serious consequences for both addicts and their spouses. In the first article in this series, I introduced the phenomenon of sexual addiction and outlined its effects on addicts and their partners. In the second article, I provided a transcript of a first-time visit to a therapist of couple who had been affected by sex addiction, showing what may typically occur in therapy. In this final article in the series, I discuss some studies that have highlighted important points in the therapeutic treatment of sex addiction.
Effective Counseling for Cybersex Addiction
In a study of 248 professional counselors, Swisher (1995) found that while marital therapy plays a significant role, individual and group therapies are more commonly suggested for sexual addictions (Zitzman & Butler, 2005). Issues to be addressed in counseling may include reducing shame, challenging beliefs, learning to deal with emotions, creating a support system, and reframing the problem (Zitzman & Butler, 2005). Counselors were found to be ineffective when they minimized the significance of Cybersex behavior, failed to make it a priority to stop illegal or self-destructive behaviors, or did not consider the effects on the spouse or partner (Schneider, 2000).
Tools for Recovery
Moreover, counselors have also identified specific tools for recovery that Cybersex addicts can adopt. These include:
Make the computer safe to use (location, blocking software, deleting ...Read More
Addiction to Sex Affects Everyone One Way or Another
By Patricia Lyon,
Posted July 23rd, 2015
Tags: Cybersex Series-Lyon, relationship issues, Sexual Abuse, sexual addiction
Sexual addiction is the inability to stop sexual behavior, even when it damages your life. It involves engaging in excessive sexual fantasies and urges in response to anxiety, depression, or stressful life situations. Sexual addiction is characterized by repetitive but unsuccessful attempts to control or significantly curtail these fantasies, urges, and behaviors. Engaging in sexual behavior without regard for the risk of emotional or physical harm to yourself or others is another hallmark of sexual addiction. This article is the first in a 3-part series in which I share the impact of Cybersex.
Pornography and Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual function or dysfunction as a result of viewing pornography, especially on the Internet, is not specifically listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychological Association (DSM-V, 2013). However, research indicates that the results of habitual pornography use may cause acquired sexual dysfunction (and indicates that sexual dysfunction only develops after a period of normal functioning), and may be influenced by situational or psychological factors. Sexual dysfunction is characterized by a disturbance of sexual desire and by changes in the body, mind, and emotions.
Pornography viewing also has some resemblance to Paraphilias, which the DSM-V describes as characterized by: “recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or situations and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. For some individuals, paraphilic fantasies or stimuli are obligatory for erotic arousal and are