What do college students want to know about sex therapy?

I taught a class today at a local college.  There were four questions the students had, and the answers I gave them:


1.  What exactly does it mean to be addicted to porn?


When you use erotic imagery of any kind as a masturbatory tool as a physical or an emotional substitute for sex your partner, or when you hide the fact that you are using pornography from your partner, then you may be at risk of developing a compulsion around pornography.  If porn taking up a significant amount of the free time in your life to the detriment of other things that are more important to you then you may be at risk of becoming dependent on it, or using it as a way to avoid things in your life.

Just because you look at porn or masturbate to it does not make you a porn addict.  But if you are doing it and wish you werent, it could mean you have a problem.  Guilt, shame or regret does not make you a porn addict, most people feel bad after looking a porn.  Porn use can be a symptom of a bigger problem.  Or it can be recreational. 


If you are looking at minors or forwarding naked photos of friends around on the internet or on your phone – YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING ILLEGAL. 


If you think you are at risk or have a problem, contact a professional. 


2.  Is it possible to be a relationship addict?


Yes its possible to be addicted to relationships, more likely you are co-dependent and addicted to the drama or chaos that dysfunctional relationships bring.  Many adult children of alcoholics have a compulsion to repeat unsatisfying and unhealthy hook ups, and never find a satifying way to get their own needs met in a relationship.


You may find yourself drawn into the caretaking role, or feel like people are always using you.  Find a therapist and work through your stuff.  Its not just about self esteem, but you do need to feel good about yourself for someone else to love you like you deserve to be loved.


3.  How hard is it to deal with clients’ sexual issues everyday.


Its not hard at all.  Its very rewarding to know that I can help people work on the most important aspect of their lives – and increase the passion in their relationships.  Whats better than that?  Besides, its never boring.


4.  How do people react to your profession and your field?


It makes for great conversations at cocktail parties.  People find it fascinating, and everyone wants to tell me their sexual histories.  Some people assume that because I am a sex therapist I have an amazing rocket booster sex life (its true!) and some people assume that because Im a sex therapist I am judging them (not true!).   People who know I am a couples therapist want me to save their marriage.  They know that they need help – who doesnt? – and they see it as hopeful that someone has the answers.  They also want to know what the “secret” is to a happy relationship.  I always tell them its appreciation


You always get more of what you appreciate.


Dont forget to appreciate your partner every day – even in small ways, even when they are annoying you.  Eventually you will get more of what you like and you will find yourself focusing less on what you dont.


Dr Tammy Nelson

email me at tammy@tammynelson.org


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