Are you someone who tends to have multiple sexual partners, and wonders if this is strange or not? Do you have trouble keeping track of who you are having sex with due to sheer numbers or other factors, like substance use? No matter which of these is the case, you would do well to keep on reading, because it depends which of these questions you may have answered yes to.
What is Polyamory and Why It Shouldn’t Be Confused with Sex Addiction
Polyamory has been defined as “maintain(ing) multiple love relationships and (being) open and honest within these.” As such, there is no duplicity or deceit involved in these people or their relationships. While I don’t have any statistics on what percentage of the population are in polyamorous relationships, they definitely are small in relation to the monogamous part of the population. The difference between these individuals and those that struggle with out of control sexual behavior or sex addiction as it is more commonly referred to is that people with this problem are usually not honest or secretive about their other partners or activities outside of the relationship. This is where a lot of their relationship and personal problems come from, and if there are substance use problems mixed in with this, it can make life very unmanageable for them, too! This often results in feeling like you are living a ‘double life.’
The Snowball Effect
When the lies of a person with out-of-control sexual behavior start to grow and multiply then the suffering of their partners tends to spiral as well as the flack they get from their partners. This leads them to seek relief outside of the relationship, but only winds up making things worse for the person with the sex addiction issue, and the vicious cycle is in full motion. From that point on, the person with the addiction problem can spiral out of control until those involved with them usually wind up feeling betrayed, angry, and/or confused. On the other hand, someone who is polyamorous isn’t creating this kind of havoc because they are being honest with their partners. If their partners feel jealousy towards them, then this has to be dealt with in such a way that the partner’s jealousy is resolved or they move on to another partner who won’t make them feel jealous for one reason or another.
What To Do About It
If someone is suffering from compulsive or addictive sexual behavior, then getting honest with themselves about the chaos they’ve created is a good first step. The second is to find someone else they can be honest with. If it’s not with their partners, then either a friend or a therapist who’s trained in treating out-of-control sexual behavior or sex addiction can be a good next step. I have such training in helping men with this problem and would be happy to talk to you about whether I could be helpful to you as well. From there, getting schooled in sexual health principles, such as honesty and non-exploitation can be very important so these can get incorporated in your relationships from then onward. You can reach me for a free 45-minute face-to-face consult at email@example.com, the phone number at the top of the page, or by inquiring with me in the form at the bottom. Freedom from the chaos and pain you’re causing yourself and others is so worth the risk of getting the help you need. After all, it’s not just you you’re doing this for, but for all those in your life as well.
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults and adolescents 14 and up in private practice. His new e-book is entitled Life’s Lessons from the Young and the Old and is available for purchase on Amazon.
Click here to learn more about how Scott can help you with compulsive or addictive sexual behavior.