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Can Buddhism Help with Sex Addiction?

This guest article from YourTango was written by Paldrom Collins

In the land of the strange but true, as a former Tibetan Buddhist nun I fell in love with and married a man who counsels sex addicts and who is a recovering sex addict himself. Joining him in his counseling practice has allowed me a look into the lives of many people who have struggled with sex and relationship addictions.

These relationships have also impelled me to contemplate how the grace and teaching that I received from my Tibetan teachers can supply guidance in how to work with the compulsions or addictions that manifest in our world today. A young woman called tonight, crying.

Her husband had promised he would stop accessing Internet porn. She had recently given birth to their first child, and on their home computer she discovered that in the previous few days her husband had visited dozens of porn sites.

What should she do?

5 Comments to
Can Buddhism Help with Sex Addiction?

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  1. I have no issue with offering compassion for someone suffering with sexual addiction as a habitual coping mechanism now out of control. However, I have great issue with someone causing suffering for another by bringing someone into a relationship with them using lies, deceit, and ultimately betrayal while pursuing their coping mechanism in secrecy. Perfect compassion is a divine ideal. I can be compassionate, but my compassion for myself must come first, for such a person has demonstrated they will no such compassion in return, and are willing to increase the suffering in the world one person at a time. So many of these descriptions of sex addiction offer solace and compassion for the addict, and responsibility and shame for not being the bigger person on those victimized, yet I said the ‘v’ word, by the actions and impulses of the addict. Please shed some small tear for us.

  2. This is an excellent article that clearly starts to go beneath the surface of sex addiction.

    If I could offer another angle… What if the sexual impulse were leading you somewhere? What if it’s agenda was to bring together the male and female archetypes? What if the sex god were to be a force of nature that seeks to be one with it’s opposite?

    If we start to see it so simply we have made a bold initial step towards acceptance… and with acceptance recovery can come.

    I have always been a sexual creature, I am also a Truth seeker. Peeps interested in this article will almost certainly be interested in my new book called ‘the sex god – No Mud No Lotus’. You may find it a compelling yet spiritually erotic read!

    The sex god – No Mud No Lotus is a thorough and sacred investigation into sex, love and authenticity. It’s a sexually explicit and passionate love story that follows one man’s evolution towards spiritual freedom. The story is told through his many erotic encounters. We follow him from innocence into sexual cockiness, painful infidelities, porn addiction and then onwards into deepest Tantric Love.

    Ben overcomes his pain with mindfulness… He then sees his eros as a force of Love.

    The book explores sex, infidelity, Tantra, sex addiction, pornography, sexual healing, sacred sexuality and eco sexuality in great depth.

  3. A lovely article. Thank you. Very useful to me because, I like many of us suffer from compulsions which ultimately bring unhapiness and pull me from my practice.

    In terms of internet porn and the seduction of ‘the web’, what could be more appropriate than the words of the Buddha –

    Like a spider caught in its own web
    a being enwrapped in sensual craving
    must be released from its own longings
    before it can walk free

  4. Really encouraging article, thank you. Am currently battling as best I can against a host of demons, and this call to confront the enemies of my Buddha nature and face them down really resonates.

    May all living beings suffering with such issues similarly find comfort in an end to craving.

  5. I think for anyone addicted to anything wherein they feel nothing else has worked in terms of giving them the tools to stop, Buddhism is IT. To me, the key was finding the right question to ask myself when in the throes of temptation, and it was this: I cannot resist and go on autopilot because deep down, I believe life without the substance/activity (in this case, sex) is not worth living. The addicted part of me thinks that if I can’t have it, I might as well die. For me, this seemed to be the magic pill and opened up a new neural pathway, because I have enough in my life that I knew this was ridiculous, so it was an easy assumption to challenge and break the thought pattern up. For the first time, the rational part got through to the irrational part and they spoke to one another. Even if the rational part of you AGREES with the addicted part, you realize that if you want to have a better life, that part of you has to die. It IS a death. Often you hear counseling that says the opposite – you have to tell the addict in you that your survival mechanism is screwed up and you won’t die if you don’t have the drug. This is incorrect, imho. A part of you IS dying and you must let it die in order to move on. You won’t die physically, but mentally a part of you will die and you have to accept that fact… you have to accept that it will be painful, but something new will be born out of it. I don’t believe in separating the addict from yourself either, I believe it’s all part of one self and you can’t figure out how you got to this point without looking at all the decisions of that one self that lead to the addiction – they start out as decisions, so I found that the way out of the maze is the same way you got in – decisions become habits. Of course any one piece of this is oversimplification, but a multi-faceted approach is ALWAYS needed, I believe, and Buddhism provides that approach.



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