Read an Excerpt
Addiction,* according to The Consolidated Webster Encyclopedia Dictionary, is defined as 'the act of devoting or giving up of one's self to a practice.' The sex addict is addicted to sex for a fix,* and the co-sex addict is addicted to the sex addict and the relationship. A co-sex addict may not only give her body, but may also give her time, emotional energy, financial resources, creativity, or her very soul over to her sex addict to fill the emptiness inside.
In our culture, we often hear about alcohol, drug addiction, eating disorders, workaholics, violence, gambling problems, and a host of other compulsive-addictive behaviors. The prevalence of sex addiction has now captured our attention. Computer pornography, rape, incest, molestation by religious officials, exhibitionism, prostitution, child pornography, and multiple affairs are all examples of sex addiction. The use of sex to avoid being responsible for one's own needs or feelings, or to medicate or cover up one's feelings of any sort, involves sex and co-sex addiction. The sex addict may use one or any variety of these various sources for his fix. This may or may not include using the relationship for sex in order to fix his feelings.
With each occurrence of sexual acting out* and sex addiction, there is the presence of co-sex addiction. Co-sex addicts are the individuals who are willing, either consciously or unconsciously, to give themselves over to another's addiction and be used to provide the fix. This is a co-sex addict's way to attempt to fill her internal emptiness by 'hoping' to solidify, create, or mend a relationship. This is how she gets her fix.
When addiction and the addictive cycle* is present in one's life, getting a fix from the addiction or addict becomes the center of one's life and energy. (Both individuals 'give up themselves,' as the Webster dictionary defined addiction, to practice their sex addiction and co-sex addiction.) It fills the space of what could be an authentic/healthy relationship with an obsessive-compulsive drive to fill the cravings and get that fix. Addictive behavior repels intimacy and an authentic relationship.
Beginning Co-Sex Addiction Recovery
Most women come into healing and recovery from co-sex addiction because of the discovery of their partner's sex addiction and actions pertaining to it. Sometimes it is about someone else's addiction close to them, such as a brother, father, or friend. Initially, we think that the trouble is the other person or the relationship itself. However, what one learns over time during recovery from co-sex addiction is that the source of the dysfunction is not in the relationship with others, but in the relationship with oneself. Before one can have an authentic relationship with another, one must have an authentic relationship with oneself.
Authentic relationship with oneself is about knowing our herstory/history (family of origin work*). Once we know this, we grieve the loss of what we often thought was a happy childhood. We embrace the reality of how we were hurt and set up* to be addicts/co-addicts with dysfunctional relationships. This is why we must look at any addiction that is in our lives. We will find that the co-sex/sex addiction we live with today was set up through our parents, extended family, or primary caregivers in our family of origin. This brings us into reality and eventually forgiveness of ourselves and our abusers/offenders.* Our family tree will be imprinted with the gifts of our recovery, and this will give birth to a profound spiritual healing for generations previous to us and generations to come.
In co-sex addiction recovery, we begin to develop tools to distinguish when our past hurts get triggered.* This tells us what old herstory/trauma is and what our present reality is. Recovery also provides a step-by-step process to assist in distinguishing automatic behaviors.* These old behaviors from the past lose their power, and we are free to choose behaviors based on our values today.
©2008. Claudine Pletcher, Sally Bartolameolli. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Relationships from Addiction to Authenticity. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442