Rebuilding the Lost Connection in Human Sexuality with Dr. Carol Clark

Dr. Carol Clark, Board Certified Sex Therapist and Board Certified Transgender Care Therapist, joins Ron for a talk on human sexuality, addiction and intimacy. She and Rob discuss what it really means to be a sex addict, the difference between true addiction and a behavior that is deemed unacceptable, and how we face, process, and move forward in situations that are often confusing and difficult.   Lastly, Dr. Clark shares the variety of interventions that she currently uses to assist clients seeking personal growth and mental health. She is Certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and specializes in treating sex addiction and gender dysphoria.   TAKEAWAYS: [3:51] Dr. Clark gets a lot of questions relating to sexuality and sexual identity from both couples and individuals. She breaks down the definition and meaning behind the words “gay”, “bixsexual” and “homosexuality”, and how they relate to sex and gender, and addiction. [5:03] Dr. Clark defines addiction as, “obsessive compulsive, out of control behavior done in spite of negative consequences to self or others.” In a sex addiction, sex is the drug of choice. There are many aspects to sexuality and attraction, including development in puberty and adolescent stage of life. To fully know if someone is an addict, there is much to be discovered, history to uncover and analyzing the energy that goes into the behavior. [9:56] When we get stuck at different parts of life, we must address the trauma, no matter how small. It’s traumatic for an individual to question their orientation with their loved ones denying their feelings or even threatening impending consequences if they were to follow their impulses. Rob sees people from very conservative or morality driven environments struggle with sexuality more than people who don’t come from those environments. [11:54] When someone is looking to get help, or even just to uncover what may be going on with their own arousal or orientation issues, it is important they seek someone that has education in Human Sexuality. [14:27] Whereas intimacy is about connection, addiction is about disconnection. Rob quotes a friend, “Sex for sex addicts, with a partner who they are really committed to, is not about being horny, it’s about being willing.” A lot of sex addicts are so used to being immediately aroused by a new stimulus, they often feel disappointed when they don’t feel that with their long term steady partners. [16:28] Dr. Clark’s book, Addict America: The Lost Connection, explores our culture’s tendency to look externally for internal validation. This never fills us, and sends us into an addictive place, seeking more with no success. [18:25] Rob explains the term secondary gains, and how for some people it may be just a simple behavior such as going to get a drink, or having sex as a way to foster intimacy and connection. For others, they will do a behavior to try and fill their void, or numb their pain. [23:21] Dr. Clark says that when someone comes in to her office who has been encouraged to deny or push away any part of who they inherently are, there is much work to be done. [23:40] Dr. Clark helps her clients process negative events and turn them around through EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. After they reprocess the old memories, they can move forward and explore what is congruent with their own beliefs. [30:43] No couples are going to agree 100% of the time on sexual desires and what makes them aroused. Dr. Clark and Rob both agree that what is important is the communication between partners to identify what works for that particular relationship. The world of sex addiction is becoming less rigid about a one size fits all approach for everyone, and becoming articulated towards what works for that individual and their love lives.   RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Out of the Doghouse Out of the Doghouse for Christian Men Addict America: The Lost Connection Hannah Gadsby Clinical Sexology Phd Therapy Certification Training   QUOTES: “It comes back to behavior and what the thoughts are behind that behavior.” “Addiction is about objectification. A sex addiction is about addiction more than sex.” “Just because you don’t like something around your sexual behavior doesn’t mean it’s addiction.” “I’d like you to think about sex as an expression of intimacy, and being open and connected with another person.” “We would like sex with a partner to be about intimacy and connection.” “Our addiction is stimulation, that is really what we get addicted to.” “We are born to be optimally sexual, and then we get messages about what is okay, and what’s not okay, and we do have some of the hard wiring.”

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