One of the biggest sources of confusion and alarm for clients is when they find themselves struggling with various sexual thoughts, feelings, or fantasies that feel foreign to them or add odds with their values. This is a significant source of distress for many individuals, and one that arises from a lack of understanding of how the human mind works. As a result, folks with these concerns may find themselves feeling out of control, fearful of their own desires, and self-identifying themselves as sex addicts. The good news is that sexual thoughts, feelings, and fantasies, now matter how outlandish, are often normal byproducts of the human mind, and rarely, if ever lead to acting out on them.
In my work with my clients, I often find that defusing some of the stigma around these internal sexual preoccupations helps to lighten the weight and pressure surrounding them. Often the biggest source of distress is not the fantasy itself, but the meaning that the individual ascribes to it. For more on the meaning of sexual fantasies, take a look here. Things may tend to feel more out of control if they seem monumental with importance, infused with pressure, and viewed as dangerous or pathological. For example, someone with chest pain may easily feel overwhelmed and out of control, fearing the worst case outcome of a heart attack, but will feel significant relief and sense of self-agency if he or she learns that the pain is merely heartburn. This is how our human mind works. When we fear and dread the worst, we are much more likely to […]