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Healing Sexual Shame & Addiction

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Healing Sexual Shame & Addiction. Dr. Hannibal Silver.

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“…we are not alone in our loneliness. Others have been here and known grieves we thought our special own, problems that we could not solve, lovers that we could not have, pleasures that we missed by inches… I think you and I say proud that I have been by fate allowed to stand here having the joyful chance to claim my inheritance. For most have died in the day before the opening of that holy door.”

Patrick Kavanaugh

the garden delight
The Garden Delight

The true antidote to addiction is Shalom.

Rest and peace between humanity and God; rest and peace between humanity and humanity, and an internal serenity between one and his/her true self

crucial role of shame
Crucial Role of Shame
  • Moral Shame (the sense of guilt) is the foundation of morality. Without a sense of shame one cannot form a conscience.
  • Healthy shame is central to one’s sense of identity.
  • Shame can become a signpost to spirituality and the Transcendent.
  • In its fully developed state, it is the sense of awe, reverence, modesty and the sense of being overwhelmed by mystery (see Psalm 8)
how shame forms sex drive
How Shame Forms Sex Drive
  • 4 mo. - 7 mo. Expression of Shame
  • 7 mo. - 3 yrs. Shame as inhibitor of autoerotic excitement.
  • 3 yrs. - 7 yrs. Awareness of Sex Drive - Sexual Fantasy.
basic sexual identity
Basic Sexual Identity
  • Shame Affect Fully Operative as Modesty
  • Daring to Give Self in Sexual Love without Losing Self
  • Shame as a Signpost
  • Love and Intimacy
full i thou capacity
Full I/Thou Capacity
  • Sexual Communication as a Nurturing and Caring Experience of the Whole Person
  • Experiencing the Mystery of Pregnancy and Childbirth.
full sexual expression
Puberty: Full Awakening of Sex Drive

Shame as Dominant Affect: Guilt, Conscience, Awe, Modesty

Shame is the conscience of love

Shame makes sex impossible without love

Sexual Pleasure cannot be achieved by any form of excitation only

Sexual Pleasure is achieved by the affective participation of one’s beloved.

Full Sexual Expression
sexual identity
Sexual Identity
  • Competent Sexual Identity: Guilt as Moral Shame
  • Integration of the Sacred and Natural
  • Desire for Mutuality - Fidelity and Commitment
  • Sexual Shame as Awe, Reverence and Play
identity scripts
Identity Scripts
  • False Self
  • Split Self
  • Dissociated Selves
  • Disown Self
defending scripts
Defending Scripts
  • Perfectionism / Failure
  • Control / Manic
  • Blame / Self Blame
  • Rage / Passive Aggressive
  • Critical Contempt / Self Contempt
signs of shame trauma
Confusion about how to act and what to do

Feelings of loneliness, alienation and lack of connections

Sadness over unfulfilled expectations and wasted life

Desire for a quick fix

Feelings of exposure and vulnerability

Failure to take care of self

Uncontrollable emotions

Dark thoughts about death, including suicide

Sudden accident-prone behavior

Fear that the pain will not go away

Signs of Shame Trauma
compulsive user s core beliefs
Compulsive user’s Core Beliefs
  • I am bad, unworthy person
  • No one will love me as I am
  • No one can take care of my needs but me
  • Sex is my most important need
online sexual community popular and intense
Online sexual community popular and intense?
  • Accessibility
  • Affordability
  • Anonymity
  • Perceived Safety
  • Normalization
cybersex rationalization
Cybersex / Rationalization
  • It doesn’t hurt me or anyone else
  • It is not the same as sex with “real people”
  • It’s just a game
  • I can stop whenever I want
  • No one knows what I am doing online
cybersex immediate expectation
Cybersex / Immediate expectation
  • Escape from stress and anxiety
  • Escape from relational pain and frustration
  • Accept and take ownership of your “forbidden” desires
  • Experience with growing intensity the pleasures of self-stimulation
  • “No one should masturbate alone”
rewards after the thrill is over
Loss of self-respect and self-worth

Loss of Self-esteem

Loss of Trust

Isolation from dating and social interaction

Reduction in spouse intimacy, sexuality and communication


Lack of True Intimacy


“Rewards” after the thrill is over
addiction criteria
Loss of Control - Clear Behavior in which you do more than you intended or want

Compulsive Behavior - A pattern of out of control behavior over time

Loss of Time - Significant amounts of time lost doing and/or recovering from the behavior

Preoccupation - Obsessing about or because of the behavior

Inability to Fulfill Obligations - The behavior interferes with work, school, family, and friends

Continuation Despite Consequences - Failure to stop the behavior despite its social, legal, financial, physical, and work cost

Deprivations - Self-Neglect, Shame based, inhibitions, adversity or pain

Addiction Criteria
ten faces of sexual addiction
Fantasy - Arousal depends on sexual contemplation and computer rituals

Voyeurism - Visual stimulation penetrates mind-body-soul

Exhibitionism - Arousal based on viewer’s reaction of “shock and awe”

Seductive Role - Arousal is based on experience of conquest, rather than in nurturing love-making

Trading - Arousal based on gaining control of others

Intrusive - Arousal occurs by violating boundaries without being noticed

Paying - Arousal connected to earning pleasure through money

Pain Exchange - Aroused based on being humiliated and hurt

Exploitive - Arousal based on targets vulnerable “types”

Serendipitous - Arousal involves no seduction or cost and is immediate and uncommitted

Ten Faces of Sexual Addiction
faces of sexual addiction
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Seductive Role - Arousal is based on experience of conquest, rather than in nurturing love-making
faces of sexual addiction1
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Exhibitionism - Arousal based on viewer’s reaction of “shock and awe”
faces of sexual addiction2
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Paying - Arousal connected to earning pleasure through money
faces of sexual addiction3
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Serendipitous - Arousal involves no seduction or cost and is immediate and uncommitted
faces of sexual addiction4
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Pain Exchange - Aroused based on being humiliated and hurt
faces of sexual addiction5
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Voyeurism - Visual stimulation penetrates mind-body-soul
faces of sexual addiction6
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Intrusive - Arousal occurs by violating boundaries without being noticed
faces of sexual addiction7
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Exploitive - Arousal based on targets vulnerable “types”
faces of sexual addiction8
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Trading - Arousal based on gaining control of others
faces of sexual addiction9
Faces of Sexual Addiction
  • Fantasy - Arousal depends on sexual contemplation and computer rituals
factors for successful recovery of cybersex addicts
Have a primary therapist. Individual counseling is essential

Work to find clarity and resolution in their family of origin and childhood issues

The experience of sharing one’s wounds with fellow addicts may not work, a more diverse support group may be advisable

Develop a spiritual life centered on a personal relationship with God rather than on church creeds and indoctrination

Regular exercises, relaxation, balanced nutrition, air sun, water, and moderation or avoidance of stressor/anxiety triggers

Find a safe community

Factors for Successful Recovery of Cybersex Addicts
safe community rules
Safe Community Rules
  • Affirmation is given - No one is invisible
  • Feelings are accepted - Emotional expressions are not viewed as weakness
  • People are listened to - Opinions are valued and welcome
  • Individuality is encouraged - Unity is cultivated rather than uniformity
  • Personal care and nurture are provided
  • Sensitivity and enjoyment of gender differences are experienced
  • Courage to be imperfect is encouraged
safe community searches
Safe Community Searches
  • Search for Meaning
  • Search for Purpose
  • Search for Encouragement
  • Search for Belonging
applications implications part 1
Applications & Implications Part 1
  • We must accept our personal inability to cope in isolation with the tremendous power of our sexuality
  • We must accept that our sexuality flows in unexpected springs of dark, hateful, and punitive waters
  • We must accept that everyone, single or married often struggles with amazing power of sexual energy
  • We must accept that moral imperatives, simple solutions, magical expectations, and easy prescriptions are inadequate responses to the fearsome power of sex
applications implications part 2
Applications & Implications Part 2
  • We must agree with Eric Fromm that “love actually” takes real love, hard work, and discipline
  • We must cultivate a countercultural view of personal attraction (3D-mind/body/soul) as a replacement to the prevailing and limited view of physical attraction
  • True intimacy will embrace every dimension of living such as, recreational, intellectual, emotional,spiritual, financial, conflict, crisis, commitment, jokes, and sexual foreplay, play, pleasure, and rest
applications implications part 3
Applications & Implications Part 3
  • All the above will facilitate the healing of a shame driven personality. True healing will restore the soul, mind and body to enjoy the pleasures of holiness in time, relationships and communication
  • True intimacy will provide glimpses of a paradise lost and recovered. True intimacy will move one from a miserable state of mind to a life of freedom and celebration