Description of the Course:
Many of us understand fantasy, porn consumption, and “sex addiction” as distinctly separate ideas and concepts, that can be linked or not depending on the person. However, these aspects of sexual experience can quickly find themselves grouped together; undifferentiated, particularly in relationships - leading to panic, pain, and crisis for the couple involved. Sex therapists are often faced with questions like “Can you help me stop fantasizing about other people? Stop masturbating?” “I’ve betrayed my partner by watching porn; can you help me shake this habit?” Out of desperation and fear, people attempt to distance themselves from major components of their sexual life and experience, but is this possible? Is it healthy?
This course takes a deep-dive into the nature and importance of fantasy, the myths and challenges surrounding porn consumption in partnership, and the spectrum of behaviors associated with the blanket term “sex addiction.” Attendees will gain a clearer sense for why and how to treat these areas of sexual life as distinctly separate issues and areas of importance in terms of exploration, understanding, and clear agreement setting in relationships. Participants will leave with a clearer sense of their personal understanding of the complexity of human sexual experience, as well as a sense for the current methodology for treating what is largely referred to as “out-of-control sexual behavior” in the field of sex therapy.
Paula received her Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Human Development at Arizona State University and then went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Family Therapy at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston. Post family therapy licensure, she became AASECT (American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) certified as a Sex Therapist and worked with individuals, relationships, and families in private practice in Quincy, Massachusetts for over ten years. In that time, Paula received AASECT certification as a Supervisor of Sex Therapy, and co-founded a sex therapy agency and training institute where she saw clients in addition to training therapists to become competent, confident sex therapists themselves. Paula continues to regularly present at various training institutes as well as Universities and therapy agencies across the US.
- Describe why fantasy is an important part of human development from childhood through adulthood.
- Explain the major differences between partnered sex and watching pornography for those who participate in both.
- Name several reasons why the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) has taken a position against Sex Addiction as a diagnosable disorder.
Braun-Harvey, D., & Vigorito, M. A. (2016). Treating out of control sexual behavior:Rethinking sex addiction. Springer Publishing Company, LLC.
Cowart, L. (2021). Hurts so good: The science and culture of pain on purpose. PublicAffairs, Hachette Book Group.
Donaghue, C. (2015). Sex outside the lines authentic sexuality in a sexually dysfunctional culture. BenBella Books, Inc.
Klein, M. (2016). His porn, her pain: Confronting America's pornpanic with honest talk about sex. Praeger.
Real, T. (2008). The new rules of marriage: What you need to know to make love work. Ballantine Books.
I. Intro: Working Agreements and Confidentiality
II. Case: Joe and Tina
III. Private/Hidden vs. Secret
IV. Eroticization of Everything
a. Development and Socialization
b. Fantasy vs. Desire
VI. BREAK – 10 minutes
a. Sexual Development Cont.
b. Meaning making
c. What IS porn?
d. Experience of pornography vs. partnered sex
e. Is it really about porn?
f. Self-harm vs. Self-care
VIII. BREAK – 10 minutes
IX. Out of Control Sexual Behavior
a. What is it? Why not sex addiction?
b. Treating OCSB
c. Considerations for couples
a. Case discussion
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Accommodations for the Differently Abled:
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