Can Addicts Be Intimate?

Addicts are incapable of intimacy. They turn off their internal information systems through the use of their addictive agent. Therefore, they can not have available to themselves essential information about what they feel and think. They block the process of knowing who they really are.

I had a client who was a sex and cyber-porn addict. He was caught by his wife paying prostitutes - both male and female. According to him, his sex addiction had leveled up which now included perverted acts in the bedroom. Being threatened with divorce by his wife, he hit bottom and sought help to heal emotional wounds and repair his intimacy dysfunction in the marriage.

I believe that a first prerequisite for this sex addicted husband to rehabilitate is intimacy within himself. It means accurate "presence with the self."  In order to be intimate with his wife, he has to know who he is, what he feels, and what he wants. For instance, when he is able to feel his true deepest feelings, he must learn what exactly to do with them and how to properly express them rather than act them out in self-destructive ways. In order to be intimate with his spouse, he needs first to be intimate within himself.

Dr. Anne Wilson Schaef, noted author/psychotherapist, once wrote that the "love" addictions (sex, romance, relationships) are all "escape from intimacy."  She said that too many people are unaware of themselves and so unaware of what they think, feel, and know. As a result, there is no way, according to her, for these "love" addicts to ever honestly express themselves to others. When something is triggered inside (e.g. some "pain"), they're unable to get in touch with old, buried "alive" parts of themselves that continue to haunt them.