Sex addiction-induced trauma is particularly acute around discoveries (finding out about sexual acting out, deception and relational violations), disclosures (being told about sexual acting out, deception and relational violations) and around the continued traumatic incidents that result from the presence of sexual addiction in an intimate relationship and family system. Partners often present with a set of symptoms related to post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD), complex post-traumatic-stress disorder (C-PTSD) and rape trauma syndrome (RTS), including psycho-biological alterations, re-experiencing of the trauma, social and emotional constriction, constant triggering and reactivity, significant anxiety, emotional arousal and labiality, hyper-vigilance, dissociative symptoms, and sexual trauma symptoms similar to sexual rape (Minwalla, O., 2006 ; Minwalla, O., 2012)
A critical injury of SAIT is foundational reality-ego fragmentation that impacts ego functionality, the ego’s ability to perceive and adapt, thus compromising foundational psychological stability. Furthermore, there are often intense relational ruptures and destabilizing attachment injuries, which impact core dynamics of human dependencies, security and basic human reliance (Minwalla, O., 2011).
Sex addiction-induced trauma is a highly specific type of trauma that involves nuanced symptoms that can sometimes include fear and panic of potential sexual disease and contamination, social repercussions, fear of child safety, terror and panic about the potential of child molestation, severe gender wounding, social isolation, social misrepresentation, financial loss and domestic embezzlement, collusion in violation, embarrassment, complex humiliation and profound shame (Minwalla, O., 2012).
Due to the normative societal psychology of gender-based violence, the sex addiction field remains dominated by the “co-sex addiction model” and is yet to even term a specific name for sex addiction-induced trauma, or even recognize or legitimize it’s existence.
Persons impacted by this type of trauma deserve clinical treatment and the lack of provision is a form of gender-based violence and a violation of human rights. Despite cultural, institutional and professional confusion, resistance, and denial, SAIT symptoms are actually natural and expected human responses to profound impacts and are normal human reactions rooted in human survival and biology.
“Naming the syndrome of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, represents an essential step toward granting those who have endured prolonged exploitation, a measure of the recognition they deserve. It is an attempt to find a language that is at once faithful to the traditions of accurate psychological observation and to the moral demands of traumatized people.” (Herman, J., 1997, p. 122)
Herman, J. (2nd ed. 1997). Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. Basic Books.
Jason, S. & Minwalla, O. (2008, September). Sexual Trauma Model: Partner’s Reaction, Addict’s Reaction. Presentation at The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health National Conference, Boston, Massachusetts.
Minwalla, O. (2012, July, 23). Partners of Sex Addicts Need Treatment for Trauma. The National Psychologist. fromhttp://nationalpsychologist.com/2012/07/partners-of-sex-addicts-need-treatment-for-trauma
Minwalla, O. (2011). A New Generation of Sex Addiction Treatment: The Sex Addiction-Induced Trauma Model for the Treatment of Sex Addicts, Partners and the Couple. Presented at The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health National Conference, San Diego, California.
Steffens, B. & Means, M. (2009). Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal. New Horizon Press.
Contact Info:Phone: 310-286-1300
The Institute for Sexual Health (ISH)
400 S. Beverly Drive, Ste 316
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Upcoming Intensives:9-day SAC
June 20-29, 2014
3-day SAITM Intensive
Upcoming Workshops:1-day SAITM Workshop
Upcoming Training:SAITM Training
Next training dates are to-be-determined. Check back soon for updates!