You are the king and you have a job to do. The job to which this chapter calls your inner king is to become aware of any dangers your kingdom may be facing from internal shadows that may be bent on usurping the power in your life. In other words, this chapter is intended to help you find any psychological problems you may be dealing with. Psychological problems—such as shame, depression, anxiety, and obsessive–compulsiveness—can usurp power by diverting your attention from kingdom building to inner turmoil. A powerful king would never allow that.
This chapter will be different from the others since it contains a number of short questionnaires to help reveal problems of which you may not be fully aware. We’ll consider a variety of issues, including shame, negative core beliefs, addiction, depression, various anxiety disorders, obsessive–compulsiveness, post–traumatic disturbance, and harmful relationships.
None of what we’ll discuss in this chapter is unique to men with unwanted same–sex attraction—heterosexual men and women also suffer from these problems. But, in my clinical experience, these issues do occur with far greater frequency among men with unwanted same–sex attraction than among the general population. These problems can make working through unwanted same–sex attraction difficult, if not impossible, if they are not addressed. So give careful attention to the topics raised in this chapter. Be introspective and honest with yourself. Go all the way through this chapter, even if you think you aren’t dealing with anything other than unwanted same–sex attraction. You may discover something new and important.
SEXUAL ADDICTION AND COMPULSION
Addictive and compulsive sexual behaviors can become a man’s most serious barrier to growth and are very common among those with same–sex attraction. Let’s start with a brief discussion of the whole spectrum of human sexual desire and behavior to help you understand how addiction differs from compulsive sexuality and from normal sexual behavior.
The graphic below depicts this spectrum as a scale going from sexual anorexia on the far left to sexual addiction on the far right. Near the middle of the scale you find normal sexual behavior. But you will notice by looking at the scale that “normal” covers a wide span of the spectrum. Even within the normal range, humans differ greatly in our level of sexual desire and the extent of our sexual behavior. Now let’s turn our attention to the extremes.
Sexual anorexia is a diminishing or loss of interest in sex and intimacy. It can be as substantial a problem for those who experience it as sexual compulsion or addiction, and it’s also treatable by professionals who have the right training. Sexual addiction on the other end of the spectrum is the loss of control of sexual behavior, which then becomes worse over time. Those of us with extreme sexual addiction literally cannot stop the continual intensification of our sexual acting out, even when our behavior has cost us our job, relationships, financial security, and even our freedom. We’ll discuss this further in a moment.
Compulsive sexual behavior is not unmanageable in the way that sexual addiction is. Although those of us with sexual compulsivity usually cannot stop our sexual behavior without help, the behavior doesn’t worsen over time, and its consequences tend not to be as extreme as for the addict. Compulsive sexual behavior may remain essentially the same for many years. Even so, it can still be a serious obstacle to growth.