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Sex Addict or Homosexual?

I know of clients telling their therapist, "I would rather be a sex addict than a homosexual." Some sex addiction therapists, especially those who have a religious influence to their work, admittedly believe that homosexuality is not an "authentic" identity, particularly for those who do not want it. Calling such sexual interests a "same-sex attraction" and an "acting out" of the client's sexual addiction, these therapists then treat the client as a sex addict, and send him to Sexaholics Anonymous, which is overtly anti-gay. This type of sex-addiction treatment becomes, at times, the new "reparative therapy," which is widely considered unethical and, in some states, illegal. It might be coming from a well intended therapist, however it is still treating same-sex attractions as pathology rather than exploring the various ways sexual orientation can manifest, or helping gay or bisexual men come out of their shame into their true sexual identity. It implies that being sick and a sex addict is better than being a gay or bisexual man. I have had clients who are clearly homosexual, but because of their culture -- such as Arab or Indian -- they cannot come out and never will. I will never tell them that they are sex addicts or can change from gay to straight, or that they should manage their feelings because they are sick. Instead I help them to accept that they are homosexual, but don't have to embrace the "gay lifestyle" or a gay identity -- only if this is what they choose. This supports a position of sexual strength and health rather than pathology or sickness and keeping them ashamed.

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