Healing James’ Sexual Addiction & Anxiety
James was a 45 year-old man. Although he had worked constantly for the past 25 years, he had no savings to speak of. All that he had earned, he had spent on prostitutes. On average he frequented them three times a week. He was also unable to initiate and maintain a healthy relationship with a woman.
“When I see a woman walking down the street”, he confided in me, “I automatically picture having sex with her in my mind.” He was obsessed with sex and prostitutes. Whenever he would try to resist his urges and not to go to these clubs he would get very anxious. He admitted to me that he had a serious case of anxiety and a sexual addiction.
He asked me if I could hypnotize him and ‘erase’ his addiction to sex from his mind and therefore, free him from anxiety. I explained to James that even though hypnosis was an effective tool for many problems, it would not be helpful in his case.
“Just like a craftsman”, I explained, “who has many tools available to him in his toolbox, I use the most appropriate technique according to the contingent needs of each person and each case.” He agreed and allowed me the flexibility to decide how to help him.
I told him that I was going to ask him do something seemingly eccentric and curious. After all, James already knew that his problem was not a normal one. On the plus side, James was tired of his sexual addiction and how it controlled his life and ruined his prospects. He was willing to do anything to get rid of his anxiety and sexual addiction.
I asked him what was genre of music he hated the most. Without hesitation, James replied, “Flamenco”.
“Okay James”, I instructed, “I want you to buy a CD of flamenco music and a portable CD player, if you don’t already have one. From now on, you will take them both with you wherever you go. When you start to feel the urge to go to one of these clubs to satisfy your sexual addiction and to get rid of your anxiety, you can enter but must first put on the headphones, press ‘play’ and dance to the flamenco music for 15 minutes in front of the prostitute. After which you can continue as you would normally. You can also avoid having sex altogether with a prostitute and avoid this flamenco dance altogether. However if the urge is too strong and you cannot control yourself, then you dance before giving in to anxiety and sexual addiction. Obviously you can choose to avoid all of this.”
He was sitting quietly and listening to my instructions with undivided attention. When I finished, James looked at me with a very puzzled look. After a long pause he said that he would carry out my instruction word for word.
I should make an important note here, I do not always give such strange tasks to people who come to see me. You must understand that my goal is not merely having people do strange things, but rather to find the most effective way to solve their problem in a short time. And at times, the way to do that involves a task that may seem very odd if taken out of its proper context.
A week later, at our next session, James came back to see me. On entering my office at the scheduled time he beamed a huge smile.
“What did you do to me Arthur?” he asked incredulously. “For the first time in my adult life I have not gone to a club!”
He explained that the mere thought of looking foolish in front of the prostitutes for 15 minutes, had removed his addiction to sex. During the week he had felt a special strength and felt really good about himself. He was also calm and anxiety free. He said that before he had tried to avoid sex for a few days but the only result was that he felt extremely anxious. But this time it didn’t cause him any anxiety. Also during those seven days he said that he wasn’t looking at women as sex objects. Something had changed.
During our next sessions I gave James more exercises custom made to his particular situation. He was able to definitively close the painful chapter of anxiety and sexual addiction in his life.