By Marie Woods, LMFT, C SAT
Primary Therapist, Gentle Path at The Meadows
Earlier this month, LGBTQ Nation published an article featuring Danny Pintauro from the popular 80s American sitcom “Who’s the Boss.” In the article, Danny says he believe that his engagement in Bondage/Discipline Domination/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism (BDSM) led to his meth addiction.
Much research would need to be done to prove any sort of causal relationship between the two. It should also be noted that many individuals who engage in BDSM behaviors, and in meth use, do not experience negative life consequences or develop an addiction. But, the interview does raise some important questions about the relationship between sex addiction and meth addiction. At Gentle Path at The Meadows, we do see a strong correlation between meth addiction and sex addiction in many of our clients.
Why is Meth a Drug of Choice for Many Sex Addicts?
Some of the most common reasons we hear from our clients who struggle with both sex and meth addictions are…
Many addicts refer to the combination of meth and sex as “the ultimate high.” Sex and meth use are both intense experiences in and of themselves. When a person combines the two the intensity is even greater. And, because the experience is so intense and stimulating, individuals tend to want to repeat it. This is one of the things that makes recovery from meth and sex addiction very difficult.
When an experience carries that much intensity and power, it also requires the same level of intensity and power to stop. And, it is critical that these addictions are stopped, as meth addiction and sex addiction are both conditions that can lead to dire consequences.
On the other hand, some addicts describe engaging in these behaviors as the most extreme form of disinhibition. These individuals tend to dissociate in some way when they engage in this combination of behaviors. These individuals are often ashamed of their sexual behavior and use the meth to numb out in order to be able to engage in it. Many times, these patients report being so high and numb that they cannot even recount the events. Sadly, as a result, they sometimes experience devastating consequences such as sexually transmitted diseases or bodily injury. They also sometimes have little memory of what happened – only adding to their shame and trauma.
Looking for a Way to Belong
Many clients report becoming acquainted with the BDSM community as a way to explore their sexuality in a safe space. Oftentimes, as in the case with Danny Pintauro, they are introduced to meth in these settings as a party drug. Many of these clients report a yearning to belong to a group so badly that they engage in either sexual or drug-related behaviors that they may not have otherwise.
Additionally, many of our clients who engage in this combination of behaviors talk about experimenting with meth for the first time and instantly being addicted. They also speak about engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors even though they were unsure, and sometimes having negative experiences in which they are physically or sexually abused.
The truth is that the combination of high risk/intense sexual behavior in a setting where illicit drugs are present certainly presents a setup for use, abuse, and possible addiction to meth. There is not enough evidence to say that the engagement in the sexual behavior “causes” the meth addiction, or vice versa, but for the sex addict, it can be the “perfect storm. And, it can begin a cascade of negative consequences and pain.
Help for Cascading Addictions
At Gentle Path at The Meadows, we usually see individuals when they are at the bottom of this cascade. When they arrive at our doors, they are in deep pain, and tend to have a strong desire to stop their behaviors, but they are not sure how. That is where we can help. If you or a loved one is struggling with the profound difficulty that is sex and meth addiction, please reach out to Gentle Path at The Meadows. We can’t promise that it will be easy, but we can promise that we can help. Call today.