There is a big debate about is sex and porn addiction. I recently was lucky enough to be a witness to two intelligent, passionate men discuss the common ground in the middle of the debate. The two men I speak of are Dr. David Ley and Dr. Robert Weiss. Today, I read an article that I resonated with in a different context. For me it was a very eloquent definition of sexual integrity. It was written by Dr. Ley. It sparked an interest so I googled Sexual Integrity and guess who’s article came up, Dr. Weiss’s. Was it fate? Or just google feeding me relevant information by relevant individuals? It didn’t matter cause I was off to the races defining sexual integrity for myself. It’s not like this is a new topic for me. I think integrity is a life long endeavor and we are all sexual beings our whole lives.
Dr Weiss wrote this about Sexual Integrity: “If you are completely open and honest about these things with yourself and with your long-term intimate partner/spouse, and in a boundaried way with new sexual/intimate partners, then you probably have sexual integrity.”
I really like the inclusion of boundaries. Remember, I found this quote after reading an article about porn addiction. Dr. Ley writes about personal responsibility.
Dr David Ley wrote, “requires a man to stand up for himself and his sexual desires, to be willing to negotiate for those needs, to be willing to compromise, but stay true to himself, while asking for the same in return.”
Staying true to one’s self is something I think that is crucial to life satisfaction. I tend to use the phrase authentic truth. However, authenticity and honesty can often involve a lot of fear around rejection. My own work in Kansas City Missouri often involves exploring a unique experience I share with many of my clients. The local culture of our City and geographic area. Kansas City is a unique blend of large city and small town experience. Kansas City on the surface is a progressive city. The bible belt and religious undertow though is always but an unspoken word away. Our unique blend of Kansas City “niceness” often leaves that unspoken word as a space used for judgement.
It’s not uncommon to have a conversation that includes actively putting words to the experience when one’s authentic truth makes someone else uncomfortable. Exploring the way people talk about this uncomfortable feeling and who’s responsibility it is to resolve it. We explore what it takes to maintain their truth while being vulnerable.
The opposing position is when someone is uncomfortable it’s their own responsibility to deal with that feeling. This is the stuff individuals have to work through with their partner/spouse. These are the topics and obstacles we have to explore in order to have sexual integrity. Does my porn watching affect my relationship? How does my partner feel about me watching porn? How do they feel about me masturbating? How will we as a couple compromise our sexualities including and respecting each other?
Many are being labeled sex addicts or porn addicts solely by their partners feeling uncomfortable with some aspect of their sexual expression. As opposed to discussing, respecting, accepting, and compromising and seeking support and help. Taking personal responsibility for one’s self is part of integrity. Taking responsibility for your sexual expression, self esteem and staying true to self are all parts of sexual integrity.