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How To Prevent A Sex Addiction Crisis At Work

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How To Prevent A Sex Addiction Crisis At Work

How to save your key people and company from sex addiction disasters

Disaster! 6:13 pm, manager Trisha Woodard stops into her vice president’s office for discussion, interrupting him looking at his iPod and masturbating.

Who risks like this at work? Sexually compulsive people escape life’s pain and stressors by compulsively masturbating, viewing pornography, visiting strip-clubs or having extramarital affairs. The workplaceis a perfect shield from the impact of these problematic behaviors on their personal life. “Getting away with” sexual activities specifically banned by an employer only adds to the thrill. Risk actually increases reward. While the psychological field decided not to include sexual addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 5, research shows brain activity of these patients mimics that of drug addicts reports study author Valerie Voon, University of Cambridge (Forbes.)1(link is external)

What sexual compulsivity is:

  • spending inordinate amounts of time sexual activity
  • marked by sudden escalation
  • followed by irresponsibility in important life areas
  • a minimization of the risks involved
  • behavior that is ego-syntonic (seems reasonable to the compulsive)
  • in every social strata
  • increased risks to feel the same euphoria
  • could be concurrent with other diagnoses, ex – bipolar
  • a dangerous loss to companies – key people, reputation, productivity, $

What it’s not:

  • A simple high sex drive
  • Necessarily perversion (exhibitionists, voyeurs, or pedophiles)
  • Only male (1% female usually with internet relational sex sites)2(link is external)

Is the risk to companies increasing?  Technically, only 5% of the population meets diagnosable proportions of sexual compulsivity defined as continuing behavior regardless of negative consequences in a cycle fueled by secrecy and shame. Cybersex, however, is “affordable, assessable, and anonymous… the Triple A engine,” explains sex researcher Dr. Alvin Cooper, fueling increasing pornography use every year with a broadening population. Productivity is the most expensive loss to industry with worker users averaging 1 hour, 45 minutes each viewing session (approximately 12 weeks annually if once a day) per Nielson’s monitoring (CBSnews.)3(link is external)

Compromised key people in companies are let go for indiscretions as often as the ranks in order to insure the uniform application of policies and avoid discrimination suits. Companies suffer loss of direction, cost of replacement and frequently legal danger specific to the infraction. For instance, corporations are liable for what is viewed on their servers and have a duty to investigate a report about pornography use. Failure of these measures can mean criminal infractions (viewing of child pornography) or a lawsuit for anything from sexual harassment to failing to provide a suitable work environment.

Facts about cybersex and business:

How can companies avert a crisis?

  1. Get to know your people – managers too busy to know the personalities of their staff will miss important signals of inconsistent behavior. Reduce work stress by balancing demanding productivity periods with compensatory breaks. Be alert to:
    1. a drop in performance
    2. irresponsibility from someone previously responsible
    3. erratic behavior
    4. accompanying reports of relational breakups/divorce
  2. Review clear, written policies annually on inappropriate sexual behavior – Set company expectations from day one for appropriate work behavior followed by annual reminders to increase compliance and decrease an appearance of indifference. Company loyalty should take precedence over social reticence about reporting a colleague shielding whistleblowers.
  3. Monitor and filter all company computer servers and devices against sexually explicit material. Inform employees of tracking software.  Block pornographic material and inappropriate sites. Keep anti-viral software current. (Facebook, a smart company, won’t post if “sex” is in the title!)
  4. Personal devices used during working hours or on company property must be explicitly mentioned in policy as part of the ban on sexually explicit material. Email, Skype, WeChat, Snapchat, Facebook messenger, or any and all other communication avenues need to be subject to the same policies.
  5. Human relations provide resources for early treatment options
    1. Build awareness by circulating self-diagnostic tests for men8(link is external) and women.9 (link is external)
    2. Sex therapists who treat sexual compulsivity can provide diagnostic evaluations regarding the appropriateness of out-patient intensive therapy keeping a person in full-time employment or prescribing in-patient hospitalization.
Laurie Watson(link is external), LMFT, Certified Sex Therapist is available for same-day company consultations in emergent situations nationwide.

Join me on Valentine’s Day (it’s a Sunday!) for the iTunes podcast premiere of Foreplay – Radio Sex Therapy where my co-host, psychotherapist Tony Delmedico, and myself help you get the most out of your sex life.

[Laurie Watson]

In 2000, Laurie Watson founded the Loving and Living Center (now Awakenings) to collaborate with the Raleigh-area medical community by providing psychotherapy focused on sexual health and couples’ counseling. Laurie has two decades of experience with a psychodynamic therapeutic approach that assumes people's deepest needs are for connection, intimacy, and relationship. Lasting erotic sexuality in long-term relationships indicates a good balance of closeness and space between the partners. Laurie provides talk therapy for couples and individuals to find this equilibrium and restore (or gain) more happiness sexually and emotionally. Accreditations: Licensed Professional Counselor Licensed Marriage Family Therapist Certificate in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Newport Psychoanalytic Institute, CA Certified Sex Therapist with American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists MA, Marriage, Family Therapy, Azusa Pacific University, CA, 1989 Laurie teaches sexuality courses at local universities such as: UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, and East Carolina University as well being a popular guest speaker for churches, clinical practices and medical specialties. Her first book—Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage—was published on December 4, 2012 and is available on Amazon. Laurie was a guest on The Katie Show on July 24, 2013 talking with Katie Couric about her book and discussing advances in medical treatments for low libido in women. Laurie has been married for 25 years and has three sons.

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