top of page
  • Writer's pictureHolly Wood

Book Review: It's Not About the Sex: Moving from Isolation to Intimacy after Sexual Addiction



In his work, It's Not About the Sex: Moving from Isolation to Intimacy after Sexual Addiction, author Andrew Susskind provides hope, guidance, and real-life examples of how to sustain recovery after living with out-of-control sexual behavior (OCSB). The author describes the paradox of sexual compulsivity: that sexual compulsion is a misguided attempt to gain a secure attachment, yet compulsive sex creates distance from one’s emotional longing, turning into intimacy avoidance. This demonstrates both the difficulty and the possibility of healing by examining the positive and negative impacts of sexual compulsion (i.e. it is socially unacceptable but also playful and exciting). By honoring both parts to decompartmentalize sex and intimacy, one is able to obtain long-term recovery by integrating sex, love, and intimacy to heal from what Susskind notes as the root of the problem: brokenheartedness.

The book begins with tips on how to gain emotional sobriety and how to identify blind spots when recovering from sexual compulsivity. It then serves as a guide, taking the reader through issues such as loss, shame, narcissism, dysregulation, and codependency to demonstrate how people use out-of-control sexual behavior to cope with brokenheartedness. Susskind’s approach is hopeful, optimistic, and non-pathologizing, using a harm-reduction model as opposed to an abstinence model. Throughout exploration of these issues, the author provides first-person experience and case examples from the perspective of both the client and clinician. This allows readers to see themselves represented in real-life illustrations of OCSB. In addition, the end of each chapter provides clear action steps and exercises for readers to take stock of themselves and manifest their desires for continued recovery. What makes this book stand out amongst other works on sexual compulsivity is that the author bridges the gap between the 12-step and OCSB models for continued recovery after successful treatment. He draws on the work of Patrick Carnes, Somatic Psychology, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and Positive Psychology to establish purpose and increase intimacy. In addition, this book was particularly enlightening in that it frames sexual compulsivity as a response to brokenheartedness.

This book is a great companion for those in recovery from out-of-control sexual behaviors. Not only would it be an excellent guide for clients in recovery, but it would also serve as a useful tool for clinicians as it helps provide a framework of how to conceptualize sexual compulsivity, combat underlying issues, and approach clients from a place of compassion. Overall, I think this book would serve best in conjunction with formal therapy from a trained professional.

Andrew Susskind is a Los Angeles based Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Somatic Experiencing and Brainspotting Practitioner, and Certified Group Psychotherapist in private practice since 1992. Susskind attributes his ability to relate compassionately to people experiencing addiction to his own recovery.


Who am I? A message from Holly…

My name is Holly and I am a Trauma-Informed and Board Certified Clinical Sexologist. I provide sex therapy and coaching to individuals and couples that are struggling with reaching their full potential. As a clinician, I am passionate about helping people achieve their goals and live happy, healthy, rewarding lives. I truly believe that trauma is the source of pathology, and that everyone has within them the capacity to heal. Furthermore, I am dedicated to fostering a safe environment, working with each individual to develop the necessary skills to achieve lifelong change to improve their quality of life. As your therapist, I can’t guarantee that I will be able to fully understand what it is like to walk in your shoes, but I can guarantee that I can help you to sort things out, let go of what does not serve you, and create the life you truly want. Peaceful. Connected. Powerful. And Pleasurable.

I offer a judgment-free zone, hold space for healing, and offer straight forward, no-nonsense feedback (if that’s what you need). Overall, I offer you the tools and guidance to get past your past and develop the necessary skills to achieve lifelong change and truly start living. - Holly Wood, MS., PhD(c), LMFT


Visit www.thehollywoodsexologist.com to learn more and request a consultation.

4 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page