The Truth About Sexual Authenticity Disorder (SAD)

We cannot deny the influence and freedom that porn, Netflix and social media have given people to normalise their sexuality.

I believe that most people are dishonest about their sexuality. It’s a provocative statement to make. Before you get all huffy and angry with my statement, stop and consider your own sexuality. Do you feel safe about disclosing to yourself or to a partner/s your true honest core sexual desires? If you answer is yes, you are a rare person… or someone who needs to keep reading and doing some honest self-reflection.

You may be the person who presents, or is taken to a healthcare provider with a self or other diagnosis of “porn addict” “sex addict”, ” sexual deviant”, “pervert” “fetishist”. You enter a therapy room in shame, expecting to be locked up in a mental institution or lashed for irreligious behaviour. All you want is, to be honest to yourself and to a partner/s about what really turns you on.

Living in a sex-negative and judgmental culture disallows true expression of sexuality, sexual orientation or gender. There are laws and policies to end discrimination against gender non-conforming people and sexually fluid people. It does not make it any easier to come out within your own head, to your parents or to society at large. But at least there is open discourse about it and a very active global LGBTIQ rights movement.

Who among us are brave enough to honestly express our core erotic themes? Who is willing to be a conscious honest and empowered sexual being and fess up to what really turns you on? Recently a popular men’s magazine asked me to give comment on “foreplay” tips for men to use with women. Aghast I asked the journalist if he had run out of ideas as I wondered why he would want to write about this redundant vanilla topic.

Surely he needs to get honest and real about what people are actually doing and wanting to do in their bedrooms.This kind of article “normalises” foreplay as being a separate feature, an activity of long drawn out touching and talking gently that only women want… and only with men. No wonder more and more people present with sexual dysfunctions daily.

Their honest and authentic sexuality does not fall into what the box society has deemed as “normal”, namely mono-hetero-normative. I gave him a few ideas on what people in my therapy practice teach me turns them on. We cannot deny the influence and freedom that porn, Netflix and social media have given people to normalise their sexuality.

The primary symptoms of Sexual Authenticity Disorder are an intense fear of discovery, sexual secrecy, dishonesty, and an attendant shame and guilt.

Perhaps you are a person who gets erect when foreplay is hours of chat with a partner, creating a contract for a sane, sober and consensual BDSM experience. Or your best foreplay is sexting with a stranger online. Or imagining your partner wearing stilettos. Or spending days online seeking out the perfect couple for a swinging experience with your beloved partner. Or as a man, wearing women’s panties all day. Sexual Authenticity Disorder (SAD) is a term created by Galen Fous, a sex-positive therapist.

The primary symptoms of Sexual Authenticity Disorder are an intense fear of discovery, sexual secrecy, dishonesty, and an attendant shame and guilt. He believes that many people exploring and opening to their authentic sexual desires are inclined to keep their sexual explorations secret due to tangible fears of being shamed, harshly judged or punished about their personally meaningful and normal sexuality.

His basic tenant is that what people desire is not the problem – the problem is that it is traumatic, to be honest about your personal erotic themes. This is partly what drove me into training as a trauma therapist. Daily seeing people present with out of control behaviour as a result of feeling anxious, afraid, or guilty, made me rethink what truly was driving their self-destructive behaviour.

Not fitting into the societal box of “normal” sexuality is a big driver to this painful place. I am driven to get people to be more authentic about their true sexual desires. Fous has created a Personal Erotic Myth Survey. I encourage you to fill it in. Take the risk of being honest about your own sexual desires. Sharing with a partner can feel terrifying.

Only do this once you have consciously embodied, expressed and gained a deeper understanding of your inherent sexual desires, and untangle shame, fear and harsh internalised judgments that resist and inhibit your desire’s fullest expression.

I invite you to think about a few important questions from Fous Personal Erotic Myth Survey.

  • What thoughts or fantasies drive you to orgasm?
  • At what age did you become aware of distinct erotic fantasies or sexual desires?
  • What inhibits you from expressing your honest and authentic sexuality to a partner/partners?
  • Have you ever experienced any alternative sexuality in real time? For example, BDSM
  • How often do you masturbate to these fantasies?
  • Do you avoid partner sexual play because you feel unsatisfied?
  • Do you prefer your honest authentic masturbatory fantasies over In Real Life sexual play?
  • Are you satisfied with the depth of sexual expression in your relationship now or generally if you are single?
  • At what point/age did you feel a conflict between your religious/moral environment and family and your sexual desires?
  • Have you ever shared your authentic sexual desires with a partner? If no, why not? If yes, what was the outcome?
  • If yes, what factors allowed you to share with a partner?

To do work with your Authentic Sexual Desires, contact me.