Is your bisexual sex drive a passion or an addiction? It depends on whether you control the drive or the drive controls you. In his book Scattered Minds, Gabor Mate talks about the nature of addictions. He states that “the real object of addiction is the thrill of plunging into the behavior, not the love of it…. The addiction, in a strange way, makes the addict feel more connected to life” (page 302). He goes on to note that the brains of people who are prone to addiction are biologically predisposed by some imbalance of brain chemicals particularly caused by under supply of dopamine and endorphins. This chemical deficiency, and the empty space that goes with it, creates a constant source of anxiety. Addiction is therefore a drive to overcome anxiety and generate and experience the excitement and pleasure of a dopamine/endorphin rush.
I believe some of us bisexuals with addicted personalities often have no idea what our true needs are, and we use sex as a means to overcome our feelings of worthlessness and poor self-concept. We need to feel wanted, even if it is just for a few hours with someone we may never see again. These feelings are the product of implicit memories developed in our years from conception to around age two. They are buried somewhere in the subconscious mind. So how do we overcome these feelings that seem to be beyond the control of our minds? How do we turn unhealthy addiction into healthy pleasure seeking passion? Quite simply we focus on and take control of our sex drive instead of letting it control us.
The first step is to strive for ownership in what Mate calls “compassionate curiosity”. It requires that we get rid of our defenses and explore and accept ourselves with courage and honesty. This includes our negative thoughts and feelings that are at the basis of our drives. We can focus on our behaviours and the feeling related to them by consciously seeking to know and understand them. We do not judge our behaviors but we simply accept them and try to understand the feelings that accompany them. We watch to make sure that the nature of the inquiries are carried out with a caring and loving tone.
The second step is self-accepting. That means owning the unconscious pain that comes from the implicit memories that come with the feelings. We have to get in touch with our unconscious griefs, which may be the truest part of our inner self. We embrace the griefs, own them, and acknowledge their importance in making us who we are. We also study our anxiety patterns and welcome them as a guide to doing something about our negative inner feelings. We follow the path to the cause of the anxiety and re-examine the way we perceive and think about things. We then take ownership and control of our situation thereby releasing the major cause of the anxiety.
Nor do we run away from guilt but accept it as a natural product of our desire to hold onto the relationships that we have sensed as essential. Our fragile inner child wants to please significant people in our lives and therefore experiences a sense of shame when we are doing something that we believe will isolate us from that relationship.We must control the guilt feelings not just give in to them. We acknowledge the guilt and learn to live with it but make a conscious decision not to dance to its tune. If we are partnered, we need to have an open relationship. Secrecy will just lead to guilt again as we shift our shame and guilt from our parents to our partner. It helps to have a partner that understands our needs and accepts them as part of the person we are. We have to love our self and understand our needs and do what is necessary to live a life where we control shame and guilt.
The third step is not to punish ourselves for what we are thinking and doing but to be kind and compassionate with ourselves. Even though we set out to make positive changes, there may be failures. We can choose to perceive them as not as failures but as an exploration of our feelings and desires. We can also leave some room to occasionally give in to our compulsions, especially when resisting them seems to drain us of our ability to function, but we do so at a conscious level. It is a choice we make, a choice we have a right to make. We can then look at the results of the choice and try to gain some insight on why we felt the compulsion and the effect it has had on our heart and soul.
Above all, we have to have fun. We have to build in opportunities to have a good laugh at and with ourselves. A night on the town to indulge our need for a dopamine/endorphin rush is not the end of the world. We acknowledge the need, make a decision to go with it and go out and have a great time. There will be lots of time to look at our behaviour and make plans to meet our needs in healthier ways tomorrow.
 Mate, Gabor. Scattered Minds. Vintage Canada. 2012