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Dr-A-Greene
Dr-A-Greene, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 190
Experience:  Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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Sexual Health

Customer Question

I was wondering if you have ever ran across or read about someone who develops sexual attraction/feelings to anyone they come to have feelings for, without category, IE they do not distinguish between friends, parents, siblings, spouse. The love feels the same, and in all cases sexual attraction results (But is not necessarily acted on, primarily out of fear of reaction) If you have, is it rare or common(in the context of abnormalities)? Also, would there be a way to change it so that they experience feelings normally, or is it something genetic that just has to be lived with?
I also need a name for the condition for continued research.  (Assuming it has a name)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 1 year ago.

This is an interesting question and I will answer it to the best of my ability.

First off, I would term what you're talking about "indiscriminate sexual attraction" - it isn't an identified psychological disorder, but that terminology might help you research it further.

The reason that it isn't a recognized disorder is that it generally doesn't happen that way. Sexual orientation is usually set in childhood/adolescence whether that be to males, females, children (pedophilia) or a combination of the above. If one is sexually attracted to objects or has other strange turn-ons it is termed a "paraphilia." Well-known paraphilias include "necrophilia" (dead bodies), "exhibitionism" (exposing oneself), and "sadism" (pain and suffering). However, the list of known paraphilias is quite long - wikipedia has an extensive list.

 

There are chemicals responsible for sexual attraction that occur in utero. Here is a link to a book that talks about it extensively: http://books. google.com/books?id=PzDKr-qCdTAC&pg=PA190&lpg=PA190&dq=indiscriminate+sexual+attraction&source=bl&ots=0TIuzy7_ui&sig=kWuveZAvGD6bRQS3vBwNkhNW7_A&hl=en&sa=X&ei=swuaT5vjG4SC2wW_jPHZDg&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=indiscriminate%20sexual%20attraction&f=false Additionally the hypothalamus is responsible for hormones later in life that are responsible for level of sexual arousal. Thus, someone could have an unusually high level of sexual arousal causing them to be sexually excited often. However, they still generally have a preference for sexual partner that isn't indiscriminate. For instance, not all pedophiles abuse their own biological children (incest). It's actually quite rare. Additionally, rapists generally have a "type" as do fetishists and other more normally oriented people. I have worked extensively with sex offenders and sex addicts as I am a forensic psychologist and I have never seen someone who was indiscriminate with their sexual feelings.

That said, I have seen people who have developed inappropriate sexual feelings toward family members or others and it's generally due to their upbringing (think chaotic abusive situations) or to mental illness. Thus, the feelings weren't something they were born with, but something that developed due to abuse or illness over time. It is rare when I see it and there is usually a great deal of shame and the knowledge that it is "wrong," unless the individual is psychotic. I suppose a psychotic individual with a very overactive hypothalamus could display sexual feelings toward anyone and everyone, but I have yet to see that.

I hope this helps answer your question or at least helps to point you in the right direction!

Thanks,

Dr. G.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How exactly would one know if they are psychotic, I identify with the terms amoral (though I still have a personal code of conduct that is self determined) and in general I am highly resistant toward emotional data affecting my emotional landscape resulting in a calm methodical approach toward life. I used to be an extremely violent (and one could say sadistic youth) until I realized I needed to change in order to fit in with society. I sought out extensive meditation to counter my Anger and aggression issues. I generally pride my self on having excellent impulse control, which is a good thing given the way my thoughts can turn sometimes. My impulse control isn't perfect though and I want to fix this before I end up becoming a determent to society. I know I won't give into my more violent nature, especially out of anger, but other manifestations aren't quite so solid. Essentially if it doesn't require physical force against another individual on my part, I sometimes slip on impulse control. I am seeking professional help, but I wanted some answers now because my first appointment is a month away.

During my internal cataloging I have referred to myself as a "High functioning sociopath" only now I truly wonder how far off the mark I really am in applying that label. (I intend to accept your answer as it was very well written, I would just like this follow up answered as well, thank you.) Also, the feelings aren't toward anyone and everyone, just toward those I come to "love" (deep seated desire to see the individual happy) as I understand the word, and generally takes some length in time to develop (Due to my anti social tendencies I would say a year in most cases, I don't let a lot of people close)
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 1 year ago.

Okay - well this makes some sense, actually. Before I go into what I'm thinking, I would like to thank you for being so open and honest with me. That's the most important thing when trying to figure out one's internal dynamics, especially if we intend to change in any meaningful way. It also sounds like you have a very good grasp on what you're dealing with and you're willing to put in the work - all of which is promising. The biggest problem a lot of people have (myself included) is that we often think that insight alone is the answer when it's insight+lots of behavioral effort.

 

So, let's see - you're first question was about when one knows if they're psychotic. In general it's described as having hallucinations, delusions (bizarre or nonbizarre) and disorganization. I can tell by the organization and structure of your questions that you are not presenting with any loose associations or disorganized thought that is typical in psychosis. The symptoms that you're describing regarding a moral compass and emotional attachment sound much more typical of psychopathy. This term is largely misunderstood and misused in popular culture and has even escaped inclusion in the DSM (psychology's diagnostic manual). The closest thing that's included is Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is also termed "sociopath."

 

Basically, psychopathy is largely defined as an inability to feel the same types of emotions that others feel. It is characterized by a lack of empathy, aggression, impulsivity, manipulation, etc. Psychopathy is a spectrum. Some people are low on psychopathy and others are high. People with a high level of psychopathy often have difficulty controlling their impulses and may manifest some behaviors that get them in trouble or hurt others. It is also difficult for them to feel what is classically defined as "love." However, I want to be very clear that someone with a higher level of psychopathy does not necessarily mean that they are a criminal or a social deviant. There are a lot of people out there that are high functioning psychopaths that never get in any trouble or hurt anyone. For example, Donald Trump likely has a higher psychopathy level (he would have to have no sympathy for the companies he buys out and the people he fires). Other examples might include trauma surgeons (no repulsion at blood/suffering and an ability to decide who lives and who dies). Thus, the media's portrayal of all psychopaths as being serial killers is flat wrong. They don't understand the useful applications to having less empathy, nor do they understand that it is a spectrum that all of us fall on.

 

That brings me to the final part of the question - if you have a higher level of psychopathy than some it doesn't surprise me that you have a slightly different definition of love either. People with higher psychopathy levels are often risk takers. The reason for this is that adrenaline-causing activities are the only ones that bring them pleasure. They simply need a higher level of excitement to make them feel joy than the average joe. Thus, when an attachment is felt toward another person a sexual longing might develop because that is the strongest and deepest form of behavior indicating love. The sexual urges may be misplaced or inappropriate, so they can't be acted on - but the feeling is completely understandable when put in terms of psychopathy. It's not uncommon actually. I hadn't mentioned it before because I didn't have the context (thank you for the additional details).

 

Does all of this make sense? I know I've rambled on a bit. I just want to make sure that you are reading this in the same way as it is intended. "Psychopathy" is a stigmatized label in society and it's unwarranted. I attach no stigma to it and see it as a spectrum that all of us fit into...

I look forward to your thoughts.

Thank you!

Dr. G.

 

 

Dr-A-Greene, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 190
Experience: Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have done some reading, and most generally agree that the traditional approach to rehabilitation does not seem to work with or on people with a high degree of psychopathy. In fact it has the opposite effect, making them more likely to repeat offense. Is there an effective form of treatment? If so, how would one go about finding it.

There seems to be a fair amount of Lacking information out there, people don't know how much of it is genetics and inherent to the individual, and how much is a product of circumstances.
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 1 year ago.

I agree with you on your last point for sure. There is still much research to be done. In my experience I tend toward the personal opinion that it is a born-in trait. Thus, genetics. I have seen several people now with high levels of psychopathy whose parents and other family members don't display that at all. That said, I also think that people with lower levels of psychopathy can manifest more psychopathic behaviors if it is modeled for them by their parents.

 

Additionally, it is generally agreed that traditional therapy doesn't work for psychopathy. It backfires and tends to make the patient more efficient at being psychopathic. This makes perfect sense though because traditional therapy is aimed at understanding feelings more than modifying behaviors. Understanding feelings isn't as much of an option for someone with high psychopathy. Therefore strict Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is usually better. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (which is typically used with Borderline Personality Disorder) has also been successful. I think that the latter would be slightly better because it is usually done in groups and the feedback from other members would be nice. However, it might be difficult to find a DBT practitioner who deals with psychopathy as it is an emerging science.

Basically, I think your best bet would be to look up "forensic" psychologists rather than regular clinical types. Forensic psychologists are extensively trained in criminal psychology which is where the study of psychopathy began. Therefore most of us forensic folks recognize psychopathy when we see it and know how to treat it. I've worked with several outside patients who had no criminal history at all, but were struggling with psychopathy. The way I go about therapy is to target behaviors and impulsivity first. Once the behaviors are controlled and understood you work backward from there. It takes a long time to establish a trusting relationship with patients with psychopathy, so it gives me time to build that up. After several months I can provide some emotional feedback and we can look at that together.

 

I'm not going to lie - it's a long process. Also, there is no guarantee that you will emotionally feel different. However, establishing a long-term, trusting relationship with a therapist (who has great boundaries) is the first step toward establishing other similar relationships outside of the work you do in therapy. I know firsthand that it can be helpful. The other thing that it can help with is normalizing some of the emotions you have. I have a hunch that some of the impulses you have (no matter how upsetting) are more common than you might imagine.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well, from a true psychopathic stand point, non of my impulses or feelings are upsetting to me (I just know they would be upsetting to people not like me). But I had a well established life, and I thought I was doing well in self limiting my behavior (Like I said, I have a great deal of impulse control I think). But I seem to have made some poor decisions that have jeopardize the life I was leading. True to how I thought I would handle the situation if it ever came up, I feel no remorse, or regret (I even tell my mother that regret is a pointless emotion, hurting her and solving nothing) all actions are actions and as such a source of both positive and negative energy. Now is time to rebuild, only if one does not learn from one's mistakes, one will generally be doomed to repeating the same failures time after time. As such, I wish to modify my behavior for the purposes of reintegrating myself with society (And its laws, even if I believe their is too much christian bleed over of morality into laws, due to saturation). There is no place for me, so I must carve myself so I fit into one. I have always had some form of structure though, this will be the first time I have not transitioned from one form of strict structured life where I know exactly as I am supposed to behave to another. Adapt, overcome, assimilate, survive. Roadblocks are just the building blocks we use to construct our foundations. I am thinking of moving from here (which is not overly friendly toward my kind) and seeking help in Cooper City, FL. That seems to be near where alot of research on psychopaths has been pioneered, and the http://www.psychfitness.com/index.php/contact-us/ seems like as good a place as anywhere to begin anew.
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 1 year ago.

That sounds promising. Starting over again and trying to assimilate to the environment you choose could be just what you need. Your lack of regret or similar emotions can be helpful as well. I think you're right that, for the most part, those emotions hold us back more than they help.

Another issue to remember is that there are places where you may fit in a bit better than others. For instance, there are activities and jobs where your particular skills would be brilliant. Activities that involve some amount of risk might suit you (e.g. sky diving, racing cars on a track, scuba diving, etc...) Additionally, certain jobs that entail risk (stock trading, politics, emergency services) would probably suit you too. Individuals that enjoy those things usually have a higher psychopathy level - they need the adrenaline. Luckily the adrenaline rush just so happens to be within the laws of society as well.

Your positive outlook and willingness to try to fit in and work on it should lead to good results.

I wish you the best of luck,

Dr. G.

 

 

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