Sex Addict

Prision

Whenever I read, in a story, an article or a blog entry or wherever, that a person has self-diagnosed as a sex addict after being caught cheating, because theoretically it’s a good excuse for bad behavior, I sigh.

Whenever I hear someone call someone else a sex addict because the target of hate and disdain partook in creepy, depraved, selfish sexual acts, usually extramarital, sometimes even convincing the spouse to join in, and it’s all so easily judged, and slammed, I cringe.

When I read about someone denouncing the term sex addict, for themselves, or someone else, or EVERYONE else, because a person can’t be “addicted” to sex, and they were able to just stop cheating, just like that, because you know, they were just being an arsehole/asshole, I am now able to simply turn the proverbial page. I know better, now. It’s mighty easy to sit in judgment. Not as easy to be compassionate and understanding, and heal.

In my opinion, always on this blog, my blog, it’s my opinion, that the term sex addict is a diagnosis that can lead the afflicted to a pathway for healing. Everyone’s healing journey is different. Even the term used could be different: sex addict/ion, sexual compulsive/compulsivity, sexual dependency, hyper sexuality…. The term sex addict is not meant to be thrown around as an excuse for bad behavior or as a generic catch-all negative moniker for what some people define as deviant. In fact doing this, especially in the media, actually undermines the usefulness of the diagnosis and it’s potential for healing, and causes a great deal of shame in individuals already riddled with shame. Some addicts take their diagnosis seriously and seek recovery in whatever form. Some succeed at sobriety and recovery. Some don’t.

Sex addicts are like other addicts in that they are using a drug to medicate. Their use of that drug is affecting their lives negatively. Often they lie, cheat, and steal to get their drug. They feel they can’t survive without the drug. Many (most?) hate what they are doing, and hate the fact that they can’t seem to stop on their own. Because… addiction is hard. We acknowledge that for alcoholics, and drug addicts. What once was considered weakness is now considered a disease. Sex addiction is the same. The brain is altered to receive hits to medicate pain and suffering, stressful situations, mental illness, so many things. Each addict is different. Each person’s relationship with sex is different. There is no easy treatment. It’s life long.

In the end, however, for me it’s always about behaving in a manner that is kind and nurturing to oneself and others. Recovering from addiction is a life long battle. Making fun, demonizing, belittling, or attacking an addict really has no positive outcome. Blaming the victim, as in they are bad spouses, frigid, unloving… is cruel. Sex addiction is a complicated issue. It, like so many other facets of life, cannot be neatly categorized in a tight little box. Sex addiction, like other addictions, affects relationships, families, lives, whether the addict has been diagnosed or not. Sex addiction is often about a hidden life designed to fill empty voids. Secrets and lies dominate the addict’s life and those secrets and lies get in the way of relationships… all relationships.

I am grateful that there are treatments available for sex addiction. My husband’s life and our continued relationship have been dependent on the availability of a number of those treatments. Likewise, my livelihood since discovery of my husband’s addiction has been dependent on receiving treatment for my sex addiction induced trauma. I feel lucky that in this day and age, simply googling “sex addiction treatment” brings up so many options for help. I sincerely hope that sex addicts, partners, and family members seek the help they need.

Just a few of the Resources we have found helpful, for Sex Addicts:

The Institute for Sexual Health (Omar Minwalla)

The Meadows

Sexaholics Anonymous

for Partners:

Trauma Therapy with Trish Haight

Please feel free to post in the comment section, any resources you have found helpful on your journey.

28 thoughts on “Sex Addict

  1. I enjoyed reading this post very much, and I totally agree with your observations. I am in recovery from a sex addiction although I have never physically cheated on my partner, instead I used porn and masturbation as an escape from my issues instead of facing them head on. I took the collapse of my relationship, my youngest son turning against me and most importantly the help of a good therapist to see the destruction that my behaviors had caused. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading and sharing, Jae. The secret life and all it’s symptoms are destructive to relationships regardless of the drug. I have learned that over time, conversing with numerous partners of sex addicts. My husband also used porn/masturbation for quite a few years, but before the internet it wasn’t quite as easily accessible. I consider his in person grooming and extramarital affairs an escalation of his addiction, but that’s his story. Everyone has their own unique story. While I was being stalked by the woman he had the long term affair with, I wished he had had “meaningless” sex with prostitutes, but I have been set straight. It all hurts. There’s no scale. Individual pain is just that and what hurts the most, I think, is the betrayal. The fact that we don’t really know our partners. Now I do realize his wounds and behavior were never about me, but the lies he told to me, and about me, have been difficult to reconcile. One of my husband’s SA brothers lost a few jobs because of workplace porn viewing, and he and his young family were constantly moving because of it. The wife had no idea. At discovery those feelings of being duped are pretty strong. I’m sorry you lost so much, but happy that you are in recovery.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I appreciate your honesty. I have lived with addictions for years, decades really. Alcohol and sex fed one another. Sex with strangers brought out my shame, which alcohol suppressed. Together my addictions screamed more more more and I had to comply. It really seemed that I had no choice. For years, the only outlet I allowed myself was to scour websites for men and women who would post photos in hopes of finding a stranger to have sex, Craigslist was my delivery system until they stopped. As my compulsion became stronger, I started seeing a “masseuse.” She was sweet, I told myself. It was just an indulgence, I told myself. I worked hard at a stressful job – surely I “deserved” a little luxury like a naked young woman giving me a massage. The massage routine only sufficed for awhile. I discovered Backpages and soon was paying prostitutes. Of course, that routine escalated – visiting at first once every few months and then every couple of weeks. I found myself in some pretty sketchy places but I was never nervous in fact the possible danger, the seediness made it even more attractive to my addiction. Until…until I walked into a hotel room, put my money on the nightstand and 5 police officers came out of the next room and had me in handcuffs. I think I always knew that moment would come. I think I felt relief, relief knowing that the addictions were no longer in charge. Those handcuffs changed my life. I lost my wife, two daughters, four grandkids, my house, my job…and I gained my life back. It’s been a tough struggle with much anguish, tears, a suicide attempt, a stay in a mental health hospital and many many many meetings. I have new friends, real friends, who know me and love me. I get up each day knowing it’s another chance for me to get it right. It’s important to me – I’m 67. I don’t think I could survive going through this again. Peace and all good things.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for sharing here, Bill. I can only imagine the pain you have endured, and the losses. You have many years left to not just survive, but to thrive. We can never go back and change what we’ve done, but yes, we can go forward living a better, loving, and more honest life. Of course those things you did to feed the addiction are symptoms of the disease. Treating the disease is the only way. We are all imperfect beings, but we can be resilient. Loving and respecting and being honest with ourselves is key. Peace and happiness back to you.

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      • Oh, I should note that I’m active in recovery – several meetings a week, work with a sponsor, have made amends to those I have hurt – those who will talk with me. My wife of 25 years divorced me within 4 months.
        I work on this every day.
        A friend said, you can look back…you just can’t stare.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I like the wisdom of your friend. No obsessing on what we have done, just learning from it. I figured from your insightful comment that you are in recovery. I’m sorry about your wife. It’s a tough situation for all. I’ve been writing from my perspective for over five years now. At no point in time was any of this easy. Walking away did seem necessary at some points in time, but for many reasons, I stayed. The pain was deep. I think if I was an angry person, I would have walked, but I’m not. I was able to muddle my way through the sadness and I feel I have come out the other side changed, but happy with my choices. For my husband, this is a lifelong journey. The wounds are still there, but he’s working his recovery and living a more genuine life. I’m proud of him! Sending good vibes to you!

          Liked by 2 people

  3. My own paraphilia (worn panties) has ruined my life and prevented me from having a relationship for the last thirty years. But I have an amazing sex life, even if it is 99% DIY and the occasional treat of paying for sex with an escort. I based my experience for my on going draft for a novel on the subject “My Libby or My Fetish”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for commenting, Emm. We all have many choices to make in life. My husband also has the worn panty fetish among many others. We incorporate his needs and mine into our sex life and always have. What threatened to ruin his life and our relationship, was secrets, lies, and shame. Finally acknowledging his addiction and being in recovery has saved his life. Good luck on your journey, and with your novel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the reply.

        Oh my God what a devilishly lucky man that he found you in the first place, and for you to indulge him in his fetish is remarkable–There’s someone out there for me, perhaps.

        I shall follow you always from now on. How did you find out about his panty fetish?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I’ve known about it for as long as I can remember. I have never thought any of his desires were unnatural or a turn off. Unfortunately, his lying about his obsessive masturbation, and his cheating, were deal breakers for our relationship. He’s working on being the husband I thought he was. Of course there is someone out there for you. Honesty and respect are key.

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          • CrazyKat … I share his masturbation obsession too, though to be fair, its my only outlet. But it frightens me if I should be fortunate to find someone to share my love with.

            As for you, I only wish I had spoken with you sooner. You’re such a philosophical soul with

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh no, Emm, did your message get cut off right in the middle of you extolling my virtues, lol. Thank you for the kind words. I found out about my husband’s masturbation habits shortly after we were married, so mid 20’s. I was hurt at first, but he explained it wasn’t about me, it was his way of coping and it never interfered with our lovemaking. I knew he was young and had a lot of sexual energy and a lot of stress to be a high achiever, from his parents. He was still in Law School when we married. Later I honestly assumed I was filling his needs as we grew older and he was no longer so attached to what his parents thought of him and his choices. I was wrong. Apparently he was always stressed out, about everything. He hid it well though as he honed his secret sex life and used that as his coping method. Until I received a phone call from a woman he had been using for free sex (I was at the time 50, and we were set to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary that year), I had absolutely no idea he was obsessively masturbating, using porn even when he wasn’t traveling. I knew he masturbated to porn when he traveled—I did NOT know that on many trips he didn’t need the porn/masturbation as he was taking this other woman. The phone call was devastating and this other woman stalked us, mostly me, for a couple years. Once my husband was diagnosed as a sex addict, he set his own sobriety boundaries and that includes no sex acts with self or others, other than me. He’s sober now for 5 1/2 years, so no masturbation for that long. I take good care of him, but sometimes he struggles. He uses his resources, the friends he’s met at Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) meetings, he still goes to therapy to deal with family of origin issues (he’s had no contact with his parents for 5+ years), and he has taken up Buddhism/meditation. He’s happier now without the stress of living a lie, and it has gotten easier. We both turn 56 this year, we’ve been together for 35 years, and are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary tomorrow, here in Bora Bora. As traumatized as I was by his secrets, I love him and didn’t want to give up what we have. Keep searching for that person for you, and if you are concerned with your habits and what drives you to them, maybe try a 12 step meeting, or two. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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  4. My husband hates the term “sex addict” he has been sexually sober (according to him) for 4 years and we are 2 years into discovery. I don’t know what to believe yet but it worries me that he is so uncomfortable with that term.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Probably because the term is used as a joke in much of the media. As long as he’s sober, acknowledges the whys for what he did, and isn’t hurting you or himself or anyone else with words or actions, who cares how he defines it, right? It’s okay. Hopefully he has people to talk to that understand. That’s what’s helpful about 12 step for my husband. Once he got past the shame of sharing, he felt accepted and they are now friends who totally understand him. I would only be worried if he is hiding or lying about facets of his lifestyle or seems angry distant or abusive in some way. Go with your gut. xoxo

      Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, shame seems to be a common denominator. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a good meeting. BE went to a few. The meeting held at 7am M W F stuck and after five years he does call a number of the men good friends. I know he was mortified at first and felt like he was different, not like “the others.” It took time. It was part of his boundaries though to keep our marriage so he kept going. Somehow I instinctively knew it would be crucial for him. He needed the connection as most people don’t know about his sex addiction and living in isolation wasn’t helping. All paths are unique though. ❤️

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      • Will attended (and still does attend) meeting at Heart to Heart which is a whole counseling center in Colorado Springs, CO dedicated entirely to sexual addiction. Dr. Doug Weiss is a recovering addict and H2H is his therapy center. He has dozens of books on the center’s website as well as information on intensives, betrayal trauma and videos about recovery as a couple. The video “Helping Her Heal” is powerful and has helped a lot of couples. I also like the Bloom site by Kevin Skinner and his books are specifically for women. There is so much out there now as this addiction is being better understood and the CPTSD caused to a partner is becoming more understood and more therapists are becoming aware and certified to treat it. The best thing I read right after D-day was Barbara Steffens book, “Your Sexually Addicted Spouse.” It was Earth-shattering to me to know what I was dealing with and Dr. Steffens book identified and validated every single behavior and emotion. Must read for newly betrayed spouses.
        Likewise, I can not recommend highly enough:
        Dr. Omar Minwalla (what a compassionate and genuine man!)
        The Meadows
        The S-Angle
        APSATS qualified therapists

        Liked by 3 people

  5. I completely second your recommendation of Omar Minwalla. Absent my husband’s intensive with him very early on I’m reasonably sure we’d be finalizing a divorce right about now.

    I also recommend a few podcasts:
    “Sex Love & Addiction” hosted by Robert Weiss, PhD. MSW
    “APSATS Podcast” hosted by Carol the Coach
    and
    Carol the Coach’s weekly Sex Addiction Podcast

    Robert Weiss is easy to listen to, smart, and insightful. I find his podcasts both informative and partner sensitive. As to the last two, Carol’s technical abilities appear to be nil. The sound on both of these podcasts is simply terrible. That aside, she gets many good guests and has many good episodes. I will say, however, that I would skip any podcast of hers (on her own podcast, not the one she hosts for APSATS) that’s more than about 2 years old. In her earlier days she had a number of guests that were squarely on the codependency train and who clearly weren’t trauma-model oriented. I wish she would delete those episodes.

    In terms of books:
    “Your Sexually Addicted Spouse” by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means
    “Not Just Friends” by Shirley Glass (not SA related but the content is still highly relevant)

    There are a number of other good resources out there, but these are a good start for someone just finding themselves in this club.
    xo

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks, blackacre. It’s especially important for newcomers to have trusted resources. Unfortunately, there are new people every day finding themselves in this horrible predicament. Enjoy your vacation! ❤

      Liked by 4 people

        • I think the reason I continue to write posts like this is in my own little way, I feel like it’s the only thing I can do right now to combat all the negative energy out there. Addicts need resources, partners and families need resources. It’s not all hate and co-dependency and divorce out here in sex addict land. I’m grateful for the resources we found that helped get us to this day. ❤️

          Liked by 3 people

          • More than one therapist has said to me, “He gets a pass?” (Re: for cheating, breaking the marriage contract, being referred to as an an addict instead of a cheater.) It’s so hard because I was confused, traumatized and rankly, harmed, by so many things therapists said to me.

            The resources listed are good – another I’d recommend is Dr. Kevin Skinner – great book on treating trauma from sexual betrayal – and videos on his website Bloom (for women) – the 1st level of membership is free and there are excellent, informative videos by experts.

            Liked by 3 people

            • Thanks beleeme for sharing the resources. And of course WE know they are cheaters AND they are addicts and no one is letting anyone “off the hook.” Some therapists (a lot) don’t know anything about sex addiction or how to treat, likewise for sex addiction induced trauma. We have to keep searching for what we know is right and even then the road is bumpy and ugly. I’m glad you found helpful resources. ❤️

              Liked by 2 people

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