Often when a wife discovers her husband has been involved with pornography or an extra-marital relationship she comes to the place in her mind where she wants to know: “Is my husband (boyfriend or fiance’) a sex addict?”
I found this article online by Dr. Doug Weiss. I just want to preface that in my opinion Doug is coming more from a psychological perspective than a biblical perspective, however, I think his insight can be quite helpful in discerning this issue. For further biblical examination, I would recommend that you visit the Pure Life Ministries website. They have many helpful articles for both the ‘sex addict’ and the ‘wife’.
1. What is sex addiction? Sex addiction is a way some
people medicate their feelings and/or cope with their stresses to the degree
that their sexual behavior becomes their major coping mechanism for stresses in
their life. The individual often can not stop this sexual behavior for any
great length of time by themselves. The sex addict spends a lot of time in the
pursuit of his or her sexual behavior/fantasy or they may have a binge of
do people become sexually addicted? This is different for every
sex addict but generally speaking there are biological, psychological, and
spiritual reasons. The following is a short explanation of each reason why
someone can become a sex addict. The biological addict is someone who has
conditioned their body to receive endorphins and enkephlines (brain chemicals)
primarily through reinforcing a fantasy state with the ejaculation that provides
these chemicals to their brain. Psychologically, the need to medicate or escape
physical, emotional or sexual abuse can demand a substance, the early addict
finds the sex medicine usually before alcohol or drugs. Spiritually, a person
is filling up the God hole in them with their sexual addiction. The addiction
is their spirituality, it comforts them, celebrates them and is always
available and present. Then there is the sex addict who can be two or even
three of the above reasons. This is why a specialist in sex addiction is the
best route for recovery with sex addiction.
3. What’s the difference between sex addiction and a high sex drive?
I have heard this question on almost every national talk show or radio show I
have been on over the years. A person with a high sex drive is satisfied with
sex. It’s not about a fix for something; when their partner says “NO”
it doesn’t make them go off the handle thinking their partner is totally
rejecting them and have to leave the house or act out in some other way. If you
can relate to this the chances are there may be an addiction issue.
4. Can you be addicted to masturbation? Yes, this is by far
the most common sex addiction that I have treated in working with sex
addiction. This usually is the first sexual behavior many of us will have on a
repeated basis. This is usually where the sexual compulsion starts with sex
addicts and this behavior, regardless of other acquired behaviors, usually
5. What role does pornography play in sex addiction? Pornography
for many sex addicts combined with regular masturbation is the cornerstone for
most sex addicts. Many sex addicts have great difficulty getting sober from
this combination of behavior. The pornography with fantasy creates an unreal
world that the sex addict visits throughout their adolescence and other
developmental stages and creates an object relationship that conditions their
emotional and sexual self to depend upon these objects and fantasies to meet
their emotional and sexual needs hundreds of times before having sex with a
6. Can someone be a sex addict and not be sexual with their spouse or
committed relationship? YES! We call this later stage of sex
addiction, sexual anorexia. In this stage of sex addiction, the addict prefers
the fantasy world and fantasy sex with themselves or others instead of
relational sex with their spouse or partner. The addict/anorexic avoids
relational sex and hence this couple has sex infrequently and often at the
partners request not the addict/anorexics.
7. What is it like to live with a sex addict from a partner’s or wife’s
perspective? The partners/wives of sex addicts report many similar
feelings about living with the sex addict. The feeling of aloneness is a common
experience with partners of sex addicts, the sense that he can’t open up and
tell you about his “real” self. The confusion of even after you do
certain behaviors that this still is not enough and the hopelessness that there
isn’t enough. Anger for many different unmet needs as a person and as a woman
are often common.
8. Can partners get help even if the sex addict doesn’t? Yes,
even if the addict stays in denial of their addiction the partner can receive
help and support for herself. The feelings of anger, loss, loneliness and many
other feelings encountered over the years of living with this addiction will
effect a person. These feelings need to be dealt with therapeutically whether
they stay married to the addict or not. The addiction was in no way your
doing as a partner or wife, the addicts addiction started many years before you
even met your addict. This addiction would have grown and damaged anyone they
would have related to in any relationship.
9. Is there recovery for sex addiction? Yes, there is recovery for sex addiction. This recovery takes time and hard work especially in the first year but with guided help the sex addict can experience restoration in their emotional, relational, sexual, financial, and spiritual lives. I have seen marriages made better than they ever were an addicts live much happier lives than they ever thought possible. I have been in successful recovery over elecen years and I know it’s available for those who choose to work for and maintain recovery.
Aritcle found on WomenTodayMagazine.com Check out our Get Help Section for more resources for you and for your man.
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