My husband is a sex addict: What do I do?

Being married to a sex addict is a complex and exhausting situation. The first thought a person might have is to give up on the marriage. However, is it advisable to classify all sexual addicts into one group?

God made men and women to be devoted to each other, in the biggest joys and the biggest sorrows. This is why my suggestion is that, first, you gather information regarding this matter and understand the possibilities within your reach.

I want you to understand that a sexual addiction is caused by neurotransmitters in the brain. They force compulsive behavior. Suffering from any type of addiction is unpleasant, so, in cases as complex as these, the best thing to do is to take some time to reflect and learn about it.

Let us begin.

Seven things every sex addict’s partner should know

For a sex addict to recover from their addiction, their partner’s contribution will be essential. I am not going to lie to you by saying it is easy. Neither you are obliged to stay where your happiness is compromised, just that love tends to mean sacrifices.

Before making a decision, I recommend you consider these 7 statements that will help you open your eyes about this condition.

  1. Your suspicions might be real

It is difficult to admit that a husband has a sexual addiction, therefore, your first reaction might be denial. It is normal to feel this way, I witness it all the time. But when obvious signs appear, it is not healthy to deny them as though they were not there.

For example, if your husband seems depressed, and anxious, and he withdraws himself from others, including you, it is a sign that something is wrong, as well as when he disconnects from you emotionally and your mutual sex life is dying, when he avoids sexual intercourse with you or when he evades the issue of sexuality. A healthy couple should not have problems making love or talking about this subject.

If you confront your husband with circumstantial proof, do not expect him to admit it on your first try. Many times, they must be caught in the act before they will admit the problem.

  1. It is not your fault

I am going to tell you this so that you can take it into account. You are not the one to be blamed for your husband’s sexual addiction. As an independent human being, he is free to make his own decisions regarding his sexual behavior, and he could even assure you that maybe these sexual deviations started before he married you.

I have had patients who are addicted to pornography, and they hide this addiction from their future wives because they know it is wrong, but they can not help themselves. So, do not believe you are the cause of the problem. His sexual aversion towards you has nothing to do with the way you look, it has to do with your husband’s inability to create a sexual connection with you.

Women tend to have their self-esteem affected by this issue. And they develop a fear of being rejected, but this is useless when it comes to healing. Make your husband take responsibility and walk with him through this path in an objective way.

  1. You cannot fix everything by yourself

You will not be able either to fix your husband’s sexual deviation on your own, without his help. It is impossible. No one changes if he/she does not want to, and we are only capable of changing ourselves, not others.

Where am I going with this? Monitoring your husband constantly so that he does not fall into his addiction, to the point where you lose your own life, will not solve anything. The addict must want to improve himself and for you, for his family. Your role will be to demand that he seek help.

  1. It is healthy to admit your ow feelings

You might be confused, sad, or angry in the face of having a husband who is a sex addict. You might experience all these stages at your own pace. Furthermore, you do not need to deny them or believe you are stronger than you are.

I want you to know that people can heal and let their feelings flow. If you feel like this is too much for you to deal with alone, seek other people’s support.

  1. Forgiving is not forgetting

You must not feel ashamed of trying to restore a marriage that was broken by sexual addiction. You will not make this process easier if you do not forgive your husband. However, if you believe that forgiving equals forgetting, you are making a big mistake.

You will not achieve anything positive by seeking revenge or a way to make your husband pay for his flaws, and forgiving him does not mean that you are renouncing your pain and grief. Forgiveness will free you from resentment and when it becomes too difficult for you to let it go, seek help for your emotional well-being.

  1. You are powerful

The decision to stay or to leave is in your hands. You are the one who has the power to set boundaries, fight together, or just take a path of healing in solitude.

You have control over your life, regardless of the decision you make. Whether you choose one option or the other, you will most likely need help. Remember, you must believe in yourself.

  1. You have worth

You have the right to have respect and love in your marriage. Maybe you do have flaws in your marriage, you are not perfect, but those flaws are not causing the sexual choices your husband is making. They do not define your worth.

If you feel that you are not enough, that it is your fault, know that none of those feeling are healthy for you. You have to face this challenge feeling fully confident, with self-love and courage.

What do you do when your husband is a sex addict?

When you first find out that your husband is a sex addict, you have two options: to leave him or to work to save your marriage. If you choose the former, you must pay attention to your own needs and insecurities first. Forgiving a sexual betrayal can be traumatizing for some people.

These are some actions you can take if you decide to stay:

  • Turn to professionals: The main thing is to seek professional help and go together as a couple. Also, follow the recommendations with an open mind.
  • Take care of yourself: Take care of yourself mentally and physically. Work on your self-esteem, seek social support and exercise more, or practice a new hobby, for your well-being.
  • Do not have sexual intimacy with your husband until you get your confidence back. Do not push yourself to have sex with your partner after he betrayed you. Take your time to heal. Husbands can use time for activities such as meditation, exercising. They can even attend motivational groups until their wives are ready.
  • Do not assume the responsibility for your partner’s abstinence. If you are able to forgive your addict husband, who is walking the path to recovery, you do not have to be his babysitter. He, as a grown man, is responsible for controlling himself. He is also responsible for not breaking the promises he made so that you would stay by his side.

Last words when your husband is a sex addict

Working on sexual addiction is scary for any wife. But as long as there is a commitment from the husband’s side, life is  about second chances.

Do not forget that it is valid to have doubts about what is best for your case. Have you gone through this situation? Let me know in the comments.

What is sexual addiction and how to recognize it?

Addictions are invisible enemies that can destroy everything in their way: marriages, families, jobs, and the legacy of an entire life in a matter of months. And even though we often associate the term “addict” with addiction to substances such as alcohol, drugs, or gambling, sexual addiction is one of the most dangerous ones.

I have lost count of the homes that have been wrecked by sexual addiction, a terrible evil that puts the couple at spiritual and physical risk. Not only are the principles of a sacred union such as marriage in danger, but it also exposes the other partner to several sexual illnesses.

In an over-sexualized world, it is getting more and more difficult to find the boundaries between what is adequate and what is not. The line that has been drawn by our God to practice sex as an encounter of deep love and trust has been blurred over the years.

Three to six percent of Americans have sexual addiction, according to Dr. Patrick Carnes in his book Don’t Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction. So, how can a sexual addict be identified before it is too late? I want to talk to you about this next.

What is sexual addiction?

As I mentioned before, addictions come in many forms. But why or what are they specifically? The easiest way to explain what addictions are is that they are pathological attractions to a place, thing, or even a person.

These addictions are actually unconscious attempts to find something that is outside of us. Something we believe we need so that we can feel complete. This is why if you ask any addict why he/she abuses drugs, he/she will tell you that they do it to feel relaxed, to escape from reality, to forget, etc.

The roots of addictions are so deep that they can be found as a tendency in families, through either genetic predisposition, or due to the way someone was raised.

However, you must understand that the Lord does not want you to be an addict your whole life. Nobody is born to live in suffering, but it is going to be a personal challenge that you must face.

Understanding the sexual addiction cycle

A good reading to understand the sexual addiction cycle is Relationship Sabotage: Unconscious Factors That Destroy Couples, Marriages, and Families written by therapist William J. Matta. From this book, you will be able to learn how an addiction advances little by little. These are the stages:

First stage: Use

The first stage in an addiction is when someone starts to abuse a substance or behavior. An alcoholic will abuse alcohol, a sexual addict, sex. Family members may notice this behavior, but the addict does not, he/she will insist that the worrying is exaggerated.

Second stage: Payment

For the second stage, addicts obtains a type of reward from the consumption or practice of the addiction, whether it is a relaxing feeling, euphoria, peace, or excitement.

Third stage: Negative consequences

No matter how good an addiction might make you feel, that pleasure is momentary and will last only a short period of time, since, one it is over, negative consequences follow. He makes denial one of the most powerful mechanisms for addicts. According to them, there are no bad consequences for their bodies or souls.

Justifying and minimizing their acts might also be mechanisms that appear, since for an addict, his/her addiction is just a means to obtain something, or he/she believes that they can control it.

Fourth stage: Negative feelings

Shame, guilt, fear, and anger are some of the most common feelings I have seen in my addict patients in this fourth stage. They can appear in conscious and unconscious ways, but regardless, the person suffers, and if he/she does not get help from his/her loved ones, he/she will repeat the cycle over and over again.

The sexual addiction nightmare

Sexual addiction consists of the compulsion to practice sexual acts, whether alone or with someone else. There are many ways in which sexual addiction can manifest, one more harmful than the other.

For example, there are people who are addicted to masturbating compulsively, or who watch pornography regardless of the time or the place. People who have compulsive sex with prostitutes or multiple unknown partners also suffer from sexual addiction.

I do not have to elaborate on how these behaviors can destroy a marriage. But, what I do have to elaborate on is how this specific addiction can silently contaminate an individual for years.

As a husband or wife, it might take months before you notice that your partner is addicted to pornography because, usually, part of the addiction consists of hiding it from everyone else.

How to recognize the signs of sexual addiction

Sexual compulsive behaviors are a risk for the addict and his/her surroundings. They could show signs such as:

  • Inability to stop the behavior, and provide excuses for it
  • Won’t settle for a monogamous sexual life or conventional sex
  • Tendency to sexualize other people and situations that are not sexual
  • Spend a large amount of money pursuing and continuing the activity
  • Feelings of excessive euphoria when in contact with the stimulus
  • The need to elevate the danger or severity of the sexual behavior

Unconscious needs that drive sexual addiction

According to my professional experience, behind every addiction there is a story with similarities between them. In the case of sexual addicts, many of them have suffered some kind of traumatic experience during their childhood or adolescence and therefore need to “feel power in their adulthood.”

The feeling of helplessness in these cases is very strong, so they desperately try to find “power” in sex. This is why a victim of sexual abuse ends up being promiscuous. He/she will feel that choosing with how many people he/she is going to sleep with is a manifestation of “power”.

Sexual addiction is a consequence of a need that needs to be met. Which one depends on your life story.

Last words about sexual addiction

The power addicts think they get through sex is fake and ephemeral. Fake, because sex is not a tool to subjugate and show the courage or strength a person has. Ephemeral, because in the same way it is gotten easily, it will also easily lead to remorse and guilt.

The answer is in God, and how He can guide you so that you can determine what is wrong and heal. Do you need help or have a doubt? I can help you in the comments section. You will find a friendly hand in me.