Sex addiction is perhaps not as familiar to most people as substance abuse disorders may be. Sex is a natural part of human behavior, and an interest in sex is completely healthy. Most of us are aware that people’s sexual appetites and proclivities vary on a wide spectrum.
It isn’t always easy to recognize when these behaviors have crossed the line into addiction. Living with a partner who is addicted to sex can put tremendous strain on a relationship. The way forward isn’t always clear, but there are effective ways to approach the situation.
What is sex addiction?
Let’s begin by defining sex addiction. The root of sex addiction is a compulsion. The sex-addicted person experiences feelings beyond the usual appetites for sex and intimacy. They feel powerfully compelled to indulge in sexual behavior and often includes more than just intercourse. It may take the form of obsession with pornography or fetishistic behaviors, including voyeurism. But the key is the obsession.
Like a person addicted to drugs, the person addicted to sex will pursue the objects of desire compulsively and without much (or any) regard to consequences. The nature of compulsion is that it throws one’s priorities out of order. The object of compulsion takes precedence over almost everything else. The resulting behaviors often cause great pain to the addicted person and people around them, yet they continue— this is addiction.
It is important to understand that it is not your fault if you discover these behaviors in a partner. Perhaps that may seem obvious to some, but many partners of sex-addicted people blame themselves. They imagine they have somehow failed to meet their partner’s needs, but that simply isn’t true.
Not ever. It is not your fault. Sex addictions begin with the individual and are often caused by deep underlying emotional trauma. Frequently the source of trauma originates in childhood. The addictive behavior may not manifest, however, until many years later.
The positive news is that a great deal of research into sex addiction has occurred in the just the last few decades. We have a much better understanding of how to treat these conditions than ever before. No matter what the circumstances you find yourself in, there is a path forward for you. You should understand two things, though.
Professional help for sex addiction.
Your best chance for substantially improving matters is getting sex addiction treatment for your partner and couples therapy for you both. This issue isn’t something you should try to work through privately with a paperback book.
It takes courage to ask for help. Know that sex addiction is more common than you imagine and you need not be ashamed or embarrassed. Ask for help by looking into an evidence-based sex addiction treatment program. Despite any reservations you may have, you will feel better for simply taking that first step. You can do it.
Healing takes time.
Whether or not you choose to remain in your relationship, you will need time to heal. Don’t cheat yourself of the healing process you deserve in your hurry to move past the pain. Getting help for yourself from a therapist who understands sex addiction and PTSD may be the greatest gift you ever give yourself.
Remember that there is hope. If you have discovered your partner may be struggling with sex addiction, we can help. At The Ranch Tennessee, we will help you and your spouse work through the damaging traumas left behind by hidden behaviors through safe, effective sex addiction treatment and couples therapy.
A better life is waiting for you, and we can help you reach it. Call us today at 844.876.7680 to find out how we can help you, and your spouse find hope and healing.
By Ryan Egan