You are experiencing devastation Anon123. It is a devastating experience and your reactions, dismay, self-doubt, anger, confusion, to name just some, are normal. Whilst I have been on the other end, I do feel for you. There is so much I could say but a few thoughts. 1. You aren't alone. There are many who are on this harrowing road. Do reach out to others in the same boat. 2. There is help for you. I would commend Paula's book for partners. Sex Addiction: The Partner's Perspective. Her other book on Understand and Treating Sex Addiction is also extremely good. One of the things you will learn is that this isn't primarily about sex and it isn't because of anything you have done or not done. 3. There is hope. Two years on, I have been clean from porn, masturbation and visiting sex workers. It was awful beyond words telling my wife, but we have got through it - with a lot of help from others. 4. If there is one piece of advice I might give you? Don't go soft on him, don't make excuses for his behaviour - there aren't any. Help him to face up to his problem - don't collude with it. Sadly but inevitably, addicts (especially sex addicts) find it so very difficult to be honest. 5. Oops, perhaps one other piece of advice - tell someone who you know will support you, walk with you on this dreadful road. All the best.
Hi Ali I think it is more complicated than that. Strangely people with sex addiction, are lonely, they want intimacy but at the same time fear it. His pain latches onto sex, but it could have latched onto anything. It isn't really about sex, perhaps surprisingly. It sounds like you have a good relationship - hold onto that. Can I suggest you read Paula's book on Sex Addiction - it will give you a very helpful insight into this rather strange but dangerous addiction? It is called "Understanding and Treating Sex Addiction".
Wow, what a dreadful experience for you Rena. I am coming to this from the other side, as an addict but free of this stuff for 2 years. I think I would say two things. 1. You intuition is correct, for an addict to recover, s/he has to be brutally honest with themself and I would suggest (though some others will disagree with me) honest with their partner. It is painful, but it is the only way to recovery and the only way to rebuild trust in a relationship. 2. There is hope. You can read a short post from me about my recovery in the Success Stories section. People do kick this. Keep going.
I wouldn't be negative about the various 12 step programmes. I go to SAA group and it doesn't 'shove religion down your throat' - in fact there is no religion. Yes a 'higher power' but they are quick to let you define what that high power is. Groups vary a lot, if one doesn't work, try another. Keep going!
Hi Ali, this sort of thing is devastating and you have good reason to feel very upset. I have come from the otherside, having been married for 22 years, addicted to porn since my teenage years but have now been completely free from it for 2 years now and still married. From my own experience can suggest that you are honest with him about the fact that you know. The only hope he has, is if he faces things honestly and lives in rigorous honesty. This addiction thrives in secrecy and shame. So the first thing is to bring it into the open. Tell him that you know. Secondly, this can only be beaten with help. There is a lot of help on the internet - sites like www.sexaddictionhelp.co.uk. Others on this site may also recommend how he can get help. Keep going, there is hope. People do kick the habit.
Hi, yes, I am now 2 years and a month into recovery and slip free (other than a minor slip at 9 months). Paula tells me that after two years one's recovery is well established. I feel great! Other than my wife, SAA has worked very well for me as an additional support. I would recommend something like that to everyone.
Hi Caron That can't be easy - having sexual need but not fulfilling it in a way that fits with your values. I would encourage you to speak to your pastor/priest - my experience is that very often they have heard it all before (and won't bat an eyelid) but most significantly the power of the secrecy and the shame is significantly reduced. Confide in some trusted friends/family about your predicament.
Hi Matt - you aren't alone. There are many Christians who struggle with the same issue. I would encourage you first of all to read up on porn addiction, and Paula's new book is an excellent place to start. Secondly to get some help - either find a counsellor who specialises in sex addiction (Paula might be able to recommend one) or try an 12 step group. Thirdly, confide in someone you trust. Let us know how you get on.
Hi Pat - I go to an SAA meeting on a regular basis. All 12 step meetings have a 'divine' basis. Mine starts and begins with the serenity prayer. And like the ones you have been to, we aren't allowed to offer advice during the session although it is fine outside the session. The guys who are particularly hot about this feel it is less safe when this value isn't respected and over time I have come to appreciate their strictness on this. I would encourage you to keep going for some weeks, perhaps even months and see how it feels when you have got used to it. It took me some while.
Hi Izzy As Schrodinger says, you have started well - the first step is to realise you are addicted, powerless over this and the only way to conquer it is to get help. Paula's book on Sex Addiction is an excellent book to understand the basics about it and what to do about it but it won't be enough - you need either a course like her recovery course of which she has a variety of different formats or a 12 step programme. There are 3 different 12steps - one is Sexaholics Anonymous which is on the stricter end, 'Sex Addicts Anonymous' and 'Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous' - the latter is more mixed. Do look on their different websites. It can be a long road but worth every step - sex addiction leads to so much pain and damage.