Sex Addiction

I believed my first husband was a sex addict while I was married to him.  When I tell people he was a sex addict – the most frequent reaction by men is a nod and a wink and ‘lucky you’.  Most people think it means he wanted sex often. It is not a high libido or wanting sex more often than your partner.  What it is, is a very controversial subject.  Just do a quick search online and you will see.

As far as I am concerned, if you don’t know a ‘sex addict’ that is all it is – an abstract, hypothetical, philosophical discussion.  But I lived with someone who displayed all the behaviours of a sex addict and I attended a support group for partners of sex addicts – SANON. I know it exists.  An addiction is something that is bad for you, you can’t stop even though you want to, affects your life and your health, is out of control and the behaviours escalate to achieve the same satisfaction.  Then compulsive sex, pornography and masturbation can of course be an addiction like any other.

I also know that some people can use ‘addiction’ as an an excuse for their sexual philandering – and in hindsight that is probably what my ex husband did – but I am still totally convinced sex addiction exists.

Patrick Carnes  in his book ‘Out of the Shadows‘ describes Sex Addiction really clearly, and I recommend this book if you want to learn more about it.

A lot of people with personality disorders also display the behaviours of sexual addiction.  I now believe it is the personality disorder that was the root of James’ sex addiction, and the reason he behaved the way he did.  Randi Kreger, who wrote ‘Walking on Egg Shells’ about Borderline Personality Disorder believes the same.

On her blog on Psychology Today she talks about men with Borderline Personality Disorder and out of control sex.

Therapist Mary Gay, who treats many men with BPD, says she finds that borderline men frequently engage in addictive, sexually compulsive behaviours, including regularly hiring prostitutes, having serial affairs, going to strip clubs, obsessively viewing pornography, engaging in voyeurism or exhibitionism, and compulsive masturbation. One borderline man used high-risk sex as his form of self-harm. He says:

The out-of-control sex was something I hated myself for, it was obsessive, it felt like an invisible hand grabbing me by the collar and dragging me off to do whatever. I needed to cause enough pain and degradation to myself. The incredible guilt of the risks I was exposing my partner to really destroyed something inside me. But when the inner loneliness was strongest, sex was the only thing that would quiet the fear.


  1. I’m really touched by your insight and the struggles you’ve beeb faced with. Though I’ve only scratched the surface, I am learning a lot about just how far down the rabbit hole goes. My best friend is a P.A. practicing medicine on base at Fort Bragg. Her ex sounds A LOT like your ex. I look forward to more correspondences with you.


    • Thanks for the comment. Personality disorders have far reaching effects on those of us who have been in a relationship with someone with a personality disorder (whether chosen or not chosen). There is a lot to learn and understand. Happy to hear from your friend, it is always good to share struggles and solutions with others in similar situations. FT

  2. I have just discovered this also about my ex. He always had a low sex drive with me, I joked and called him a lesbian. I always had to initiate. Then I found out he watched porn everyday. I broke up with him when I found out he kept contacting a former student; I repeatedly asked him to stop. Since breaking up I discovered that he is on Adult Friend Finder and has been on there since he was married to his first wife, he joined when their child was five months old. Since we have broken up he is on a “take no prisoners” campaign to find hook ups, including inviting women to his house via Craigs List. It all makes me sick because he came a across as very upstanding. MFA and taught at the local college. I’ve just made a doctor’s appointment for STD testing. I don’t think will ever trust anyone again.

  3. Thanks for this helpful post. I am married to a recovering addict under the GreatnessAhead program. He’s a porn and sex addict and I didn’t knew it till last 2012 when I discovered his pc history which led me to track the exchanges of email from random women. His addiction was all rooted to the molestation that he has experienced when he was still 12. I don’t know if he uses it to rationalize things but gaining a fuller understanding of the past and present things that trigger his addiction helped a lot. I was so devastated and shattered that I just wish to leave him for good. But we want to work things out despite the pain so I’m hopeful that this too shall pass. I just need an intense strength and faith to endure all of this.

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