Is Sex Addiction Real?

I wish someone would just hand me the answers to all life's questions...and this question is one that weights heavily on my mind. My STBXH isn't a diagnosed anything. He is charming, good looking and is high-functiong (has a job, good at small talk, witty, etc.). But he has loads of issues, or at least I've experienced loads of stress over his habits. One of the habits I have had an issue with is his use of ***********. It's something he has used since he was young (before me). We met in 1984 when I was only 17 and he was 16. He seemed shy and sweet...he is such a conceited, controlling, arrogant jerk now. He works so hard to get people to like him. He lies and pretends to like things I know he doesn't like (crazy, unimportant lies, like saying he likes meatloaf when I know he despises it and always has). Why bother!? Ok, I digress...well, he has always been strange sexually: he almost never initiated sex; he would go months without any sex; he prefers self-stimulation to real sex; he needs **** to get aroused; he masturbates to **** 20 minutes after having real sex; he fantasizes about teenage lesbians and he is a high school teacher; he wants me to have sex with a lady of the night while he just watches; he wants to hire a lady who takes her clothes off at clubs to give me lap dance. I don't like any of this. I just want a normal relationship.

Well he has always flirted with other women and has had may admitted crushes. He fell in love with a married coworker, groped her breast and french kissed her and she ended the affair (she was 14 years younger than him). He then fell for my married "friend". He left me and it crushed me because I've put up with so much from him over the years and we have two gorgeous sons. It's like he hasn't been happy with the stable, loving family I've given him. It's not exciting. He's never wanted me sexually and he blames me for it.

Well at New Years, a couple friend of mine who have been very supportive of me through his terrible time said that "all men look at and want to have sex with younger women". I said "it sounds like you are justifying bad behaviour by chalking it up to 'men spread their seed'....''it's good for survival'..." and they agreed. What!? Is it really just okay!? Do all men act like this? Act on their instincts to spread their seed, chase younger women, self-stimulate to naked images. It makes me feel that I've been unreasonable. That I was intolerant of him when he is just your average guy.

I feel so certain that sex addiction is a real thing. It makes sense. In fact, my STBXH sounds like a borderline disordered male with sex and love addiction. But he isn't diagnosed. And he has no interested in "getting better".
Zensters Zensters
2 Responses Jan 14, 2013

Thank you kathpro! Your post means so much to me. It's so hard to know what is fair and reasonable when you've been with the same person for more than 25 years. And bought in to their habits or "one off" transgressions. That's just it - they are not "one off". He has a serious maladaptive pattern of behaviour. Well, I'm alone now and my eyes are adjusting to this new reality.

I'm sorry that you have been affected by your H's addiction. It's GREAT that he is so responsible and in therapy! I want to say you are "lucky" but I trust its been challenging. Good for you for accepting all this as a compassionate grown up. I hope you both continue to heal through this.

Hugs to you and thanks again for reaching out.

You have been through some really terrible things. I am sorry for the pain you have experienced! There are differing opinions on whether sex addiction is "real". I happen to believe it is, beyond a shadow of a doubt. That being said, it might also be true that it is "normal" for men to be tempted sexually by other women, fantasize, feel stimulated visually, etc. But to act on that temptation, repeatedly, even to point where it destroys your family, this is abusive and unacceptable behavior, whether or not you want to call it an addiction. He has no right to behave in that way, and you DO have a right to expect him to keep his sexual life under control and make it exclusively between you and him. This is not impossible. Many men are able to do this, and as a result experience fulfilling monogamous relationships. He has no excuse for his behavior, there is some kind of deep problem going on there. You have not been unreasonable. And he might be able to get this under control and resume a good and healthy relationship, but NOT without some serious accountability and help, which he needs to be willing to pursue.

I am going through this with my husband (po*n addict), he is finally getting counseling, and I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It didn't begin to get better until we BOTH realized this was a serious issue, and until I demanded that he show me he was serious about doing something about it, even spending money on recovery. Now that he is in counseling, he is discovering a LOT of emotional issues behind his behavior, and it is very helpful to him (even though it's painful) to actually address these things instead of trying to cover it up with's not only the sexual aspect that needs healing, in order to be a satisfied and healthy person.