Cravings — we all have them. These cravings could be for a piece of chocolate after a spicy meal or for a cocktail at the end of a hard week of work. For the most part, our cravings can be managed. Our world won’t end if we don’t get that chocolate or martini. Yet, for the sex addict, their cravings have a way of taking over their lives. The need to satisfy those lustful intentions is the only thing that matters. Hours and even days can be spent in the pursuit of acting out on these compulsions. Once the act is complete, there is no genuine satisfaction and the cycle of seeking out fulfillment begins all over again.
While a sex addict is locked into these patterns, their loved one is pushed aside. For the partner or spouse of a sex addict, there can be all kinds of hurt and pain generated because of this issue. The obvious first level is a growing sense of unease and mistrust. A hostile living environment is being created and you feel like you are helpless to do anything about it. First, you need to understand the nature of a sex addiction to determine if that is really what you are dealing with in your relationship.
Common Traits of a Sex Addiction
You can look for these warning signs in your partner or spouse as an indication of a possible sex addition.
- Are they spending an inordinate amount of time looking at pornography online?
- Are they watching a lot of pornography movies or reading sex magazines?
- Are they spending more time isolated at home?
- Are they going out more often for seemingly random events?
- Are they encouraging you to become more “risky” with your sexual activity?
- Have they been caught spying on neighbors or exposing themselves in public?
- Have they contracted a sexually transmitted disease?
- Do they depend on watching pornography to get aroused when intimate?
Naturally, any one of these “red flags” isn’t a guarantee that a person has become a sex addict. There can be many reasons for a sudden change in behavior or level of intimacy.
Begin the Discussion About Sex Addiction with Your Loved One
One common occurrence in a marriage is catching a spouse masturbating. Instead of looking at this as a deviant behavior or as proof you might be inadequate, you should discuss the situation. This could simply be a way for that person to find momentary release. For some couples, masturbation can be a healthy expression of their intimate relationship. What’s important is for you to be able to engage your partner in an honest and open discussion about sex. There could be some issues they have been keeping secret from you for fear of embarrassment. Again this might not mean it’s a sexual addiction, but rather a notion to explore in the private times between you.
If there seems to be a breakdown in communication then it might be time to begin work with a trained couples therapist. Working on your relationship in therapy can help reestablish those lost feelings of trust and secure the bonds.
To find out more about treatment for a sexual addiction, call the toll-free number on this page. Counselors are standing by 24/7 to provide you with information.