You’re scared. The life you thought you had (or others think you have), the life you’ve been building for years, is crashing down around you. It feels like you’re losing everything. You’ve betrayed the person you love most and, more than that, you’ve betrayed yourself. You find yourself thinking, “How did this happen? How did it get so bad? What was I thinking?!? This is all my fault.” And if your partner hasn’t found out your secret yet, you’re terrified that they will.
You can’t concentrate at work. You’re usually pretty on top of things, but this obsession has taken over your life. You keep trying to go without looking at porn or checking your text messages for a new sext. Sometimes you plan your day around sneaking in some sexual activity. You’ve wondered, “Am I a sex addict?” But you dismiss the idea and once again you’re caught up in waves of fantasy and pleasure. And then you feel like crap. Guilt, shame and despair have become close companions.
You told yourself this had to stop. You told yourself, “Maybe if I pray more I can control this.” But nothing seems to help. You feel too much shame to pray anyway. You keep thinking God must be so disappointed in you. If you talk to your pastor, he’ll just tell you to join a men’s Bible Study and they’ll tell you to put filters on your phone. And pray more. But you’ve tried that. It’s not enough. And you hate having to keep admitting that you’ve fallen into temptation again.
Your relationship is a mess. Before your spouse found out, you tried really hard to hide it. You used incognito tabs and cleared your history daily. You told her she was crazy for being suspicious for “no reason.” You lied about being late. You hid money you didn’t want her to know you’d spent on sex. You had a secret phone or messaging app he didn’t know about. You had credit cards she didn’t know about.
And after your spouse found out, the questions came flooding in. Hundreds of questions. Anger you could never have imagined. Panic, shame, disgust, rage, grief. She’s broken-hearted. He’s devastated. And you can’t bear to see the damage you’ve caused. But it still confronts you every day. How do you answer all these questions? Should you even answer these questions? What do you do now? How do you rebuild this broken trust?
Am I A Sex Addict?
The short answer: maybe. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if you might be a sex addict:
- Are you preoccupied with sexual thoughts/fantasies?
- Are you ashamed of some of your sexual behaviors or do you hide some of your behaviors from others?
- Have you looked into treatment for sexual issues? Have you sought couples counseling when you knew that you weren’t being honest about your sex life?
- Is your sexual behavior hurtful to others (including partner, work, or social life)?
- Do you feel like your sexual desires control you? Do you feel out of control?
- Does your sexual behavior make you feel sad or in despair?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, you are most likely a sex addict. But don’t let a label get in your way. Some people call it sexual compulsivity or out of control sexual behavior. The label is not as important as the impact of this behavior on your life.
Bottom line: if your sexual behavior is causing you (or someone you love) harm, it’s a problem. And I can help.
Recovering From Sexual Addiction
As a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, I help men, women, and couples heal from sexual compulsivity and intimate betrayal. For those who struggle with out of control sexual behavior, we start by getting a clear view of the impact of sex addiction on your life. Denial is powerful and will keep you stuck in the addiction cycle. We must confront the destruction caused by your sexual behaviors.
I work with you to create a “circle plan” that identifies your unhealthy sexual behaviors, the triggers for those behaviors, and the healthy coping skills you can start using instead. We’ll work on building a healthy, active support system as you learn what life in recovery looks like for you. One of the biggest problems with sex addiction (and all addiction) is isolation. You can’t do this on your own. You’ve tried that already, remember? Reaching out to a community of support and understanding is deeply healing and provides encouragement and wisdom as you learn to live a sober life.