The Signs Of Sex Addiction: A Guide For Partners And Spouses
As a partner or spouse, it can be very difficult to determine if the other person is someone with a sex addiction. Just like any addiction, the individual may be very good at hiding the behaviour, particularly during the dating stage and before you may be living together where secrets become more challenging to maintain.
Often the person with a sex addiction will be extremely defensive about his or her behaviour. They can be increasingly hostile about any questions that may come from a partner or spouse about their time, their interactions or possible use of the internet to engage in addictive behaviours.
However, just because a partner is secretive or defensive about themselves is not a direct correlation to a sex addiction. An individual that has an affair on a spouse or committed partner or someone who cheats on a boyfriend or girlfriend is not necessarily a sex addict; there can be many different issues that drive this type of behaviour.
Some of the key signs to look for in any relationship that may indicate a sex addiction include the following. It is important not to base this assumption on one event or one incidence but rather a pattern of behaviour that is damaging to the relationship and potentially risky for everyone involved.
Changes in Sexual Intimacy in the Relationship
Most sex addicts tend to experience a decreasing desire for sexual relationships with their partners. It is very common for sex addicts to feel shame about engaging in their addictive behaviours and to transfer those feelings of shame to all sexual relationships, even those that are healthy and positive.
Additionally, as with any addiction, the acts or thoughts around sex change and escalate over time. For example, a sex addict may develop a fantasy about sex in a public place. It is not likely he or she would talk to a spouse about this, particularly if the spouse has rejected these suggestions in the past. Instead, the sex addict will find someone else to fulfil this fantasy, which then results in a lower sexual stimulation in a sexual relationship with the partner that doesn’t involve the fantasy.
Problems at Work and with Money
As sex addiction progresses and the individual spends more time engaging in the fantasy either through watching online pornography or engaging in sex with others, it is common for work issues to occur. People may be fired from a job because of viewing porn on the internet at work or because of poor job performance or missing days at work.
It is also common for the individual to experience financial problems. This is particularly true if the partner is leading a dual lifestyle or is involved in prostitution or fetish types of activities.
Lying and Hiding
Addicts have difficulties in keeping stories organised. They will often be caught in multiple lies about unrelated issues, but become increasingly angry, hostile and defensive when this is pointed out.
Other concerns to note will be hiding the use of the internet or the phone. Having passwords on the phone, taking phone calls and texts only in private or even having multiple phones and devices that are kept secret from the partner can also be possible signs of a sex/porn addiction.
Often the partner in these relationships feels there is something that is “off” about the relationship. Some sex addicts will escalate rapidly with the addiction while others may be able to maintain their secret life for years. Ideally, talk to your partner and be specific and non-judgemental about the behaviours noted, and then seek help from a therapist specializing in sex addiction recovery.