Sexual Addiction and the Road to Recovery
Not many women speak up about having a sex addiction. the amount of women who attend sex addicts anonymous groups are so scarce they have a pamphlet to give women about how they might be the only one there and how to cope with that. Most people do not have a very clear understanding what sex addiction means. I know I did not have any idea what it meant for me or for any woman.
I have struggled with my desired sexual frequency for my entire adulthood. I have fought with every partner I have ever had, demanding more sex. I had three five year relationships and in all of them I made sex a huge issue. Two of my partners and I had sex nights twice a week just to make sure the frequency kept up. I knew that I struggled with making sex too big of a deal and with associating my feeling of love and affection from sex but I was not able to see the entirety of how it was negatively impacting my life. When I started dating my current husband we had the most sex I had ever had in my life, we had sex a lot and it made me so happy. My sex addict was in sex heaven.
My husband did not just have a lot of sex with me, he is the best partner I have ever had. He is affectionate, he does housework, he takes care of everything I need before I ask, he always makes me feel loved, beautiful, intelligent and valued. He began teaching me what real love is, how two people can be vulnerable, open and trusting. He created a space for me to fell safe, secure and free all at once. This man is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received from the Universe.
So when we started fighting about sex, I had to take a closer look at myself. One evening I was watching six feet under and the character Brenda realizes she is a sex addict. It was like a light bulb went on Once I was able to name the way I felt, it became something I had to address. My husband was worried, he asked “are you going to have sex with strange men in bathrooms?’ His assumption is not off base, I believe that is what many people think of when someone says that have a sex addiction. That is not how my sexual addiction manifests itself and that is a misguided idea of what sex addiction is. Sex addiction is different for everyone, there is no box that this fits into.
My sexual addiction is completely entangled in my worth and value as a female as well as the security of our relationship. When my husband wants to have sex, I feel validated. If he does not want to have sex, I feel rejected. This roller coaster was exhausting and so were the fights. I left my husband feeling inadequate, insecure and afraid that I was going to leave him. Luckily I knew how great of a guy he was and I started to see that I was pushing away my incredible partner as well as eliminating that vulnerable, safe and open space we had created. I knew I had to do something. After a huge fight I finally went to my first sex addicts anonymous group. It was all men and I felt so uncomfortable, I felt like I invaded their sacred space. They were kind but I knew it was not a group that I could regularly attend. I did however take away a lot of reading material and I learned so much about myself.
I started cognitive behavioral therapy the next week, which has literally been a life changer. Therapy became the outlet I needed to start finding a path to seeing my true self. This process has been incredibly painful and has taken a lot of patience and forgiveness on my husbands part and a lot of ownership, growth and work on mine. I am not through it, I still struggle but I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was. This is the process of me getting to know myself, to take back self control and being at the helm of my own ship. Ownership is hard but it is the only path to growth and change.