Dating someone who suffers from sex addiction can be an incredibly difficult and painful experience. The constant feelings of insecurity, suspicion, and anger you might feel towards your partner can undermine the sense of intimacy and trust necessary to a healthy relationship. Understanding the signs, symptoms, and psychology of sexual addiction is the first step in evaluating whether or not your relationship is worth saving.
By gaining a better understanding of your partner’s addiction, you will also shed light on your own emotional state. What is your true motivation for working through this issue with your partner? Is it to salvage an otherwise healthy and happy relationship, or are you battling your own issues with codependency and low self-esteem?
What Is Sex Addiction?
In a nutshell, sex addiction is characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and activities that a person continues to engage in regardless of the negative consequences. While many people battle with sexual dysfunctions to varying degrees, one can be said to have a true sex addiction when their behaviors match the following criteria:
- Regularly failing to control their destructive sexual impulses.
- Continuing to engage in sexual activities that adversely affect their relationships, career, or health.
- Their life revolves around fulfilling their sexual urges.
- They experience anxiety and frustration when they are unable to fulfill their sexual desires.
- They begin using deceit in order to satisfy their sexual impulses.
Signs That Your Partner Is A Sex Addict
Because addicts will often lie about their addiction in an attempt to cover up the truth, it can be difficult to tell if your partner is suffering from sex addiction. Here are some of the telltale signs you should look for in their behavior:
- They constantly watch pornography, and lash out when confronted about it. While over 40 percent of internet users view internet pornography on a regular basis, sex addicts will often spend hours at a time browsing pornographic websites. This is not normal behavior.
- They frequently cancel plans with their partner, and show signs of deception when providing an explanation as to why.
- They fail to display any signs of intimacy both before and after sex.
- They are extremely controlling and possessive when it comes to sex, often making strict demands regarding the time and place sex should occur.
- They lack close friendships with members of the same gender.
- They have a history of being unfaithful to their relationship partners.
What Are The Causes Of Sex Addiction?
The causes of sex addiction are a result of a person’s unique biology, psychology, and upbringing. Often, sex addicts experienced some sort of trauma during their formative years, making it hard for them to form lasting interpersonal relationships. To this type of addict, sexual activity is simply a coping mechanism, a way to distract themselves from their inner demons. If you believe that someone you love is a sex addict, know that their addiction is likely as painful to them as it is to you.
Doing What’s Right For You
Deciding whether or not to pursue a relationship with a sex addict requires immense personal reflection. Start by evaluating your own motivations for staying in the relationship. Addicts often attract partners with codependent personalities. People with codependency issues will overlook the pain their partners cause them out of fear of losing them. No one should stay in an unhealthy relationship because they fear being alone. Only you and your partner can decide whether or not to stay together, but making the best decision for your own wellbeing requires you to be truly honest with yourself.
Consider joining a support group for people in relationships with sex addicts. Sharing your experiences with a group is a powerful way to escape the shame and isolation you may feel regarding your relationship, and it provides an opportunity to hear the stories of others. Very often just speaking your inner conflicts and concerns out loud is all it takes for the right answer to jump out at you.
If upon deep reflection you decide that your relationship is worth repairing, the next step is perusing couple’s therapy. It may take a long time to forgive your partner for their past mistakes, but know that if they are will to do the work, recovery from sex addiction is possible.
Click here to discover 5 personality traits of a sex addict.