While women have joked about men “always thinking about sex” or “being addicted to sex”, having a husband who is truly a sex addict is no laughing matter. It goes far beyond just being married to someone who’s appetite for sex seems insatiable. Those with sex addiction (also known as a hypersexual disorder) will act in a way that is out of control, harms them and those they love, and continues despite negative consequences.
Being married to a sex addict significantly impacts a marriage – and never in a positive way. It can make you feel very lonely, unfulfilled, and wondering if your husband loves you at all. You may feel like nothing more than an object – or a roommate. If you’re like 99% of married women, that is certainly not what you signed up for when you said “I do”.
Following are several potential signs that your husband is addicted to sex:
There’s no genuine emotional connection in your relationship. Many, if not the vast majority, of sex addicts have difficulties with intimacy. For normal men, sex is one of the primary ways they express their love and affection for their partner. It’s a significant part of how they connect emotionally. Sex addicts, however, usually have difficulties establishing close relationships, even with their spouse.
Sex leaves you feeling empty. Sex is typically devoid of any real emotional connection, intimacy, or love for those who are addicted to it. Instead, it’s a temporary escape that provides an intense, pleasurable “high” that he craves constantly. Sex will feel empty and unsatisfying to you because it’s very one-sided; you are just a self-serving means for him to satisfy his addiction.
He neglects you sexually. If your husband is a sex addict he may not be having much (if any) sex with you at all. If it does happen, it’s only because you initiate it. When you do have sex, he’s not connecting with you in any meaningful way. He doesn’t care about your sexual pleasure and, when sex is over, he has no interest in any kind of physical closeness.
He demands sex and won’t take no for an answer. If you’re married to a sex addict who does frequently want sex with you, he is likely very persistent. He will have no regard for your feelings. Rather, just like any addict, he wants to satisfy his needs and won’t be happy until that happens. He may pressure you, nag you, use guilt trips, or whine endlessly until you give in. If you don’t, he may sulk, get angry, go into a rage, or even force himself on you. (If he rages or forces himself on you, get out of the relationship for your own emotional and physical wellbeing – if not permanently, at least until he gets help.)
He pressures you into sexual activity that you find uncomfortable, humiliating, or physically painful. Addicts tend to be very self-centered, especially when they want to satisfy their craving. If your husband insists that you do anything that is uncomfortable for you in any way, don’t tolerate it. He is not treating you with respect or love – both of which are vital to any relationship.
He masturbates frequently or excessively. It’s not uncommon for a sex addict to masturbate excessively, often while viewing pornography. If your husband if masturbating frequently or excessively, then something is seriously wrong with him and with your relationship.
You discover porn on his computer, in his brief case, his car, or somewhere in the house. Porn is highly addictive. If your husband is looking at porn, there is very likely a problem. Don’t ignore it and don’t feel obligated to tolerate it.
These are just some of the signs that your husband has a sex addiction or a hypersexual disorder. Others include things that often suggest an extramarital affair such as frequently working late, not telling you where he’s been, spending money that he refuses to account for, keeping secrets, or spending an unusual amount of time on his computer (and being secretive about what he’s doing online).
So, what can you do?
If you believe your husband is a sex addict, don’t ignore it. Otherwise it will definitely continue. You need to confront the behavior when you’re calm and when you can discuss it in private. If you’re uncertain about how to approach the subject, talk to someone who specializes in treating sexual addiction for some guidance.
Don’t tolerate lame excuses or blatant lies. If he insists that you’re wrong, then insist that the two of you go to a sexual addiction specialist or a marriage counselor to address your concerns together. Obviously something is going on in the relationship that isn’t working. If it’s not a sex addiction, then a trained professional can help you figure out what is going on.
If he’s not willing to get into treatment for his addiction or go to marriage counseling with you, then you have some tough decisions to make. Remember, if you tolerate it, you are enabling him and it will continue. A sex addict – just like any other type of addict – isn’t going to stop on his own. You have to use tough love – including walking away from the relationship if necessary – in order for things to change.
Regardless of what you do, make sure that you take good care of yourself. Addictions always have a negative impact on a marriage and. If your husband is a sex addict, he’ll never be able to have a truly healthy, loving relationship with you until he does the hard work to overcome his addiction.