Actor David Duchovny’s work to recover from sexual addiction continues to make media headlines and demonstrates the difficulty of overcoming the addiction. The recent news story is also generating further discussions by experts about sexual addiction and the importance of couples seeking help together.
An ABC News article reports that Duchovny and his wife have begun a separation period, prompting experts like Rob Weiss, director and creator of the Sexual Recovery Institute of Los Angeles, to reflect on the nature of sexual addiction in a marriage.
Seeking professional treatment together, as a couple, is key, says Weiss. If both partners aren’t involved in the recovery and treatment process, emotions can turn to casting blame and progress can be brought to a halt due to negative feelings like shame.
Weiss says a couple can endure a separation because the person who is experiencing the addiction has not yet ended the behavior, or may not be fully engaged in the recovery process. Sometimes, says Weiss, a spouse can decide to separate as a reaction to their painful feelings surrounding the addiction, even if their spouse is committed to a recovery strategy.
Duchovny’s role on “Californication,” a Showtime series, may also contribute to challenges with sexual addiction recovery. On the show, Duchovny portrays an extremely sexually active character. Weiss draws on past experience working with people who have sexual addictions, including those involved in the pornography industry, in stating that Duchovny’s role on the show may not be conducive to an environment of recovery.
Symptoms of sexual addiction can include obsessive thoughts about sex or sex with multiple partners; compulsive masturbation; or excessive use of pornography. Over time, the person becomes unable to control their behaviors even when consequences are known. The impacts of sexual addiction are severe and have been compared to substance abuse, including loss of family relationships, career and finances. Researchers are continuing to explore the causes and treatments for sexual addiction.