How does a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, fiance or family member know if someone close to them is struggling with sex addiction? There are some revealing signs–some subtle, some more obvious. Sex addiction thrives on secrecy, and individuals struggling with this issue will go to great lengths to hide their actions.
How can I recognize a sexual addiction problem in my marriage?
The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) has estimated that 3 to 6 percent of the general population fights with sexual addiction. If you suffer from sex addiction, you can see by the statistics that you are not alone.
The estimate also produces some approximately 14 million Americans living with an addiction to pornography or compulsive sexual behaviors. That’s a significant number of people who know they have an issue, with many wanting a way out but not knowing what direction to take.
Sexual addiction can produce clues. Perhaps as someone close to a person with sexual addiction you have already seen the evidence. A typical scenario could be the discovery of disturbing sexual images on a computer. When you confront the individual, you could be met with complete denial and anger. You could be accused of being the crazy one. You might be told that this happened just this one time. These responses could also be symptoms of sexual addiction.
In addition, these are also some potential signs of a general or sexual addiction:
- will not allow you access their phone or computer
- can disappear for unaccounted periods of time
- will try to hide unrelated financial charges or “missing” finances
- can seem distracted and ignore significant relationships
- will appear to have lots of anxiety and stress. This can be due to someone discovering their sexual addiction secret.
- may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease such as genital warts, genital injury, herpes or other critical medical problems
- may be engaging in risky behaviors or having legal problems
- are in debt due to the costs of prostitutes, cybersex, phone sex or multiple affairs
- mentions that they will be working on the computer, many times staying up late at night, past their regular bedtime
This list just shows a few telling signs of possible sex addiction. If you suspect that your partner or loved one needs help, reach out to them and let them know you care and want to help them overcome their addiction. You can do this by offering your full support, helping them seek counseling and working to overcome adversity so a healthy relationship will be restored.
But remember also to do this when helping a loved one with a sex addiction, remain personally healthy by holding your personal boundaries in check and protecting yourself.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Duane Osterlind