Secrets usually surround and protect sex addiction. Commonly, sex addicts will minimize, deny or rationalize the addiction. The addict may tell himself that no one is getting hurt because the addiction is
done in secret. The truth is, eventually sex addiction leads to a state of
turmoil, and the family can also be strongly affected.
If you are a person who struggles with sex addiction, you may know the
personal pain that the addiction has brought you. You may have spent years trying to stop your behavior and struggled with feelings of shame, guilt and unworthiness. Maybe you are still telling yourself that it doesn’t harm anyone, because no one knows?
Your sex addiction not only harms you along the way. It also puts your
spouse in harm’s way. If you are using pornography, you will probably have less time to nurture, support and build emotional intimacy with your spouse. As you go deeper into your addiction, you may be irritable and blaming towards your spouse and the addict part of you becomes very critical of others. When the lies to cover up the addiction have been exposed, your spouse will not trust you. She will experience pain, anxiety, confusion, and anger. She may starts experiencing trauma response like symptoms. In cases of acting out with others, your spouse may have been exposed to STD’s as a result of your addiction.
If you have children, they will be affected by your sex addiction also. They are affected when there is limited time spent with them because you choose your addiction over them. Emotionally, they may also suffer as most addicts are emotionally immature and do not know how to cope with negative emotions. Sex addiction will make you cranky and irritable, as the next “fix” is sought. Children may be exposed to angry outbursts and emotional neglect. Your children may also lose out on their mother’s attention, as she may be too overwhelmed by your addiction to be totally present with the children.
The ripple effect is enormous and goes way beyond what is discussed
here. If you struggle with sex addiction, you deserve to experience recovery – not only for yourself, but also, for your spouse and your children.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC-Intern, NCC, therapist at McKinney Counseling and Recovery, specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. McKinneyCounseling & Recovery serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist