About Sex Addiction

Common Impacts of Having a Sexually Addicted Partner

Physical

Jaw pain, headaches, weight loss/ gain, trouble sleeping, uncommonly low or high energy

Spiritual

Feeling disconnected to your beliefs and values

Emptiness/ Disconnection

Feeling like you have to pretend everything is ok when it is not, feeling like you go through life in a mechanical way or in a fog, feeling like you cannot talk to others about your experience

Sexual

Intrusive thoughts of your partner’s betrayal causing you to freeze when engaged in sexual behavior, feeling used or objectified, not feeling connected or that you can trust your partner sexually

Loss of Self

Feeling like you are in pieces, or that you have lost a part of who you are

“If I drew a picture of myself of how this has affected me, I would be all in black. It would be like a black shadow expect that I would have this big empty hole in my chest, and I would be holding pieces of my heart in my hands. That’s the way that I have seen myself, it isn’t in colour, it isn’t happy and alive”

-Partner

path-fall (Medium)

What is Sexual Addiction

The words sexual addict can be overpowering to hear. Some have indicated that it brings shame and confusion, while others have shared that it brings a sense of clarity to overwhelming problem. Understanding what sexual addiction is, including the concept that there is a variety of ways that sexual addiction can be experienced, is often key to beginning the healing process for both the person with the addiction and the impacted partner. Sexual addiction can be understood as a “pathological relationship with a mood altering experience or thing that causes damage to the person and/ or others” (Griffin-Shelly, 2002).

San Zenone (Medium)

“Like an alcoholic unable to stop drinking, sexual addicts are unable to stop their self-destructive sexual behavior. Family breakups, financial disaster, loss of jobs, and risk to life are the painful themes of their stories”

Dr. Patrick J. Canes, 2008

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Many therapeutic communities are critical of the term sexual addict, as it can be stigmatizing and wide reaching in symptoms and severity (Hall, 2011). The term sexual addiction is used by Jacqueline in therapy and on this website to help describe the out of control and destructive thoughts and behaviours that centre on sexual behaviours that can deeply impact partners.

“This has been an amazing journey it’s been terrifying, heart wrenching, scary, sometimes devastating journey through this. And I’m not finished yet.”

– Partner

It is important to know that healing is possible

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References:

Griffin-Shelley, E. (2002). Adolescent sex and love addicts. In P.J. Carnes, & K. M. Adams (Eds.), Clinical management of sex addiction (pp. 343-360). New York, NY: Brunner- Routledge.

Hall, P.P. (2011). A biospychosocial view of sex addiction. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 26 (3), 217- 228.

Mayo Clinic Staff, “Compulsive sexual behavior”, Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/compulsive-sexual-behavor/DS00144/DSECTION

Tripodi, C. (2006). Long-term treatment of partners of sex addicts: A multi-phase approach. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 13, 269-288.