What is sex addiction?
From Wikipedia: Sexual addiction, also known as sex addiction, is a state characterized by compulsive participation or engagement in sexual activity, particularly sexual intercourse, despite negative consequences.
For the spouses of sex addicts?
Sex addiction is:
Sex addiction is an intimacy, family and spiritual disease. Sex addicts are people who have an illness, that prevents access to the part of the brain that provides impulse control, safety, morality, and more. They behave in ways that are harmful and potentially dangerous to themselves and others. They are not, "bad" people. They are people with an illness.
This doesn't excuse their behavior, or the consequences that follow. They must be held accountable to change, by seeking professional advice from a qualified therapist.
Just like any addiction, it's an escape, or medicating painful emotions. Addiction hijacks the brain and shuts off access to the part of the brain that provides logic and morality. They aren't bad people , they are sick people who do bad things in their addiction . But they can recover. ..if they will admit the disease and seek treatment.
How it makes us, the spouse feel:
Hurt, anger, sadness, grief, bitterness, despair, numb, fear, anxiety, shame, loneliness, confusion, disorientation, brain fog....I could go on. And it's all normal.
Sex addiction (and love and romance addiction ) is where the brain gets high on its own chemicals of dopamine. The behavior of a normally sweet, kind, moral man turns to increasingly erratic and even dangerous behavior, in order to maintain the "high".
Just like any other addiction, the body build up tolerances, and the addict needs increasingly more stimulus. The addiction seeks to maintain itself (here's where Satan loves to use addiction against all people, especially believers) so the addict will lie, steal, cheat, argue, control, use anger to push you away, become extremely selfish and more. Once the addiction is admitted, and help is truly sought and maintained, the "original person" can be themselves again. But it is a life long recovery.
I've become a "lay person expert" on sex addiction, a disease no one wants to know about 🙁 It's a dark and painful disease, and so misunderstood, even by some "experts". Addicts deserve our compassion, and we deserve to focus all good efforts on ourselves.
When there is no remorse on the part of the addict, no acceptance that life has become unmanageable for them, they have not yet hit rock bottom. They can be in denial that their behavior affects anyone else. They can experience "compartmentalization" - where they see these two parts of their lives as being mutually exclusive, one not affecting the other. But nothing is further from the truth. Their sexual behavior leaks out into their every day lives, relationships and behaviors. It's impossible to keep their sexual behavior from interferring with their committed relationships.