I already wrote a post on how sex addiction has nothing to do with us, the partners, and another post about sex addiction is actually not about sex, either. Of course, if you’ve read anything else about sex addiction, you’ve probably heard that your partner was simply looking for a fix, and at some point in his life, started to abuse sex, either with himself or others, as a means of regulating emotions.
For my husband, this was around age eleven, when like many other non-addict boys and girls, he began to experiment with masturbation. But it quickly became something unlike healthy, happy preteens, teens, and adults experience. My husband comes from an abusive family. He had very bad self-esteem, even as a child, because of how he was treated by his parents. As a middle-schooler, he was bullied severely by his peers at school. And masturbating became his coping mechanism — at times, the only moments in his day or week where he felt good about himself, because of the rush of positive hormones that are released when through arousal and orgasm. By the time he was a college student, he had already been told by a mentor to whom he confided that he had a “compulsion.”
Dorothy Hayden, in her “Overview of Sexual Addiction,” on PsychCentral, writes:
Sex addiction, of course, has nothing to do with sex. Any sexual act or apparent “perversion” has no meaning outside of its psychological, unconscious context. What sets sex addiction apart from other addictions and makes it so persistent is that the subject of sex touches on our innermost unconscious wishes and fears, our sense of self, our very identity.
Every expert on sex addiction that I’ve come across agrees that sex addicts are deeply fearful, extremely insecure individuals. And this rings true from my own personal experience of sex addiction — limited though it may be — from learning about my husband.
Since discovering his infidelity and finding out he’s an addict, my husband and I have talked a lot about why he did this, and I am glad to say that he has been pretty humble and agreed to answer all of my questions.
He’s opened up about much that he was hiding before this. I knew he had bad self-esteem, and I knew he struggled with depression and anxiety. But until lately, I had no idea the absolutely abysmal level of worth he attributed to himself.
With his permission, in one of my next posts, I’m going to share in his own words how he felt about himself and why, in his twisted and sick, addicted mind, acting out sexually seemed to him at the time to be the way to “restore his equilibrium” and “feel normal,” which of course, never worked.