A word from the sex addict….

hi everyone-

It’s been awhile since D has written on this blog, but since the redbook article was posted, he’s expressed interest in putting out a few thoughts from the sex addict’s side of the street. Thought you’d all be interested…as always, take what is useful and leave the rest…

Wishing every one of you strength for the day,

B

D’s World (in his own words…):

I’m sick of sex.

I’m sick of all the hype.  I’m sick of all the discourse and discussion.  The onslaught of imagery and iconography.  The textures and tasteless programming that is constantly applied to my senses.  I’m sick of people constantly worrying about how its going to happen…with whom…and why.  The continual urge of my body to fulfill some sort of recycled brain chemistry.

And yet here we are with a website dedicated to it.  I am part of my own grief.  I suppose I should preface with saying I don’t write that often, but when I do its usually because things have reached a critical mass.  There are a lot of us out there that want answers.

I am an addict.  There is no other way to describe the last 15 years of my sexual journey.  I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who believe that “sex addicts” are just pricks who just want to have sex with as many people as possible because they “can”.   I will admit, there are people like that out there.  I am not one of them.  I am tortured by it.

Sex addiction is like heroin.   There have been plenty of studies to prove that during orgasm, a human brain is 95% identical to a junky hitting their first wave of a smack fueled release.   Look it up if you don’t believe me.  Those of us who are sex addicts know there is nothing even remotely wonderful about spending your grocery money on a prostitute.  That ball of shame and anguish you feel when you are sitting in your car again afterwards…crying into your steering wheel, wondering how things have gotten this bad and why you are such a fucked up degenerate.  You have trashed the values your hold dear, hurt the ones you love…and worst of all…you hate yourself.

Sound like a good time?  Its not.

 The argument that i did this because it was “fun” holds no water for me.  This is not the life I wanted, and I have spent my life savings, lost my friends, and spent countless hours being vulnerable about my shameful secrets to absolute strangers in support groups.

We are a society that is fueled by the possibility of sex or the fear of it and its problems.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the porn producer or the preacher’s pulpit.  We are obsessed and we have overdramatized this human condition.

Sex is not that important. 

I used to think that if I went days without masturbating my dick would fall off.   I used to think that if I didn’t have sex for a couple of weeks I would probably die.  Truth be told, the most content I ever was when I was sex free for a period of 6 months.  I found out that I existed beyond my genitals.  I had a name and a personality and it had very little to do with who I slept with.

Sex is nothing more than a genetic desire to procreate, to feel good, and to connect and bond with possible mating partners.  Think that sounds harsh?  Lets take another look at this.  If you were left alone in the wild with nothing but a pair of matches and a hatchet, what would your first thoughts be?  Would it be that you better find someone to hook up with?  The body would systematically shut down a lot of these urges because they would no longer be deemed “necessary” to survival.  You would be focused on shelter, food, warmth, safety, and the possibility of finding rescue.

It’s not that important.

If we continue to refuse biology in the examination of this “problem”, we are severely blindsided.  I wont deny that love is a core human need.  The need to be touched, listened to, held, appreciated, to care for and be cared for, but sex is actually a small portion of that.

When we were a new species on this earth, procreation was absolutely the best way of sustaining survivability.  We rolled the genetic dice and came up with new powerful ways of achieving an evolved progression against the forces that sought to destroy us.

But the earth is overpopulated now.  We have gone from needing an evolutionary/survival need to an emotional one.   And boy did we ever go crazy with this.  We invented a million different reasons why sex was the end all be all.  The piece de resistance of loves true center.  What a bunch of garbage.   If this sounds like sacrilege, then maybe you need to consider why you are on this website in the first place.  Do you or someone you know struggle with sexual dysfunction?  Is it possible that we have it all wrong?

My brain was fried at an early age.  Neurologist alike will agree “neurons that fire together wire together”.  Mix in a little early onset PTSD and you have a brain cocktail that is good to go for the rest of your adult life.  Some of us have severe brain damage, and our only way of shutting the system down and resetting it is through orgasm.  If you are a hardcore addict, you don’t even care how good the experience is…your just grateful its over..so you can start your day.  Through hard work, and careful maintenance you can overcome a lot of these situations, but it still begs the question, “why is this a thing?”

I implore all of us to dig deep and ask ourselves.  Have we as a culture completely overhauled our human sexual needs?  Are we living in a rat maze of fear and anxiety, a den of constant stress and confusion?  Sex activates a pleasure center so strong in our brain its no wonder why we want to continually experience it, but at what cost?

My only solution is desensitization.  And no I don’t mean staring at naked people all day long.  I refuse to participate in popular culture for this reason ALONE.  I don’t watch TV.  I don’t read magazines.  I don’t constantly fret about looking cool or trying on a new pair of jeans to see if my butt looks better in this pair or that pair.  It’s a futile waste of my time.  I have a wife, we have great sex when we feel like it, and I go back to things that really matter afterwards.

 

 

confronting the other woman….

99% of the time, my own experience has taught me that confronting the other woman is not usually a good idea. It can stir the pot, cause unneeded additional stress, stir up a ‘competition’ mentality, and the list of “pros” generally does not outweigh the potential downfalls of confronting the other woman.

However.

Since I have figured this out through trial and error, I can say that there are some times (in my opinion) that it is necessary and possibly beneficial to confront. Take what is useful and leave the rest, but here is a list of my greatest “hits.”

The Roommate:

I found out many months after she moved out that he was having an affair with her. Why, you might ask, in God’s green earth would I allow a female roommate? Keep in mind this was in my early 20s, I had ZERO grid for what sex addiction was, and I was in my own haze of eating disorder, exercise addiction, and prescription pill addiction. She texted me looking for my husband’s new phone number. I replied, “I know what you did. I know everything. I forgive you.” She didn’t reply. I figured that maybe guilting her would be more effective than starting a war. It seemed to work- we never heard from her again

The Co-Worker:

This one was more of a “fuck you bitch, how dare you start something with my husband, don’t ever let me see your face again, etc. etc.” Definitely cringe worthy in retrospect. My opinion on this is when you confront in anger, you incite the other woman to want to fight back. Woman who are into married men (and i speak from personal experience here, having been involved in my own intrigues with married men, are generally working through some sort of family of origin “mama trauma.” If you try to go toe to toe, you will probably end up with a pretty nasty situation.

The Family-Sanctioned Affair Partner:

His family knew about this one, and for awhile they thought they were “in love.” This was a disaster cocktail of phone calls, emails, and texts with her, with her saying on one hand “I’m sorry for the pain that this has caused you,” to “I’m very sorry this happened this way, but we are in love and will probably end up together if you guys don’t work it out.”

YUCK.

So back and forth we went- me sending her emails to PLEASE TAKE MY HUSBAND’S F-ING PICTURE OFF YOUR FACEBOK PAGE. Her calling me. Mess.

The one from years past…

I thought we were done with this one. I really did. After my trial and error, I had officially taken the position of “do not confront the other woman.” However, 10 years later, she popped up on Facebook commenting on a picture of him. I sent her a very nice email, where i said i wish her nothing but joy and happiness, and that i’d appreciate if she no longer posted comments or liked pictures of my husband. She replied with a snarky, “sure, no problem. best of luck to you dealing with your pain and the past.”

An apology would have been nicer….live & learn.

Anyone have experience confronting the other woman? Feel free to share!

We are featured on redbookmag.com!

Hi everyone,

I was going to do a post today about confronting the other woman, since that has recently become an issue I’ve chosen to deal with, BUT….we were interviewed by a wonderful gal from redbook who put our story on their website. I am so proud of the way she chose to portray us, & score one for an accurate depiction of sex addiction in the media! Would be so honored if you would check it out:

http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/advice/sex-addiction

Much love,
B

Sex & Vegetables

Happy New Year everyone! 2014…wow.

While I’m not big on new year’s resolutions (vehemently OPPOSED to them would be more accurate), I have decided that my goal for the next few months will be sex & vegetables.

And no, I have not gone batty.

The first year of recovery with my husband we had sex all the time. Disconnected, frantic, “I have to do it so he won’t act out” sex. My body knew things weren’t right- I kept getting UTIs and other assorted genital fun. That first year- too much of the wrong kind of sex.

The second year of recovery we stopped – cold turkey. My body went into full strike mode. If you haven’t heard of the term “Sexual Anorexia,” get the book by Patrick Carnes- immediately. The second year- not enough of the right kind of sex.

The third year of recovery something interesting happened- during the course of both of us working individual recovery plans with our own peer support & therapists, we decided that we needed to recalibrate our sexuality, and the only way to do that was a major detox- in other words, we quit having sex for 7 months. Intentionally. Mindfully.

And yes, we survived. No, his penis did not shrivel up and fall off. And no, my nether regions did not become a desolate wasteland. Quite the contrary- giving up sex allowed us to redefine what intimate sex looked like, how to connect as a couple, and how to connect with our bodies and emotions in a way that was not immediately sexualized.

And after relapses, 3 residential treatment stays, and countless hours of prayer, therapy, and wading through the muck, we have finally shifted into what could considered a “healthy” sex life.

I still do not love eating vegetables. I’m a junk food junkie. But I’ve come to appreciate a beautifully prepared veggie dish. I often avoid sex because I don’t want to do the work of being connected to my emotions, connected to my body, connected to my husband, etc….and sometimes, spacing out into fantasy land seems like a good idea.

but…

vegetables are necessary for a healthy body. Connected, healthy, intimate sex is important for a healthy marriage. Detox is essential for both.

(I also should add- my husband is phenomenal in bed. i suppose that’s the benefit of acting out sexually for so many years…at least now i am the beneficiary of all that experience. there is no lacking for O’s when he shows up…)

But I digresss….

sex & vegetables. there you have it. my goals for 2014.

What are yours?

The best & the worst of times…

Hi everyone. Here’s a quick list of some of the best and the worst moments I’ve had in the past few years on this journey. I’ve been to the bottom and back up the ladder. God has done miracle no doubt in my marriage, and I am grateful to Him. I am fortunate that I had a husband who chose recovery, and also had the resources to seek the best help available. I do not take this for granted.

The worst:

  • Discovering via text message that my husband was having an affair with my (then) best friend
  • Coming home from a group meeting and discovering another woman in my bed
  • My husband telling me that he wanted to be a sex addict and no longer wanted to be married to me (on our anniversary)
  • Leaving my home, my job, and moving 1500 miles away to sort through the nuclear wreckage that had become my life
  • Almost getting fired because I had lost hours of time snooping on my husband’s activities
  • Calling one of the “other women” who told me that she intended to marry my husband and that they were “in love”

The best:

  • The moment when he realized he needed and wanted help and chose to go into residential treatment
  • Our 10 year anniversary when we got rid of our old bed (he had many affair partners in it) and bought a new one
  • The day we moved into a home and purchased furniture. The furniture represented stability- for the past 5 or so years I had to pick up and move out on very short notice, and thought I’d never be able to have a “normal” living environment
  • The day I realized that God loved me, my husband, and my marriage
  • The amazing women I have met on this journey
  • When I started looking at how I ended up in this relationship, I went on a journey of self-discovery that led to recovery from an eating disorder, ability to enjoy sex for the first time in my life, and a healthy relationship with my body
  • The day I realized that I once again cared to “be pretty” and put on makeup, take showers, and get dressed
  • The day that I realized I no longer thought daily about the searing pain that was ripping through my body
  • The moment I realized that I didn’t have to compulsively snoop on my husband
  • Typing out this list and realizing I can type “the worst moments of my marriage” without re-experiencing those moments in their horrendous entirety.

 

 

 

maybe the media finally got it right?

I’m definitely intrigued. Gwyneth Paltrow as a partner of a sex addict? 12 step meetings that show this addiction is actually legit? I’m skeptical about this movie…but hopeful…

Video

Will we ever have sex again?

Hey everyone! It’s been a CRAZY few weeks running around getting the new office ready (yay!). Thanks to everyone for posting questions and sharing their experiences. It’s such an amazing feeling to know we are not crazy and not alone!

I wanted to throw out a quick post for today – One of the Alice in Wonderland characters (i think it was the white queen?) said something to the effect of, “I try to do 6 impossible things before breakfast.”

It’s past lunchtime now, but here’s a list of 6 things that are currently part of my life.  If you had asked me 5 years ago, I would have said all of these things were totally, utterly, undeniably impossible. With God and a LOT of hard work, all things are possible.

1. I have sex with my husband without picturing all the people he’s been with.

2. I enjoy sex. It’s still complicated, and there are times when it doesn’t work. But there are other times when it does. And when it works, it works well.

3. I do not snoop. I want to. I am still compelled to. But i do not look at my husband’s phone, computer, or receipts. The compulsion is not as strong as it used to be.

4. I have girlfriends. After discovering that my husband had sex with several of my good friends, I swore off having girl friends or having anything to do with women. I have good friends now that I enjoy. I still do not feel comfortable being around my girlfriends and my husband at the same time, but I can say that I have a group of women that I enjoy spending time with.

5. I eat what I want when I want to without bingeing or restricting. Part of my shutting down with the sex addiction was controlling what went in my mouth. I alternated between overeating and restricting. In a world where i had NO control over my SA, I coped by developing a variety of eating disorders- binge eating disorder in the beginning prior to the sexual disclosures, and then anorexia after. I haven’t stepped on a scale in nearly 5 years now, at the doctor’s office i stand on the scale backwards, and i can eat pretty much anything without a constant ticker tape of calorie counts going through my head. You will never hear me use the words “I’m being bad” or “I’m being good” when it comes to food.

6. A brand new, fully functioning, non-exploding or overheating vehicle. Somehow, despite the thousands of dollars of debt with counseling, rehab, moving, losing jobs, crossing states, and doing school, we have been blessed with a new 2013 Nissan Juke. Having NEVER had a car that i could guarantee would turn on when the key was inserted, this is a big deal to me. Even though it doesn’t exactly have anything to do directly with sex addiction, neglecting myself, my body, AND my finances have been collateral damage from dealing with the addiction. Recovery has also meant financial recovery. And it is a huge blessing. Just wanted to share.

Guest Post- a look at sex addiction from the addict’s lens

The below post is from a male sex addict who found this blog and bravely has been willing to share a piece of his own journey. Generally i think men who struggle with sex addiction take a beating in the media and in mainstream culture, especially from people who label them as perverted, evil, “typical men,” or whatever. For us (DB), our recovery has been fueled by understanding shame and the effects of shame. For D, shame is what began his cycle into madness, and only after acknowledging the shame, the source of the shame, the needs underlying the shame, and owning his choices did he begin to find serenity and sanity.

The piece below paints a picture of a tormented inner world. I admit I was definitely triggered by reading it, so if you are brand new to this process please proceed with caution!!!!!!

I can easily see this being written by an alcoholic, with the description of “the woman” being replaced with a description of the ice cubes clinking in the glass, the sound of the jack daniels being poured out, and the feel of the first sip. It takes a lot of courage to be honest, and I encourage everyone here to read his story, check out his blog, and even if you disagree with some of the ideas expressed, consider the point of view of this SA. This is not a story of excuses, but a story intended to communicate some of the feelings associated with being a sex addict. You can check out his blog here:

http://deadtosinaliveinchrist.com/

Tormented Heart and the Narrow Pathway Home

 It’s a cold night. The air, it cuts straight to the bone. It feels just like my my heart, cold. Frost bitten, numb. I need something…something to stir it to life, something to make me feel alive. Walking along this lonely cold path, my mind wonders how I could feel so alone when there are so many people around me. Why can I not enjoy whatever happiness they do? Is there such a thing? Is there such a thing of true contentment? My wife is waiting for me at home but she doesn’t fill this emptiness inside me. There has to be more. Right now only one thing can stir any life into this stale heart.

She is never tired and never has a headache. She waits for me tirelessly. Stunning is her beauty. When I look at her, nothing else matters. My care slips away as my eyes become fixed to her inviting form. Just when I begin to tire of what I see, she transforms. She becomes older or younger, pale or tanned, clothed or unclothed. She becomes whatever. Sweet or sinister. She just wants me to feel like a man. To feel the carnal, animal impulse that is only natural because after all, thats what men are. Animals right? It’s not my fault nature made me this way is it? I shake my head as it becomes heavy looking over at the clock. 4am? Where did the time go? Hands tired from all the clicking of the mouse, stomach growling with hunger, kids sleeping, wife dreaming, me…….sinking. This is hell.

Dispair

Dispair

She was supposed to make me feel better. She promised she would. But now I feel more drained, more empty, more alone. How did she wound me? I was watching her the whole time. Soft, subtle, sly woman! How carefully have you guided me. Directed your movements to ensnare my eyes and capture my heart. You have made me a prisoner in my mind with your image. When I am weak you persistently wedge yourself into my thoughts. You bring me back home where your arsenal awaits to inflict more harm upon me. You never relent. So what escape do I have? How do I find a path where you do not exist in this world? To your enjoyment and to my utter torment, no such path exists, not here in this world. It belongs to you and your father. You seek to lure men like me into your snare with your beauty. You promise us the best experience with just one more image, but the ultimate you promise…I’ve never found and you fail to provide. You’ve convinced me that she is still out there. That if I search harder, look longer, then, maybe then I’ll find what I’m looking for. Again, what hope is there for me to find a path where you don’t exist?

The path isn’t found in this world. The narrow path is hard to find and difficult to stay on. But this path…Oh how different it is! I have found this path and though I find myself far from it at times, the promises made by it are true and sweet and fulfilling! The path, the narrow path is small indeed. But where it is the most narrow, there is the most joy! Where there is the least worldly pleasure, there is the greatest heavenly pleasure. Oh this path…it leads to my home where my father waits. He sees me coming from a long, long, long way off and I see him. By him I know my way home. When I look away I fall off the path. But my father is long-suffering. As my drunkenness from her temptation fades, my vision becomes clear and I once again find the pathway home. The glorious feelings I experience here! The trees that line this path are unwaveringly strong. Their leaves so bright and the light on the path too radiant for my human eyes! There is no loneliness here. Inches away however, if I look to the right or to my left…dread is right there. Just beyond the bounds of this narrow road, she waits. Ready to shower me with shattered dreams, broken promises, a broken heart and an empty, lost soul.

Street sweeping & sex addiction

I passed my exam! I get to be an LMSW! That has definitely been one of the gifts of the addiction….but this post isn’t about how awesome life is…it’s about how I can , in the midst of D’s consistent sobriety & good changes in life, STILL be such an emotional wreck at times.

Changes/transitions are never easy for me. Even if the changes are good (graduating from my master’s program, opening up my practice, D being sober), change makes my insides wretch a little, which kickstarts my auto-pilot response of snooping, disconnecting from my body, restricting food, and generally feeling like I’m floating on the ceiling rather than living in my 33 year old grown woman’s body.

I know that I can’t cause, control, or cure the sex addiction. I’ve come to that conclusion through years of work & I’ve made peace (sort of) with it. However…

While I can’t manage or manipulate the “3 C’s” of addiction (cause, control, cure), I can definitely CONTRIBUTE to the CRAZY CHAOS that comes with CHANGE. I don’t want to add crazy or chaos to my home. I want to be able to maintain peace, serenity, my OWN sobriety, and keep my side of the street clean while allowing D to manage his.

That is a tall order.

I “notice” things as a partner of a sex addict that most people wouldn’t. Kind of like a 6th sense…a superpower of sorts….i can always tell if he hasn’t slept, hasn’t taken his meds, I can tell (without even thinking about it) when the lotion has been used, when the car has been driven, & when he is oh-so-slightly making sure his cell phone isn’t left around. This isn’t even me actively snooping- years of codependent behavior have left me more observant of clues in the house that “all is not well.”

Does this mean he’s acting out? Not necessarily- the lotion could be due to the incredibly dry weather, the car could have been driven for any number of reasons, it is not my job to manage his meds, & he could be guarding his cell phone b/c he knows that one of my “crazy-making behaviors” is snooping. Could he be acting out? That possibility must always be considered.

So what’s the point of this ramble? My point is that NO MATTER WHAT is going on on the other side of the street, my job is to focus on my self-care, give myself food, sleep, water, and friendships, pray and release my will to the care of God, pray for D, and to focus on one day at a time, one minute at a time, & not try to run across the street and try to manage what’s over there, because inevitably that does NOT end up working out.

I started the day by journaling (haven’t done that in awhile), laundry (same), & making sure i ate some food (it wasn’t very healthy, but it was something). For me, the ‘next right thing’ to do was get on this blog and start typing. The next right thing will be to pet my dogs, take a breath, thank God for my life, and figure out what the next right thing is.

And so the journey continues….thank you all for being part of this story, and hope your day is full of peace & serenity!

-B

Prostitutes, pills, & test prep

Hey everyone. Thanks for all your comments, insights, and for sharing your experience, strength, & hope. I can’t tell you how much it encourages my heart, and it is truly an honor to be connected with everyone here.

Just wanted to pop in to say for the next 5 weeks, I am going to be completely buried under a mountain of paperwork in preparation for the LMSW exam. I can’t believe my graduate school program is nearly over, and now the prospect of taking the licensure exam is freaking me out. Life is feeling really overwhelming, and today D and I sat down to discuss how edgy we both were feeling.

Even five years into recovery, the conversation still seems odd.

He verbalized his current struggle to not seek out a prostitute or same sex interaction, I was able to share my intimacy struggles and how I just want to check out completely and shut down sexually (except for self-service) and restrict eating and disappear back into a xanax haze. The honesty and lack of shame that was part of that conversation was wild to me. Granted, it’s easier to digest information on the front end and not after the fact, and we both have learned that these brutally honest and vulnerable conversations are part of our relationship self-care, but the whole thing still seems surreal. We’re both sober though, so that helps encourage me that we are doing something right (today).

Prostitutes, anorexia, masturbation, and meds is not what I would have chosen for a ‘sunday dinner topic,’ but I feel truly fortunate that at this point, we can both be fully present to the the reality of our scary coping strategies. What a wild ride this recovery journey has been.

In the meantime, I probably won’t be posting much until this exam is over, but I just wanted to say again how much I am blessed by everyone who has stopped by, commented, or contacted us. I continue to pray for all the hurting hearts out there, and would appreciate prayer for us as we head into a new adventure. I hope to report back with good news in a few weeks.

Until then…

B

 

 

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