When you’re working through recovery from something like porn or sex addiction, depending on how deeply rooted that addiction is, it forces you to confront a number of different dynamics in all aspects of your life. Many people who do this difficult healing work are a blessing to others because they’re forced to face down so many issues, as often they have experienced a great deal of personal transformation. One of the important areas we look at in our therapy with those struggling with these addictions is attachment, something that we went into in detail back in episodes 251 to 254.
The road to discovering your spouse’s sexual addiction takes many forms. Sometimes, compulsive sexual behavior can be completely hidden for years before it is found out. It may happen as a single, devastating revelation or as a series of smaller discoveries.
Shame is such a powerful emotion. The problem is, it can lead to seemingly contradictory behavior, particularly in the context of addiction. Shame’s close relationship with pornography consumption can cause porn addicts to fall into cycles of shame over their addiction, followed by giving into their addiction, followed by more shame.
When I work with married guys who want to break their porn habit they generally fall into one of two categories. Either their wife already knows or else she has no idea at all. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a husband whose wife knows but doesn’t care if he stops or not. In any case, if you’re in that latter category and you know you need to disclose this problem to your wife then today’s episode is for you.
Today is a difficult episode about the hardcore realities of the pornography industry. How is this marriage related? Well, pornography is a leading cause of divorce nowadays and one of the myths that we need to debunk as we fight this cancer is that viewing porn is a victimless activity.
I’ve run across a number of couples lately — mainly younger couples — who are watching X-rated movies or pornography in order to “spice up their sex life”. It is not uncommon in our world to think that pornography has something to offer your marriage, but today, we’re going to take a look at what the research says porn really does for, or, more precisely, to your marriage. Continue reading
I recently completed 4 and a half days of training on the assessment and treatment of sex addiction. You might be thinking “I’m not a sex addict so this isn’t relevant”, but I’d encourage you to listen to this week’s podcast regardless because we’ll also talk a lot about what healthy sexuality looks like in this show. There’ll be plenty of food for thought whether this is an issue in your marriage or not.
Suggesting that it is possible to porn-proof your marriage may appear to be preposterous. Porn is so prevalent in 2017 that it may be simply impossible to prevent yourself from seeing and coming into contact with pornography. However, what if you could build a marriage relationship and a shared worldview where pornography was not even attractive?
Peggy* wrote in to ask about sexual addiction and its effects on marriage. She writes,
First, I think your plans for traveling for a year sounds awesome! What an exciting adventure to undertake. Your family will be in my prayers that you will only experience slight bumps in the road and have a wonderful family bonding time!
I love the podcasts and feel so lucky to have found you. I think the first one I listened to was something on infidelity.
I’m wondering if you might consider doing a podcast on sexual addiction. While the effects on a marriage are similar to infidelity there’s a deeper undercurrent with it. I knew there was something off in our relationship and questioned if my husband was having an affair, he always answered “no,” so I just thought he was a workaholic along with the impact of binge drinking. Finally, in the depths of his addiction he began receiving texts messages and phone calls that tipped me off.
Sexual addiction has a broad range of activities from porn and beyond. My husband’s issue started with pornographic magazines back in the 70’s and escalated to going to bars for lap dances. It basically followed the invasive changes that sexual addictions has taken in our society and how accepted it has become. The attitude of” boys will be boys” doesn’t help but speaks to the maturity level of some men in the American culture. He was taken with being desired by other women and became infatuated with several but insists he never loved them only me. I still deal with the hurt and pain that he could break our marriage vows and the years of deceit and lying. I really don’t feel I was acting co-dependently in this because I was asking if something was wrong and we consulted several marriage counselors over the years. He admits he wasn’t honest with them also.
I have listened to many podcasts and YouTube’s on this topic. I feel that Marsha Means and Barbara Steffens approach to looking at the PTSD or PISD (post infidelity stress disorder) it causes for the spouse has truly helped me. Plus I accept that this addiction is rooted in an intimacy disorder. Many “experts” support divorce but I chose not to take that path because of my religious beliefs. So I was wondering if you might look at the issues of sexual addictions from a perspective of staying in the marriage.
Thanks so much, Peggy*
PS I have to admit I love both of your laughs! Keep up the great work!
Betrayal is such a ground-shaking event. Probably because it so deeply challenges your beliefs about someone incredibly significant in your life, and that, in turn, challenges your beliefs about yourself. So: what does the road forward, after betrayal, look like?