“It could involve sex with a partner, but it may also mean activities such as viewing pornography, masturbation, visiting prostitutes or using sex chat lines,” it explains, claiming that while for most people such habits don’t cause problems, sex addicts are unable to control these urges and actions.
Causes can of course be more complex, while for some – a fast-growing number, according to Hall – it’s simply opportunity-induced.
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The reality for most partners I see is that they experience phenomenal shock.” The damage to self-esteem, she continues, isn’t just about the sexualised behaviour, such as visits to prostitutes that partners never knew about.
It’s the fact that they’ve lived with someone so long and had no idea.
Sex addiction for a partner brings up feelings of ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘He doesn’t want me’, but it’s not about the sex, it’s about the dopamine fix.
Once they understand the nature of the addictive drive, sometimes they’re able to move into self-care.” Rosendale’s anecdotal research reveals that a third of those partners seeking help decide to stay in the relationship, while a further third leave and the final third “remain stuck”.
I felt that meant the risk of relapse was too great, so I left.
In a society where marriage has been held up as the ideal, they misunderstand how those who’ve never married, or who are widowed or divorced, experience living alone.
“The reality of the Western world today means you can find anything you desire easily and anonymously.
Indeed, you can find a whole load of stuff you don’t desire, but get hooked nonetheless,” she says.
Rosendale starts each 12-week support group by educating the women about sex addiction.