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Is “Sex Addiction” Real?


The other day the comments on “Pain Shopping” got off on a tangent about sex addiction. Gee, I’ve been wanting to discuss that for awhile.

Apparently, the lovely blameshifting term “pain shopping” comes from sex addiction therapists.

Thanks guys. Here’s a term back-atcha: “Bullshit.”

The sex addiction model goes: if you’re partnered with a serial cheater, hey, you just need to reframe that. It’s not that they don’t want to keep in their pants, it’s that they’re helpless in the face of their addiction. It’s going to take a Higher Power and a lot of 12-step to stay faithful to you. So, just wait patiently for the poor sausage to detox.

See, they’re coping with their pain through their drug of choice, sex. There are probably some complicated FOO issues going on. The skein will take some time and expense to untangle. Relapse is likely. Understandable even. Stay the course, chumps, because your addict needs you!

Fact is, your average hopium-filled chump will cling to a diagnosis like “sex addiction,” because now this senseless fucking around has a name. It’s a condition. Better yet, it’s a condition that requires your support. (Chumps are great at support! This is our wheelhouse!)

So why am I skeptical of sex addiction?

1) It seems like a handy label to absolve cheaters from responsibility. Hey, I’m not an asshole, I have a disease. Addiction is a disease! (Actually, even addiction isn’t considered a brain disease by a lot of prominent neuroscientists.)

Our brains learn to like pleasure. The more you reinforce pleasure, the more the brain learns to wire itself that way. But it’s not a disease. Marc Lewis, PhD a developmental neuroscientist explains it thus:

 In fact, each highly rewarding experience builds its own network of synapses in and around the nucleus accumbens (NAC), and that network sends a signal to the midbrain: I’m anticipating x, so send up some dopamine, right now! That’s the case with romantic love, Paris, and heroin. During and after each of these experiences, that network of synapses gets strengthened: so the “specialization” of dopamine uptake is further increased. London just doesn’t do it for you anymore. It’s got to be Paris. Pot, wine, music…they don’t turn your crank so much; but cocaine sure does. Physical changes in the brain are its only way to learn, to remember, and to develop. But we wouldn’t want to call learning a disease.

2) Unlike addiction to drugs or alcohol, no one gets the delirium tremors if they don’t get laid. You’re not going to go through withdrawal. You might be a moody son-of-a-bitch, but you’re certainly not going to go into cardiac arrest if you quit fucking hookers.

3) Similar to the Reconciliation Industrial Complex (RIC), there seems to be a money-making therapy business built around “sex addiction.” What they both have in common? Keeping chumps chumpy.

It’s the way a diagnosis of sex addiction is used to somehow absolve men and women (though mostly men) of all responsibility for their actions that is, in my opinion, the most malign feature of the sex addiction industry. Many of the true believers reject all the science and research that confronts their theories and work desperately to find ways to justify foolish, self-destructive choices and sexual behaviours. They blame these choices on neurochemicals, porn, a history of sexual abuse and myriad other factors, all of which can help us to understand how and why people make the choices they do, but none of which, ultimately, takes away control or personal responsibility.

Yes, let’s talk about that personal responsibility. A cheater who calls themselves a “sex addict” may have a host of real mental conditions that require years of therapy. I’m not saying they don’t — I’m questioning why the hell chumps should stick around while they work that out? As I’ve said about sex addiction on this blog before, it doesn’t matter what flavor of fucked up it is — GET AWAY FROM IT. It’s either okay with you that your partner fucks around on you or it’s not. There is no middle path of supporting them while they learn how not to fuck around on you. That’s just another form of cake eating.

And dear God, do you want a partner that needs a monogamy 12-step? Don’t you deserve better than a partner who must do the Serenity Prayer to be faithful to you?

IMO, people fuck around because THEY LIKE IT. (Addicts get high for the same reason. It feels good. It works.) What do sex addicts have in common with other addicts? They’ll lie and manipulate to get their fix.

I think you all have better things to do with your life than wait for a “sex addict” to get sober.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • “I’m questioning why the hell chumps should stick around while they work that out? ”

    5% cure rate; same as narcissism.

    Not good odds. Run.

        • LOL! 🙂

          nah, I don’t even believe there is 5%, more likely 0.00001%. Just saying 😉

          • Even at 100% recovery, no one has the right to put my life at risk even once. Double bullshit excuse for self centered.

          • I’m thinking 5% cure rate is maybe a statistical error since the sample size of freaks being treated is sort of low.

            • Let’s define ‘cure’. Is it one day, month, year, or decade of not cheating? Who is doing the follow up? Who is answering the question “How long has it been since you last cheated on someone?” If it’s the cheater lying (err answering)?

              Oh yeah, that’s some solid data…

            • Actually IF they got decent data, the sample size would be huge for Sex Addiction Twelve Step programs. (I think porn use and paying for phone sex. internet sex etc is even more common than cheating and/or paying for ‘live’ sex.) Every major city in North America has multiple groups and specialized therapists and co-dependency groups for the spouses ….

              Now, getting decent data, that is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish ….

              • as I said somewhere … those aren’t anecdotes; it’s small-batch artisanal data 😉

              • I think he tried the twelve step program

                I left out the other 12 he failed.

              • KarenE so glad you listed all those other forms of ‘sex addiction’. Ex had the full range from day (the affairs prostitutes came later but who knows?) and other addictions alcohol, himself, drugs. I look back and can’t believe I stuck around through it all. At the beginning 15 years ago with all the porn and chat lines drink drugs etc I think I was naive. On D day 6 years ago I was ready to file but set up the wrong sort of mediator. Instead of mediating for divorce I got mediation for reconciliation. And I got the blame I got sex addiction i got suckered in. With no firm support and 6 months pregnant I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. The reconciliation industry sex addiction therapy industry has a lot to answer for. I stayed in an impossible marriage with gangster level gaslighting and when I needed third party help to get the hell out. I was told it was my fault. Still traumatised. Now I’m over a year into divorce battle all because he wants to crucify me and the children after walking out on us.
                But at least he is gone.

        • Lol!!! I like what you did there, Ashley. Never a bad time for a Dumb and Dumber quote!

          Would it be accepted if I claimed to have a movie quoting addiction and only spoke in one-liners from my favorite comedies?

          Seems legit….

    • That 5% cure rate is totally false. There is absolutely no data to support even that much recovery. How sad is that? A 5% recovery rate is too high.

      • I tend to agree. It’s more likely that 5% learn how to hide their cheating better and so appear “cured.” Or maybe–maybe–that given the passage of enough time (DECADES) a small percentage of folks age out of their manic sexual behaviors.

          • Like the car salesmen always say, “there’s an ass for every seat.”

            Endless supply of Schmoopies too !!!

    • Exquisitively put Tempest! My now-x (and I use x in the lower case…deliberately), is what I thought a sex addict – except he didn’t want it with me. Now I realize the great I AM, is really just a “i wish i was”.
      Post Script: my Divorce papers have been finalized – I picked them up at the courthouse yesterday. Thank you so much Chump Nation for motivation and support.

      • Congrats Boudica Reborn! I also am going to be picking up my freedom papers! Feels SO good!

      • Congrats, Boudica! It is a huge relief (I’m 13 days out from my divorce being finalized)!

        • 13 days Tempest – waay hay! 😀 Decree Nisi is set for 26th March for me – then 6 weeks later – all done. dusted and assigned to ‘the terrible nightmare’ pile for me!

          • I’ll have champagne on hand March 26th to toast your freedom from The Great I Am, Jayne!

          • The 26th March would have been my 39th anniversary. Please have a drink or sip for me too ladies!!

            • I’ll raise a glass to you Maree and to us all! Health, wealth, peace and happiness and congratulations for weathering the storm! xx

          • Freedom day for me falls on the same date he got a hotel with his druggie whore last year,May 18th. When I look back I realize what I thought was the worst year of my life was necessary to truly gain my life back. This journey helped my realize how to set boundaries and to trust myself. Being discarded made me finally face the pain and fears and gave me the clarity I needed to file. It is a great comfort to know it does get better.

            • By my estimate Decree Absolute should be done somewhere mid May too – so I’ll be raising a glass with you too Donna 😀 Health, wealth, peace and happiness to us both! x

    • I’ve read just about everything out there available. Attended the program for partners of sex addicts, which was quite depressing, didn’t help me. Stumbled across this site, and after almost four years living with a sex addict (irresponsible, selfish, narcissistic, sociopath), this site is right on target!! Keep up the good work. Laughter is the best medicine. I have left the piece of shit, and found the beautiful woman I allowed him to destroy. Best to you all. I do hope you find peace within, and move on with living life fully!

  • Agreed with all.

    Thankfully, my STBX never claimed to be a sex addict…he’s more likely A-sexual & just a regular awkward skeezy weirdo. BUT I’ve heard the sex addict garb too much in the media and I call bullshit.
    You’re not facing an actual physical or mental dependency issue, you just like sex. Hell, so do I. But my love of sex doesn’t make me hurt innocent people, fool a dedicated person into committing to me while I act promiscuously or call up male gigalos to pleasure me in the ten minutes I’m alone during my day. No, that would be my selfishness, entitlement and lack of conscience….which would make me a narcissist, a sociopath and/or any other host of personality disorders that revolve around lack of empathy and lack of accountability.

    • I believe mine threw that term around once but that’s about it. He pretty much hid everything, not even sure how much or how often he watched porn. If he was doing it very much he was doing it from his phone. As I said before though…. I did find a link to a “hidden” forum in Craig’s List on his Ipad awhile back…. and I’m with you TBJamie… my love of sex doesn’t include the desire for random partners or getting it anywhere I can and risking inflicting destruction and pain on my partner as well as my children. When I was younger and single and a little more wild…. I still never had multiple partners, even at that point and under wilder circumstances I had a conscience about putting myself and other people at risk.

  • Call me cynical but I believe it’s partially a construct of the insurance industry

    . If your insurance provides mental health benefits, you may be eligible for a whole host of benefits because you have a now have a behavioral addiction. Your can go away, be contrite, be rehabilitated and resume your career and probably your shenanigans too, shortly after

    It happens in politics and the corp world a lot.

    I’m not a believer.

    However I do have a serious Girl Scout cookie. problem. Insurance doesn’t cover it

    • I know! Thank goodness those little girls in green touting carbs-in-a-box are only doing so 6 weeks of the year.

    • I’m all for self medicating with cookies. And milk. Carbs and dairy product addiction!

      • And for a mother like me, who has been selling those f*cking cookies for 21 years at my calculation, thanks you dearly… If I never see another GS cookie it will be too soon.

        • I always buy 5-6 boxes and give them to my ball players (after extricating a few Thin Mints.) I remember the days when we all sold door to door in a little town and I’m sure there were people who bought a box from every Girl Scout. So I am paying in forward for as long as their are cookies and I am alive…

      • I’m going to put an unpopular opinion out here, but there is a point so bear with me. I had an eating disorder when I was in HS/early college. It is an addictive, compulsive behavior and it does tand quite a bit if help to stop along with a true desire to change the pattern. (Not to be gross, but you clearly need help when you can’t will yourself out of binging on over 100 dollars of junk food and throwing it all up only to be compelled to do the same thing the next day.)

        I can believe there such a thing as sex addiction. That said, I DO NOT think its the partner’s job to eat repeated shit sandwiches, endure repeated betrayals, etc. just to prove their love for their spouse. Also, I doubt it helps the sex addict curtail their acting out If society tells them that acting out should somehow be tolerated. The message should be: you aren’t capable of being the partner your spouse needs. You need to do the right thing and leave so that they can work on getting their life back. That would be real love, not grasping cake eating. From what I’ve seen on here, though, most sex addicts are probably also narcissists. They would never walk away from a good supply when their only motive would be to do right by someone else.

        In short, addiction doesn’t excuse hurting others and others should not be expected to tolerate it.

        • I can totally buy that. I do believe that people can become truly addicted to ANYTHING. Food, video games, sex, booze, drugs, gambling, collecting things, and so on. I believe this because there are a few addicts in my family. Two of them stopped drinking, completely. Only now they are addicted to something else (food and healthy nuttery respectively). The new addiction is less destructive, but they are just as compelled just the same.

          I think some people are just more susceptible mentally to addiction issues and behaviors. We all have things that we really like, but for some reason people with addictive type personalities just ramp that up to unreasonable levels.

          But. I still agree with Chump Lady.

          I don’t think for one second you should stay with anyone who abuses you so they can get their fix of what ever their addiction of choice is. I wouldn’t want to stay married to someone who gambled away my retirement, or couldn’t stop fucking the neighbors, or filled my home to the roof with beanie babies. That person is just saying in a nutshell, “me and what I want and what makes me feel good is more important than you. And I don’t care if you get hurt”. And who the hell wants to live with someone that selfish?

          • Agreed. I think it’s ultimately up to the person with addictive tendancies to keep tabs on things. Unfortunately it’s often easier to blame others instead of acknowledging your own issues. That’s what many addicts tend to do.

          • Yes, I didn’t understand addiction before I became addicted to my prescription of Adderral and the dopamine release it provided. The drug was making me “tweaked” and I started a skin picking compulsion that was absolutely horrifying. I knew everything was wrong and I still took it anyway. I did a lot of damage to my relationships, my face, and my employment history before I was able to stop. I hated it, and I did it anyway. I loved the dopamine, the feeling of clarity (which was a mirage), the way I could dissassociate and even feel a high when I picked at my skin.

            I apologize for grossing anyone out, I just wanted to share that anyone is susceptible to the chemical tricks of dopamine. A lot of the things our cheaters do also gross me out. The idea of prostitutes, weird and dangerous sexual situations etc.

            We cannot allow ourselves to be hurt by them, but it helps just a little bit to think that it wasn’t personal, they truly have some sort of problem.

            I actually never caught my first narcissistic x cheating, and it’s possible he didn’t. Our relationship ended because he was psychologically, verbally, and sometimes physically abusive. Once I moved on, I never wasted much time feeling angry, because I know something is very wrong in his head and he didn’t choose to be that way.

            I am really upset that the second x did some of the things he did and lied. It hurts. But I hope to get to a point with it where I can also learn to not take it personally. He is a functional drug addict, alcoholic, gambler, and he cheats for the thrill of the bluff. Winning the game by not showing your partner your cards. There is a high involved with that too.

            The only way I can begin to understand him is to think about what I was doing with the Adderral. It was turning me into a huge jerk and I was disfiguring myself. I am finally to the point where the idea of it is repulsive and I do not seek it out (fill a prescription), but I fear if it was in front of me, I might stick it in my mouth and swallow.

            • Jen, this was a really honest, candid and thoughtful post, thank you. The empathy you obviously have because you know what it is to ‘have fallen’ is what makes chumps of us. We give passes because we know life is hard and we too have made mistakes, so we put up with the compulsive behaviours and the lies and the deceits because we remember times when we weren’t perfect. Thing is though Jen – were you picking at your lovers skin? were you telling your lover that they were evil people for objecting to you picking at their skin? Were you asking your lover ‘what do you mean I’m picking at your skin – no I’m not’! or – ‘you are my lover, I’m entitled to pick at your skin’. I’m sure you didn’t Jen, just as I’m equally sure you would be actively seeking help with your compulsion if you were to find yourself knowingly being compelled to hurt your lover. I’m sure about this Jen because you are a Chump and empathy made you a Chump and empathy would stop you letting your compulsions keep hurting the people you love.

              • Thank you Jayne, I am trying really hard to work my way through this, and I can’t believe he is a bad person who wants to hurt me. But he was hurting me and I can’t stand there and take it anymore.

                The Adderral thing was a suprise. I started taking it (by prescription) at 39 and stopped completely for the last time about three months ago. The last two years it was clearly the cause of my skin picking compulsion, (it came on over time and stress and lack of control in my life) but I continued to take it anyway, thinking if I could achieve perfect skin, all would be well.

                Some of that ridiculousness chased my “lover” away. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing, as I am really done with his compulsions too. But I just don’t have the heart to say either of us are bad people. We are tragically flawed like a Greek play. I do not want him near me if he is going to hurt me anymore, but I can’t bring myself to hate him. The skin stuff did hurt him. I worked for him and all his employees thought I was nuts. I wasn’t trying to hurt him and he wasn’t trying to hurt me. Dopamine in excessive amounts is a dangerous chemical.

                So he doesn’t get a pass, I’m just saying sometimes people do really strange things for chemical reasons. I can recognize that certain chemicals were turning me into a full blown asshole. I want to change that, so I stopped ingesting (or creating a situation) that led to the secretion of said chemical.

                I still love him, but I do not want to participate in the pain of his situation either. I am walking away for my good and his. I do not scar myself anymore physically and I am walking away from the senario that was scarring me emotionally. I am done. I wish him health.

            • Thank you for sharing this, Jen. Very brave of you. 🙂
              We’ve all got our secrets and things we’ve done that we aren’t proud of. Good for you for getting past yours and sharing your experience with us.

  • “IMO, people fuck around because THEY LIKE IT.”

    Exactly! in a nut shell! I am so sick of hearing this sex addiction bullshit!

    The way I look at it, they can go fuck around, but without us in their lives to put up with their shit! Let their fuck partners, take care of them, the chores, the finances and whatever…and their addiction!

    PS: Great post Tracy!!

  • “Similar to the Reconciliation Industrial Complex (RIC), there seems to be a money-making therapy business built around “sex addiction.” What they both have in common? Keeping chumps chumpy.” The sex addiction therapy business is a HUGE money maker and what makes it even more heinous is most of the CSATs (Certified Sex Addiction Therapists) are themselves “sex addicts” or “former sex addicts” who are making money off of the trauma of partners and in the process further traumatizing them by labeling them co-addicts or co-dependents. The standard advice given to partners of “sex addicts” is to stay in the marriage for AT LEAST a year to support the addict AKA the abuser and of course admitting their “role” in the addiction is required as well. WTF?! IMO, having a “sex addict” or “recovered/recovering sex addict” counsel the partner of a “sex addict” is akin to allowing a “former” rapist to counsel a rape victim.

    There is a movement afoot to change the co-addict/co-dependent model led by Dr. Omar Minwalla in Los Angeles. Other options for partners include Partners of Sex Addicts Resource Center (POSARC), the Married to a Sex Addict web site and the Sisterhood of Support (SOS) web site. I am a member of SOS and we regularly refer our members to your blog and to Dr. George Simon as well. Like you, we are firm believers that this is NOT an addiction but the result of various personality disorders. Treating it as an addiction is really just excusing the behavior. Guilting the partner into tolerating the intolerable in the hope of recovery is just plain wrong. No one “recovers” from a personality disorder. You can learn to live with someone who has one but you should go into it with your eyes wide open about what you’re dealing with and not with the mistaken notion that you are somehow to blame and are responsible for fixing it.

    • “no one “recovers” from a personality disorder”….Thank you – exactly what I needed to hear. I agree that the diagnosis of sex-addict should not exist; more fitting would be addictive personality disorder. Again – “no one “recovers” from a personality disorder”. End of story!

      • I think there’s a difference between people who realize they have a tendency to deal with emotional issues via addictive behaviors and those who shift from one addiction to the next rather than dealing with their root FOO issues. I’ve had one major addictive episode in my life (eating disorder) and I decided I didn’t want to live my life moving from one pain numbing behavior set to another. I haven’t had an issue in over a decade now, so getting real with myself worked. Maybe not so much for other people.

    • Just wanted to chime in about SOS–that site was a life saver for me! There is lots of dialog and comradery between women going through similar situations. Of course almost every newcomer (including me) goes there looking for hope/answers and thinking they are the exception rather than the rule. For some women the dose of reality provided by the stories and ongoing drama that is shared is too “negative”. What is so funny is that no one goes there because they hate their partners and want out–everyone goes there to find a way to stay. But evolution naturally flows in the direction of survival and self preservation so if you stick around the light bulb eventually goes on! If you are a woman going through this crap I highly recommend joining. It helped to get me unstuck and out! Not what I thought I wanted, but thank goodness. I am now truly happily ever after!

      • Bonnie, I went to the SOS site.. It looks like it is a monthly pay for membership. Is there free access to the forums?

        • Hi Willow, Yes there is a small fee, but honestly sooooo worth it. I cant speak for Joann, but I would guess that if you have financial hardship she might be willing to work something out with you. I also think that somehow the paid membership protects our privacy–there is a lot of sharing that goes on in the forums. Ultimately Joann knows that these are real people and not someone’s creepy partner or sicko coming in for some perverse jollies. I am no longer a member, since I don’t need it any longer, but totally support what they are doing there. CL is fantastic, and you can get a feeling for the empathy and support in the comments here, but the forums on SOS are very interactive and there is almost always someone logged in that you can talk to–someone who understands. It is great that there are more resources popping up. Best wishes to you!

    • I was experiencing serious “treatment-induced-trauma” at the hands of “recovered” sex addicts (CSATs) and others trained by them (more CSATs). If you are partnered with someone who has indulged in secret sexual activities at your expense, and you seek “help” from these “professionals” (CSATs), be prepared for the mindfuck of the century.

      I was certain I had a remorseful unicorn. What I found out in CSATland was that as the partner, I was sicker than my “addict”, responsible for the (secret) dysfunction, and the primary obstacle to his recovery. Yep. Even though the activities predated me by two decades and continued after I left, it was ME that was triggering the problem. My porn junkie was happy to adopt the premise that he is a traumatized co-victim of a co-addict (me). The Struggle Is Real.

      I have solved that problem for us both by removing myself from the equation. He has re-engaged with his ‘hobby’, and is no longer being traumatized by me.


      POSARC, ChumpLady, Dr. Simon, Dr. Minwalla, & SOS saved my sanity. <3 Love you, Tracy!

      • Yes! Yes! Yes! ForkinEye, TRUTH!!

        Help from CSATs = mindfuck of the century.

        I owe my ability to actually file to Dr. Minwalla. He really opened my eyes to what I was dealing with. And he warned me to be careful. That my particular cheater was also probably dangerous. And to prepare. Right he was. Mr. Crazyass broke into my house, assaulted me, scared and traumatized my children. Oh, he also went to JAIL.

        Dr. Minwalla rocks.

        • ForkinEye, This is so true. Wish every newly discovering partner of a so called SA could read your comment here. SA therapy is a corrupt, twisted and backwards, blame the victim set up and it does harm partners of these narcissistic pervs.

    • Oh an thank you once again CN for valuable resources. Am now reading Dr Minwalla. Great info there.

  • Sex addiction may be real. But most truly addicted people usually blow up their entire lives looking for their release. They can’t just bury their activities under a rock and do the fun stuff when nobody’s watching. Most heroin junkies have no jobs, homes or Leave it to Beaver family life.
    Sex addiction is only real to me if the addict has literally thrown everything away to pursue their high. Living comfortably and not blowing finances, jobs , respect etc to smithereens bespeaks too much control to be truly addicted.
    I’ve worked in health care with people who have hit rock bottom with addiction. Not a single one had a semblance of normal life because of their illness.
    Most of these so-called sex addicts have not lost their self-respect. Their addiction has not unravelled every thread of their existence. Therefore not really addicted are they?

    • Not addicted. Just entitled, self-serving, maladjusted opportunists who really don’t care if your life blows up from their refusal to grow up.

    • Not all addicts hit rock bottom. Many are “functional” addicts, why? Because chumps are there to support them. Also people with wealth can usually afford their habits… for awhile anyway.

      Also, plenty of addicts hit “rock bottom”, get clean, and then go on to reoffend. Sad, but nothing you should saddle your life with.

      • I also think so many never hit “rock bottom” because their view of what that is differs from, say, mine….
        They like what they’re doing and they enjoy the feeling it gives them.

        I really naively thought my STBX would realize his mistake and hit rock bottom upon losing his wife & child, his home, his enabler, his best friend, his dog, his creature comforts, his money….but nope, that didn’t do it. He claims to be in the best place he’s been in years and thinking very clearly all while experiencing a total loss of above stated and being harassed non stop by debt collectors.

        I guess my version of rock bottom is much different than his.

        • I guess if you can keep passing the blame to someone else you can keep living with the thought that your terrible conditions are merely temporary.

          • Jamie, this is EXACTLY what my ex thinks. He lost all the above, regretted it terribly (the losses, eh, not the behaviour that led to the losses!), and WHILE trying to get me (and therefore the rest of the positive things in his life) back, kept blaming others, mostly me, for everything he’d done and everything that had happened! Man, that is some DEPTH of delusion!

            When he saw that wasn’t working anymore (not like after DDay #1, 7 years previously), he shifted the blaming. Now it’s all because he was ‘so angry, and deaf to others’ needs’ – implying FOO issues. (Deaf is an interesting choice of words, since I was crystal clear about my needs, and those of the kids – not GIVING A SHIT about others’ needs would be far closer to reality.) But while he can say that stuff, every time I don’t respond exactly as he would like (‘poor sausage, you’re such a better person now!’), he’s right back to blaming me.

            I think that’s my ex’s addiction! I wonder if they have ‘Assholes Anonymous’ groups?

            • Karen, mine hasn’t even admitted to regretting anything. Not one thing. I guess because he really believes he had to do all these heinous things just to end our marriage. I could’ve dealt with a nice sit down, heart to heart about him wanting to explore other horizons. It still would’ve hurt like hell but I would’ve respected the honesty.
              Alas, I’m kinda glad he did it the way he did…now I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I deserve better.

          • Once again TBJamie, ours must be brothers, wtf? He hasn’t been keeping up with the bills here (No payment in December & January) and even though he is trying to play catch up…. no check again for rent this week because he just had to go to Columbus over the weekend to the Arnold Classic for yet another “incredible” opportunity.

            He was SCREAMING at me the other night telling me I have made it clear that I think he is a “piece of shit”. I have never spoken to him that way…. what I HAVE done is point out that i can’t BELIEVE that at his age he still has NO sense of accountability or consequences.

            He spends money like a teenager with their first paycheck…. you DON’T get to take three trips out of town in 3 months and NOT pay your rent, child support and utilities. That is FUCKED up and the fact that HE doesn’t understand this and takes it as a personal attack is insanity. Seriously dude… you are almost 50 and you haven’t figured this out.

            • NC, yes, the parallels of our exes….yikes. Mine hasn’t made his car payment since December, owes who knows how much in college loans that have gone to a collection agency, owes arrears on child support, has 2 delinquent parking tickets that have gone to a collections agency and total over $200 (and growing by the day) and who knows what else. And get this-he gets his car insurance curtesy OF ME because I’m legally responsible since my name is still on the car loan and I really don’t trust him not to drive that thing off a cliff to reap insurance $. Good Lord, dude, I’m even still handling some of your finances and you can’t get it right.

              And yes, he’s planning a vacation with OW’s family AND wants to bring our 2 year old along…for 7 nights…after he just returned her to me last weekend at 11pm on his overnight because “she was sick and inconsolable”. Lol…these creeps are so delusional. Forgo our daughter coming on your inappropriate vacation and for that matter, forgo the vacation and PAY YOUR BILLS!

              What a bum.

              • Oh for crying out loud…. that reminded me…. mine…. currently driving without insurance and has been driving on a suspended license and suspended plates (since July) BECAUSE of a claim that was filed by an adjuster for a “fender bender” he had in a parking lot (in April) while driving WITHOUT insurance. SO friggen full of himself that he was TOO stupid to just pay half of the damages, told the adjuster to kiss his ass because the accident was his clients fault. Wow… showed him!! WTF? And THEN… when he did get pulled over he came home whining about getting pulled over and said “my license is suspended” and OF COURSE they let him go with a warning. Bullshit! I said “ummm yeah… you didn’t know this? so are your plates!! I READ the letter from the state TO you and then I GAVE it to you….. how do you NOT know??” Oh… and for the record…. liability insurance for his vehicle was costing us $49/month last time.

                Just CAN’T make this shit up. W.T.F??

        • I agree with that! From what I know of X’s life now it would definitely serve as my rock bottom! No job, living with friends, bad car, starting to see kids less and less, mountain of debt, versus the nice life we had before: spouse, family, steady jobs, decent car, small but nice house, little debt. But he seems fine. Life’s great.

          • Isn’t it crazy to think, Kira? If lose my mind if debt was crushing me and I’d given the middle finger to just about every positive thing that came into my life for the past 7 years. He have a big F U to his marriage, his child, college and everuthing we had worked so hard for.

            No biggie, though. I’ve learned that I manage it all much more easily & efficiently without him.

            • Again… DITTO!! Mine was already at rock bottom when I met him, let the bank take his house 2 days after we got engaged and ONE day before I found out I was pregnant. Talk about a what the fuck moment??? I have BEGGED him since the first year to get his taxes straightened out, he was already behind…. here we are EIGHT years later….. hasn’t done SHIT. Thank GOD we never married!!! He is staying at his Mother’s, not paying the bills here… so when I move out at the end of the school year I can’t IMAGINE our landlord allowing him to stay and there is no WAY he could get an apartment with no proof of income and such fucked up credit. And he just continues to pretend that everything is JUST great!! But hey… whatever works… since the first week of November he has been to Miami, then back down to Tampa…. and most recently (as I said) Columbus. The rent is 2 months behind and they sent a disconnect notice on the electric…. but Mr. Wonderful is living large and behaves as though he has everything under control and of COURSE he is the “nice guy”. I should probably start figuring out how I am going to explain to my son that his father is in prison. Stupid asshole. Hopefully I will be cleared by my surgeon tomorrow and can get myself back to work. Past 4 months have been a worse nightmare than the first three.

              • NC, I hope you can get back to work and regain a sense of normalcy. My routine and doing things for myself make me feel better.

                Side note: I just don’t understand the out of town trips….how do they do it?!? I can’t afford a vacation so how the hell can they? Something about that really offends me, lol. I just want to talk to them like they’re a child and say “maybe it’s not the best idea to take that trip right now? You think…? Maybe save up some money? Maybe pay down some bills? Maybe stop being such a jerk-off? Maybe?”.

                Nah, who am I kidding, they’ve EARNED that vacation. Being a total parasite must be exhausting.

  • From my understanding, too much dopamine leads to pschitzophrenia. Can’t they just give Ex that diagnosis and administer a regular shot of haldol in the buttocks while he is locked in a high security institution?
    (I am thinking damage control.)

    • Save the haldol–just lock them up and let them have at it with each other.

  • I don’t really want to get into the yes it is/no it isn’t debate. I can talk about specifics though. I met my XH in AA where I thought (because yes, I was a bit naïve) that he just had alcoholism as a problem- which he’d addressed being two years more sober than me. I ignored red flags such as his being very fond of talking to other women in meetings…

    We got together, got married. I found out he was into porn and the ‘friendships’ with other women carried on. Then he admitted he was a sex and love addict and started to go to those meetings (SLA), as well as AA. But he just got friendlier with women there. He developed a serious EA which would have progressed had I not read the (very young woman) the riot act. Of course I should have left but being AA and a believer in that recovery programme, I felt bad about not supporting XH with his addictions. Addictions which also included being very bad with money- not earning enough, spending too much. He lost another job we moved. When I found a job and funded his latest business venture, he was stealing money from me to pay for prostitutes. He told me this when he relapsed (alcoholism). I still tried to support him, carried on my own AA programme and was now attending Al- Anon- which tells you to practice ‘detaching with love’. So I clung on without any.

    He kept getting drunk, getting involved. He saw a ‘psychosexual counsellor’ who he ran rings around (she was attracted to him, he said) and then came the final OW who ha, ha, had previously worked in the addiction field. When he confessed the affair, he was drunk and told me that the OW was probably part of his sex addiction. I did the pick me dance because I thought he would realise this was a relapse and want to get well. He didn’t. I moved away, divorced him.

    So what is my take on it now? In AA we say that it’s a programme for people who want it as opposed to people who need it. The twelve steps work on addressing whatever problem you have if you want to change and are prepared to be honest and do the work. They don’t if you don’t. My XH was as CL describes “A cheater who called himself a “sex addict” with a host of real mental conditions that require years of therapy.” He didn’t want to change – to deal with alcoholism or with his other issues. That’s the focus and not on what the problem is called.

  • When I found out my XH was visiting (male) prostitutes, watching endless porn, sexting continuously, with secret dating website accounts etc etc, in my chumpiness, I went down the ‘sex addict’ route for 2 years, mostly because this behaviour was so contrary to his alternate persona of family man, business man and strong church going Christian. I couldn’t manage to understand it any other way. He went to two intensive residential treatment programmes, we went to couple counselling for 1 1/2 years, he had his own therapist for just as long. After all of that he still couldn’t stay away from the porn. He then joined sex addicts anonymous with a sponsor he spoke to every week, he then joined their intensive programme where he went to a meeting 3 times a week and spoke to a sponsor once a day. He then went through 3 series of a men’s encounter group looking at Daddy issues. You are getting the picture, the ‘therapy’ never ends. The sexual acting out never ends. ‘Supporting’ him through this was the stupidest thing I have ever done. Don’t go down that route. After 2 years of therapy he blamed me even more and took less responsibility for his behaviour. Addiction or no addiction, do I really want a man who needs this much support to remain faithful – no! Divorcing him was hell on earth but I am now out the other side, my life is now freed up to enjoy and not worry every minute whether my husbands ‘addictions’ are getting the better of him.

    • Free,
      Hugs to you. You are a far better woman than I am. I have personally gone through years of therapy convinced that very thing wrong in my marriage was my fault. I shouldered portion of the blame when my upright Christian husband first confessed to a porn addiction 12 years ago. Accepting his excuses and apologies as I declaring my willingness to do all I could to be a better wife. Yes I began the pick me dance.
      But his actions did not change he just played it safe for a while and then he uped the anti. 11 years later and I got the confession I had always dreded porn, affair, multiple random partners. All male. But as a result it was not his fault our marriage ended, but my unwillingness to deal with my anger towards him. To forgive him and pretended like it never happened. Because it was not his fault he acted that way, he was possesed by an unclean sexual spirit that made him do these things, it was not his choice.

      Of course my filing for divorce is an insult to him and my previous church and I am the one seen as being without Christian character. They fully support his engaging in a relationship with another woman before he was even divorced. I just see her as his next victim. My divorce is now final and I just today signed papers to proceed with property settlement which due to his lack of integrity will no doubt end up in court. But I am so glad that I am no longer stuck in the orbit of that twisted asshole.

      • Thankful, I am glad you are finally getting out. Good for you! Jesus cheaters are especially diabolical because they think they have God on their side once they confess and repent and confess and repent and confess and repent – how lucky are they to have such a forgiving God. He told me my issue was that I was just not forgiving enough. My lack of forgiveness was the problem not what he had done. And not being able to pretend like it did not happen, exactly the same.

        You are out now and free to live a much better life. Hopefully our faith can withstand this! And I hope you find a better church with Christians who are willing to stand up for what is right.

  • “And dear God, do you want a partner that needs a monogamy 12-step?”

    OK – – Where’s Irish when we need her?

    Oh, alright. I’ll stand in for her.

    “HELL to the NO. FUCK that SHIT.”

    Ah, much better. I really do need to get that tattoo………..

  • THANK YOU TRACY!!! I’ve been on the “I have an addiction!! Do you understand my SHAME!!! I don’t want to keep doing this! It hurts me more than it hurts you! SCA. (Sexual Compulsives Anonymous) says for you to stay on your side of the road! Work your own recovery from my masturbating night and day to porn! I’ve got to work MY program! ” train for 8 very long and painful years. I shit you not, these words came from his lie hole. And I bought it. I walked on fucking EGGSHELLS. For YEARS! So I would not shame him, or trigger him into porn surfing again. Because the poor sausage could not leave his sausage alone. And that is 50 shades of fucked up I can assure you.

    The addiction groups (and I’m not knocking them for drug or alcohol addiction) for sex addicts has every stripe of sicko there is. It gives them a forum to “share” their sicko predilections. My stbx used to say “these meetings are full of guys that are not like me!!! I would never do some of the shit they do. And, hearing their stories triggers me back into porn!” He also had a sponser..oh yeah. This guy. They would have secret conversations. He was the Xes “accountability partner”. WTF. I was not privy to their pain. Or their conversations. Or his “slips”. I was supposed to SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!! He was “working it”. Now, THAT I believed. Working at pulling his pud while surfing scads of debasing and sick porn while me and his children slept. Yeah. He was working it alright. The addiction model was really helping us. And me, I just continued to let him lie, gaslight, fuck me over financially, ruin my sexuality and trust. But I stayed on my side of the road, dammit!

    Till 18 months ago. Then this old gal jumped the tracks. And I’m now running full tilt away from the crazy. Addicted to porn? Hookers? Ho workers? Hell no you at not. You are just an entitled, fucked up, narc, sociopath.

    Nothing to see here folks. Just step away from the assclown.

    If any of you find yourself in this “I’m an addict” and “I have no control over my dick” crap. RUN. These sickos never change. And their dick problem is just the tip of their fuckupedness.

    • Sounds like we were married to twins! I got the whole “the guys aren’t like me!” speech at the beginning. Now he sees them all as comrades in the same addiction. Before I decided to separate, I told him he had more of a ‘marriage’ with his sponsor than he did with me. Seriously, the dude knows my husband more than I do. This sponsor has his email password (H has to ask for permission to access his own email) and H just recently handed over his bank card to him and has to go over to his house to pick it up if he needs to go shopping. They have secret calls every day and now go to church together. I was also told that I had to just stay on my side of the road! Well fuck you too!
      You’re lucky you left before the real crazy started. My H’s life is controlled by his sponsor. It’s sad to see, but it’s no longer my problem.

    • “Just step away from the assclown.” I think we have a new tagline here at Chump Lady. At the least, a new tattoo idea. 🙂

    • “Because the poor sausage could not leave his sausage alone. And that is 50 shades of fucked up I can assure you.”

      Irish, you are one sassy lady! I love it.

    • Irish, you have me laughing out loud tonight. I hope I read your words and your inflections as you intend because the shit cracks me up!!!!!

  • Thank you for this article! It used to drive me crazy to watch H run around to 4 different 12 step meetings a week. He would say he was doing this so he can get all his addictions (hey, I’ve never seen him drunk, but apparently, he’s an alcoholic too) under control so he can be present for the family. He doesn’t seem to get the irony. He’s away a lot more than he used to be. Or maybe he does see it and thinks it’s a convenient excuse to keep running away from us, while still being able to pretend he’s the good guy who actually wants his family.
    I know he was hoping I’d fall in line with these so called ‘therapists’ (most of whom are self proclaimed sex addicts themselves) and start going to 12 step meetings myself. I did for a little while before I snapped out of that insanity. He knows how chumpy I am, so he would subtly try to label me codependent and tell me that I am also sick because I chose to be with him (yes, I asked for this, even though I had no idea what he was doing behind my back).
    Isn’t it more likely that codependents would stay with the ‘sex addict’? Why in the world would I stick around and hold his hand through this? Why stay and wait for the next relapse? What kind of madness is that? I barely made it through one round. I’m sure as hell going to protect myself from more of the same. Now I’m relieved when he’s out so much at his meetings and with his sponsor. I’m going to enjoy every minute I get with my kids while they’re still young. When they grow up, I’m sure they’ll see who put in the real time and effort with them.

    • Oh yes, and the whole ‘pain shopping’ thing! Seriously! It’s not pain shopping, it’s self-protection! Instead of doing that, LEAVE! You’ll never have to ‘pain shop’ again!

    • Co dependency? Right. It’s me honey, with my weak character that ENABLED you to continue your little habit. So sorry. I’ll work on my issues that caused you to masturbate till your sick almost fell off. So, so sorry.

      HELL to the NO. FUCK that shit. It isn’t my character it’s your LACK of one that is the problem. These guys have all the warmth of a lizard on a rock, beady eyed, tongue flicking about, searching for…..well you know. STRANGE.

      The whole sponser dynamic is creepy. They call each other to “check in”. But if I asked how he was doing, all of a sudden I was “trying to run his RECOVERY!!!!” So, I dutifully steered my stupid ass back over to “my side of the road.” WTF

      Note to self: This did not FUCKING WORK.

      • But Irish, if you had been working ‘your’ program, you would have been far too busy addressing your OWN dysfunction to even notice his. See? It’s still your fault. Double Bind.

          • I know, right? ForkinEye, I really tried to own MY part in his addiction. We were addict buddies! I was his co addict wingman! Own it girl! Work your recovery, and pay no attention to the pervert behind the screen!

            All I needed recovery from, was entitled asshole overdose.

            THAT I’m working on.

  • “Learning is not a disease”. Bingo.

    Sigh. I don’t know, CL—and I know I’m gonna get shit for this…

    If it were just about the “fucking around”—not keeping it in their pants–I would agree with you. But it’s not.

    You explained it very well—the neurotransmitters are sending pleasure signals to the brain. “Give Me More of THAT!” It doesn’t matter what it is—it could be sex, it could be food, it could be porn, it could be eating clay, it could be pulling out all of your hair. These are compulsions that no one understands. No one can explain trichotillomania (my sister has it). She can’t even explain why it makes her feel better to do what she does…disfigure herself.

    Addicts do the same thing with drugs and alcohol (i worked in a rehab some years ago drawing blood)–they will destroy themselves in order to get a fix. They will steal, lie, disfigure themselves, live in horrendous conditions, expose themselves (and others) to disease…

    You made the point about “sex addicts” not going through DTs or any physical manifestation—that may be true….but many other addictive behaviors also do not manifest in physical withdrawal symptoms. Food and gambling come to mind.

    I’m not saying “sex addiction” gets a blanket pass in my book—but some will destroy everything in their wake in order to get high on the game—the sex, lying, stealing time, and hiding. Gaming can be an addiction–and to some, sexual conquests are a game.

    This isn’t bringing sexual infidelity down to the level of a video game—but the brain doesn’t care whether it’s a video game or a lifelong commitment to a partner—all it sees and knows is the high it can get from whatever drug you might flood it with. Infidelity is worse because others are actively harmed–yet….so are the families and spouses of alcoholics and drug addicts.

    Addicts lie and steal and cheat and connive and endanger those close to them—-even in the face of serious, life shattering and even life threatening consequences—sound familiar? THEY KNOW what the consequences are, and they do it anyway. This is addictive behavior.

    At the end of the day—I agree 100% that it is the spouse’s choice whether to stick with Cheaterpants or not—whether they truly are an addict or whatever it is that they call themselves. Do I believe that ALL cheaters are addicts? NO. But I do believe that some are. Because you can look at the OTHER behaviors in their lives and see that this is their basic mental makeup—thrill seeking, other addictions, irresponsible.

    This is definitely a case of “It’s not what the cheater did, it’s your reaction to it.” It’s your choice to cut your losses—because you simply do not want to do the addiction dance with them–just like supporting an alcoholic or a drug addict or a gambling addict…it’s a lifelong struggle with them. Each person has the right to want in their life what they want. If cheating is a deal breaker….doesn’t matter whether it’s an addiction or not—the deal is broken.

    The rub here is figuring out who is truly an addict—-and who is simply angling to maintain cake. That, to me, is untangling the skein of fuckupedness.

    My cheater had it all–food first. Try and work on that. He replaced it with smoking. Tried to work on that. Relapse into food. Try to get a handle on both. Then it was porn. Then it was exercise. Then it was the Atkins Diet. Then it was video games. The therapist said, “He has an addictive personality, which he not only does not admit to having–I see no willingness in him to do any of the work to modify the behavior.”

    Bingo. Done. No willingness to modify this? Now you’re not my problem anymore.

    So what should it be called…simple entitlement? Or an addictive personality–which is one of the hallmarks of…..NPD. If you find one, you usually find the other.

    I remember one day that X and I were joking around that if he was ever just so horny that he had to call me at work so I could come home and we could have some fun….then do it! (haha hehe wouldn’t it be funny to act like hormonal teenagers again!) Well, one day, he calls me at work and says, “I’ve been thinking about you all morning and I’ve had this erection for an hour. Can you come home?” I said…”Uh…I’m at work, sweetheart. I can’t leave right this very minute. Can we do this tonight?”

    He was fuming. “What am I supposed to do with this erection now?!!” I chuckled a little and said, “Honey, it’s not life threatening–can’t you wait until I get home?” He was angrier still–“I’M SERIOUS!! What do you want me to do NOW?!!!” I was so taken aback, I was starting to get offended. Really? You can’t take care of this horrific erection by yourself, you have to have me there, RIGHT NOW?

    I paid for that. For week he withheld sex and affection…storming around in a silent rage. In his mind, I had promised him a drug—the high of acting like naughty teenagers—and I reneged. I yanked that fantasy out of his head and stomped on it. He never forgot it, either. He would throw my “lack of spontaneity” in my face (with that as an example) at every opportunity.

    • “but some will destroy everything in their wake in order to get high on the game” — THIS.

      Whatever their high, they’re choosing it over a healthy relationship with you. Whether that’s a video game, sex with a stranger, or drugs. Whatever the cause of that self-destructiveness — which will be taken out on YOU — get away from it. I really don’t care what people call it.

      • Exactly stbx chose work, alcohol and the howorker over out marriage and children. Time to gtfo!

    • My husband falls into this category. We can’t fantesize about something (e.g a threesome) without him pushing for is to do it in real life. We’re not taking about a civil discussion here. He gets upset because I “raised false expectations”. He somehow ties the level to which I accept him to with having my sexuality become a mirror image of his. No boundaries allowed and I could never suggest something that made him uncomfortable (a MMF threesome, for example and if I were actually interested which I’m not…) without him judging me. Our sex life is actually ver active and relatively varied but, to hear him tell it, he hardly gets any. That and he “never sees me” because I work a 40 hour schedule. I’m just not around to meet his sexual needs 24/7 and he acts like I should feel bad about it.

      You made me realize, it’s all because he needs his hit. A different perspective

      • KT – respectfully, he doesn’t NEED it – he feels ENTITLED to it. That’s another different perspective. He needs food, water, warmth and shelter – everything else in this life is a bonus and not a god given a right (and even the first needs aren’t entirely God given – or we wouldn’t have people dying for lack of these things).

        • You’re right and I feel the same way about needs and entitlement. I suppose I always wonder if I’m the crazy one, if everyone else is like him and I’m missing out. Something tells me that the threesome wouldn’t make him happy and it would continue to escalate from there. That’s why I can’t really entertain any idea of having a threesome because I don’t want to enable him. I know it wouldnt be about us doing something fun, it would be him feeding his compulsion. Not sexy and misses the point of a sexual relationship entirely.

          • I went out with this professor a few times, the last time on New Year’s Eve. He told me his New Year’s resolution was to have a threesome. We’re your grandparents age. For gawd’s sake. That’s whats out there girls. And that’s why I’m still single. I’m not kidding. Some of these guys make my cheating, lying. POS, XH look good some times. Ain’t that something?

            • Thanks for the warning, Syringa. Precisely why I got two more dogs after cheater left. They’re much better company, and loyal.

  • CL has identified the exact problem — chumps want to believe that things can be fixed, and that somehow their love can be part of the fix. The SA partner can use this “disease” to manipulate a chump “you vowed thru sickness and health, and I’m sick. I want to get better, I am just powerless against my addiction.” A counselor once pointed out that if your “partner” is “stressed”, or mad at you for some infraction, or just has a few extra minutes in that schedule, he/she can make it all better by having a little sex with someone new. It can even be online sex with porno. That will give the “addict” brain a shot of dopamine, and will make them feel so much better! Also, it teaches you a lesson, for not satisfying their every whim. You must be a bad chump, because you didn’t keep your “partner” happy all the time. — What incredible BS!!!

    I don’t remember anything in the vows about putting up with the risks the “addict” exposes you to. Nothing kills desire like the thought that your partner has been with someone else, or has shared a needle with someone else, or has done some other life threatening activity with someone else. The fact that they take the risk with their own lives is bad enough — with Aids and Herpes and all the STD’s out there, why would anyone who was sane do this? But, it is also ok to bring this risk home to you, the chump??? Oh, yes, finding “twu luv” — the victimless crime.

    I actually heard a woman I worked with say, “if he had cancer, I wouldn’t leave. How is a mental illness different?” This woman tried to “treat” her SA sweetheart by indulging his porn fetish. She dressed up in disgusting outfits and posed with all manner of sex toys and was the “star” of video’s he made, sent him sexts upon demand. She was trying to be the focus of all his desire. She didn’t realize he would get bored with her parts and want to see other women’s parts, and more graphic porn, and that he would use her pictures to post on adult porn sites as the price of admission to the site. She didn’t think about those pictures getting back to her children. But they did. One of his fellow addict’s had a wife who recognized her, and who did not appreciate that her addict was looking at another addict’s wife’s pictures. So she sent them to the woman’s family. So much for treating the illness, and helping your SA get better. Talk about being CHUMPED!

    Some people may feel that nude and sexually explicit pictures and movies may be just good clean fun — and the risk they choose to take with that attitude is up to them. If they are not adults, however, (Think Teenagers) and this material is distributed, they can be labeled sex offenders. This is in addition to the humiliation of having everyone at the high school see this type of picture. If we are too tolerant of this stuff, I shudder to think about what problems future generations will have to face.

    All partners need to think about what activity their partner is requesting from them — and who have they participated with before — and ask themselves if it really is just being “sexy” or is it a red flag warning of a more serious problem. I personally would recommend that you never do something you do not want to do, just because the partner suggests that if you don’t, someone else will be happy to. Let someone else be happy. Don’t do something you think will be “private”. Privacy is dead.

    I think a 5% cure rate is being overly generous, but that is just my opinion. I think Chumps need to think long and hard about this aspect of the disorder/disease, whatever the spouse wants to call it. Is anything worth this risk? What if something happens to you, who will raise your children? What type of influence will they have then? Would you want your children, your siblings, your close friends to put up with this type of behavior? If not, why should you?

    • OK. Read up on this like crazy after DD. Did not EVEN KNOW it existed accept for child molesters.

      From what I have read, sex addiction is not “cured”, it’s managed. Maybe that’s the 5%. So for the rest of your life with your SA, a relapse is possible and probable. If you want to live with that the rest of your life, be my guest. I don’t.

      Relieves A N X I E T Y. Main reason for drug, food, gambling, alcohol, sexual addictions. They found an unhealthy way to relieve anxiety.

      Feel anxious? Press the button, all better. Pavlov’s Dog.

      The game? Lie, cheat and steal, destroy families, jobs, finances, physical health (yours, too) and relationships to get to the high to relieve the anxiety.

      Why do they stay with us, stable chumps? Why not just move on?

      We provide them with their desperate need for love, home and hearth even if they don’t know why.

      It’s a horrible life. There is NO LOVE in the “sex game” world. IT DOES NOT EXIST. It is so void of humanity, that to stay in that world is to lose your soul. It is completely false and when done with the “act” the void returns. A bunch of empty humans running around getting their rocks off because nothing else in their life makes them feel good about themselves. NOT OUR PROBLEM but they would be happy to make it OUR PROBLEM so they don’t have to feel “bad” about themselves.

      They have angry dicks/vaginas. They are not loving dicks/vaginas. Angry at you, the world, their mortality, pick one.

      All I know is that it is CHEATING on your partner/spouse. Period. End of story. Their high was more important then YOU, YOUR HEALTH, THEIR CHILDREN, THEIR FAMILY. Let THEM figure out the WHY.

      It may be due to childhood abuse. It typically is. It is still something they have to work on, NOT YOU.

      You really do not want to go into this world. Next to witnessing the atrocities of war, it is the most pathetic human endeavor man/woman can achieve.

      The complete destruction of the human soul.

    • Portia, thanks for sharing the story of what happened to your friend who was trying to satisfy her SA mate. What a horrible thing to have happen to somebody who was just trying to please her mate. In my own family one of my relatives was married to an SA and at the point he started trying to convince her that swinging would fix their marriage she finally decided she’d had enough. I think you’re right in that whatever you do to try to “satisfy” addicts is just going to suck you further down to your own personal hell. It’s so sad how relationships can ruin your self esteem like this. How does it happen that so many of us get to the point that we’ll do anything to make them stay?

    • Portia and CJ,

      Wonderful posts. If I had only known these things at the start of this hell on earth. Both of you put it all into perspective. Had I known, I would have left immediately. But the sickness and health vow, and his claiming to need my help, for something he was never going to actually try to fix, kept me stuck. Mired down. Feelings of loyalty and responsibility to him and my family haunted me whenever I wanted out. It took finally seeing the futility of it all that finally motivated me to get moving.

      Anyone in this situation, read those two posts. Really read them. That is reality with one of these disordered people.

      Thanks Portia and CJ.

      • Irish –

        You are one strong women. I know you will make a good life for you and your children. You have the resolve and a great command of four letter words.

  • I’m with Chump Lady. Sex Addiction sounds like crap to me. But the real issue is whether you should deal with it, real or not.

    My answer is NO. This will sound harsh, but I would never recommend anyone to get into a relationship with any addicted person. Even those in recovery are one drink, pill, puff, whatever, from total relapse.

    As you may guess, I have experience in this area. My first husband was an alcoholic. I met him after my freshman year in college and was with him till his death when I was forty years old. He was sober the first two years we were together. Then he started partying with a friend one day, and like they say The Rest is History. I could fill volumes with the broken promises, lies, mistreatment, and just plain misery this led to in my life. All I can really say is please don’t take on another person’s problem. I just thank God daily that this guy did not manage to destroy me along with himself. Although it was a very CLOSE call.

  • A thousand times this. A couple of anecdotes (I just heard a great expression: those aren’t anecdotes, it’s small batch artisanal data. But I digress…)

    Briefly pre-divorce and whatever, Crapweasel tried a therapist who recommended him to attend Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (I think so that said shrink did less work. Then, they meditated.)

    (1) even crapweasel thought it was bullshit, to his credit.

    But (2) the big takeaway I got was that most of the people at the meetings spent time telling each other “they weren’t bad people, they just did bad things.”

    I asked him what the difference was–how bad did you have to get: “Pol Pot “bad? “Random shoot people in a bank” bad?

    He said my philosophical nuance would go over their heads….

    Secondly, I myself went briefly to a therapist who specialized in people traumatized by the sexual acting-out of partners…a believer in the SA model, but a decent human anyway. It was a bad fit, and I left soon, but she did reinforce me a lot, but saying things like, “If his mouth is moving, he’s lying” and other similar. So, that part was very helpful. She seemed to both believe in the SA model, and to Trust That They Suck. Interesting.

    But yeah, nice little cottage industry they got there.

    • Ooooh, ‘small batch artisanal data’, I LIKE that! I think the data here is small-batch, organic, free-range artisanal data! Only the best from CN!

    • There’s the mindfuck. **Trust that they Suck, but stick it out with them. Because you are sick, too. And if you leave, you’ll just go find another. So, hang round and continue to pay into the Sex-Addiction-Recovery-Industrial-Complex, because if we lose you, the Chump, we lose the addict’s therapy dollars, too.** (Apparently, sex addiction counseling and 12 step recovery are not as much fun without the Chump to triangulate with. Nobody else to blame when the chump leaves.)

  • I watched an interview with Rob Lowe where he said he doesn’t think it should be called “Sex Addiction” but an intimacy disorder…

    One Year D-Day today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really glad I am going through this journey then still being miserable and shut down with um…. whats his name 🙂

    • I think this is right on. It is an intimacy disorder.

      They are incapable of a loving sexual encounter. Their sexual encounter must have the element of danger or being illicit.

      • I think preferring meaningless sex is a sexual disorder. It seems to me the lack of intimacy is a result of the preferences, not the cause of it.

        • Yes, yes and double yes.

          The serial cheater is never having sex “with” someone else. They don’t have intimacy with the “new” partner. Love is a concept to ponder, not something they understand. Don’t have jealous thoughts that the “new” person has something you don’t have–something cheaters would like to have you believe.

          The cheaters are are screwing themselves in that person. That person is just another body. Another means to their “happy” ending in their f’up psyche.

      • I also think it’s not only an intimacy disorder but a “maturity disorder.” I believe that many addictions stem from lack of maturity and discipline needed to endure any amount of boredom, discomfort, loneliness, or – God forbid – just plain ordinary moments when nothing stimulating is happening. This is an ongoing pattern of thought and behavior that gets entrenched – NOT a disease. Reminds me of this quote: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal.

  • I agree with the others who have said that people who do these things are sick, but I am not sure “sex addiction” is the right term. More likely people who engage in risky and destructive behavior have other disorders. Some of them stemming from the fuckupedness of their childhoods. And some of them are just narcissistic jerks that aren’t going to change no matter what- some come from perfectly nice families.

    The question is valid though.. while you wouldn’t leave a spouse if they got cancer, for example.. a sickness that they can’t control, would you leave them for a mental illness? Some mental illnesses are highly treatable and manageable, and all of us have issues… so no.. just a mental illness isn’t enough for a divorce.

    But using “addiction” to cover up bad choices and repeated destructive behavior is not the same thing. I agree that society keeps wanting to make excuses for people, explain away really bad behavior as some sort of “illness” when really it’s just assholes doing what assholes do. Screw with people and lack empathy and love towards others. Repeatedly hurt the ones they report to love over and over. Yes, they could have an underlying “reason” for that.. but chumps have to realize it’s about THEM. If the affected person wishes to help themselves, and does the work to do so, that’s one thing.. but if they refuse to take responsibility and want to blame shift, that is another thing. In the end if you are dealing with such a person, you have to think of yourself. Can you withstand a life where you are disappointed over and over? If you have children, what about their welfare? It’s fair to say no and walk away. You aren’t responsible for other people’s choices.

    • Most of us would not think about leaving a person with an illness like cancer. But with mental illness or addiction there can be a limit. Somebody with severe untreated or untreatable mental illness or addictions can be a danger to themselves or others physically, emotionally and financially. In these extreme cases it is best to detach and ultimately leave the other person.
      I had a neighbour whose husband was severely head and spine injured after a car wreck (no impulse control, wheelchair bound, the mental age of a five year old). He would throw things and swear constantly if he did not get his way reference food, TV, etc. He was not the same person she had married in any sense. His parents could not understand why she had asked for their advice on finding a long term care facility to place him in. She was supposed to take care of him til death they figured. She had their infant child and this poor man with major health and behaviour issues in the house at the same time and was literally exhausted taking care of them. She went away for one weekend with her son to visit her parents and left MIL and FIL alone with their brain injured son. They were looking for care homes with her as soon as she got back. Sad ending but the man was placed in a good home with the monies from his insurance and she got to live a normal life.

      • In another lifetime, I was a welfare caseworker. I had one client with 3 kids whose life was devastated when her teenage son was brain-injured when hit by a car. Her second husband (not the father of the kids, who was either deceased or MIA) couldn’t handle the kid’s violent outbursts and left. She couldn’t get a job because no one could control the injured kid. The younger children were babysitting and mowing lawns to support the family. The first and most important issue for this family (aside from getting the heat and lights turned on) was to find a placement for this poor boy, so he could get the care he needed, while the legal fight over insurance raged on. The mother surely did not want to put this children in a care home, but the whole family would have sunk under the waves had the situation gone any further. I will never forget her or those 2 younger kids. I often wonder how it all turned out. But even with children, people often have to put aside their powerful attachment to the idea we have of “how to love someone” and make the difficult choice to save what can be saved and to love that person by making sure he has the help he needs.

        For chumps who are parents, it’s important to understand that EVEN IF THERE ARE SEX ADDICTS (and I am a skeptic on this), it is not “helping” the addict to keep cake piled up all around them. While the TV show “Celebrity Rehab” has its serious critics, I found it profoundly illuminating about the damage that addiction does to families and how addiction destroys the addict’s ability to love and care for other people. My XH is an alcoholic who will also use other substances to self-medicate. In my chummy, co-dependent way, I figured I could deal with all that and make a life. Ten years later, I finally understood that putting up with the shit sandwich of substance abuse also erodes the substance abuser’s respect for the sober partner. Until I drew the line and said it was over, his contempt for me and anger toward me was the dominate emotion in our home. I didn’t abandon him. I helped him settle into a new home; I keep in touch; I never forget birthdays or Christmas. (That, too, is a one-way street, but that is also the difference between him and me.) If we define “addict” as a person who uses substances and behaviors to self-medicate, avoid feeling and responsibility, and manipulate people and situations, then why would anyone stay with an addict? Let the poor person go and hit bottom. Then, with a year or two of sober living under his or her belt, maybe a relationship can be salvaged. I suppose that’s why I would advise any chump to separate as soon as the ducks can be put in a row (and al the while going full stealth mode on the duck aligning). If a partner has an addiction or a character disorder or is just plain mean and abusive, get out. Get out as soon as possible. Then chumps have three precious things: an opportunity to build a healthy home and a full life–to gain a life; time to learn how to maintain boundaries and fix the picker; and some space and perspective to gauge whether the addict/cheater/character-disordered hyenas will turn their lives around without risking life, health, and the family economic situation.

        • // ,

          “I helped him settle into a new home; I keep in touch; I never forget birthdays or Christmas. (That, too, is a one-way street, but that is also the difference between him and me.)”

          I, too, do not forget the birthdays, because I promised. I, too, am stuck in a one way street, and wondering why I made that foolish promise.

          Why dost never forget birthday anniversaries or Christmas?

  • I am very skeptical about loosely labeling any sort of compulsive behavior an addiction. If the label provides a crutch rather than a solution then it is nonsense. Even if sex addiction was real, managing it would take consistent, earnest, humbling commitment and effort, right? These behaviors don’t work well for cheaters.

    If your spouse is dragging you along this tough road, addiction or not, it is up to you, dear chump, to be in the driver’s seat and decide where the tolerable line is for you. You may have to look through a lot of smoke and mirrors to find it.

  • Oh, and I forgot…I went to ONE meeting of the SA partner group. Holy Crap! Bunch of people I just felt really sorry for (I had already begun imbibing at the Fountain of ChumpLady Wisdom, so…)

    Women just living these guys (and in this case it was all women, about 20 of them), and they guys were way on on the hookers & blow end of the cheater spectrum. It was just awful.

    And the group encouraged them to stay in those horrific situation, putting themselves and their kids at risk, and “work their steps”. Like they had done anything, anything at all in the world that required them to “work steps.” I thought my head would explode. But, I didn’t even yell, I just explained my sitch, and said my self-respect meant that I would not put up with crapweasel’s behavior, and I was working on finding a way out to a new life of freedom. Modeling better behavior for them, but they had seriously drunk Koolaid.

    It was a sorry, sorry spectacle. Very sad.

    • Yeah, I too went to one of these groups- and I felt the same. I have to say I felt the same in Al-anon. I’m one of those who got described as a ‘double-winner’ as I ‘qualified’ for both AA and Al-anon- due to alcoholic spouse (and parent!) and my own recovery. It’s not a term I like- it refers to the fact that you have a ‘solution’ for both your own problem and dealing with someone else’s. But when you are experiencing the effects of someone else’s addiction it doesn’t feel like you’ve won anything.

      Although I’m AA- nearly 10 years- my cheater experience has made me hard line on recovery- of all kinds- and relationships.
      If you’re the one in recovery- you should be focusing on your own wellbeing and very often that means not being in relationships. Newcomers are advised to not get involved for at least a year- preferably longer. Often relationships need to be let go in an honest, direct way.

      If you’re the one in a relationship with someone who’s in recovery- as I was, then unless they are really committed to wellness, you need to disengage. There is NOTHING you can do to help someone do their own recovery- and the road can be hard. And the consequences of staying,especially with relapse, can be severe- I didn’t lose my own sobriety but my sanity? Nearly.

  • I’m in the camp of not really believing in sex addiction. I blame this entitled, selfish, and juvenile behavior on how easy it is to watch porn and hook up with strangers these days.

    The porn always has to get more hardcore for the same level of excitement. It’s not hard to segue into real life sexual encounters.

    It’s easy, also, to claim that it’s mostly men who behave this way, but they are fucking someone else and it’s usually a female.

    The bottom line for me is that this behavior is the behavior of someone who is entitled, selfish, and juvenile. It’s hard for me to imagine these men and women lying on their deathbed years from now saying, “I only wish I had had more sex with strangers.”

    • You may find me, on my death bed, saying, “I wish I’d had more sex with strangers instead of my X.”

      • HA HA HA HA. Oh, Tempest. You really crack me up! HA HA HA

        Off to work, I better go. HA HA HA

      • Me too Tempest! I’m going to start working on that as soon as the divorce is final.

      • I think I can see myself wishing I had had more sex with strangers.

      • LOL Tempest! Okay, okay, some of you might be saying that on your deathbeds.

    • Giggling at the vision of my cheater on his deathbed, rasping ‘Just one more…vagina picture…on XHamster…(wheeze)”

  • t’s hard for me to imagine these men and women lying on their deathbed years from now saying, “I only wish I had had more sex with strangers.”

    No, they will be lying on their deathbed, crying, wondering about why they wasted their life on this planet chasing an “O”.

    • Oh, I can imagine them lying on their deathbeds whining that they’re dying and it’s someone else’s fault. While mentally reviewing all of their marvelous exploits.

      • LovedaJackass got it right. These disordered types will NOT be feeling regret on their death beds, they will be blaming someone else and saying how great they are and they do not deserve to die, right up until their last miserable breath.

        • One of ‘The Great I Am’s excuses was that he didn’t get laid until he was in his mid-twenties and he felt he had to ‘catch up’. He definitely gave me the impression that he was trying to make sure he had enough ‘bedpost notches’ before he dies. Fair enough – if that’s what floats your boat – but really, is it more important to have fucked with lots of people than to die with your honorable word? Someone says here it’s an ‘intimacy disorder’ – and I definitely agree with that. Maybe ‘The Great I Am’ will die happy knowing he has spent the vast majority of his adult life being a fraud – can’t say it’s an ambition I’d like to have!

  • I know there are behavioural addictions, such as eating disorders, gambling, shopping, pulling out your own hair …. And it’s not hard to believe that porn use, especially, could become compulsive, in the same way.By far the VAST majority who develop problems with these behaviours manage to get them under control on their own. And when they can’t, there are fairly effective treatments, based in what we know about behaviour change, cognitive approaches, and accountability for the consequences of their choices.

    BUT, from there to the whole SAA approach is a big stretch! I watched a friend go through this with her already selfish and entitled husband, and the groups, books and therapists totally encouraged him to focus even more on himself, while his wife and kids were going under for the third time. So that HE could have his 3 months of sobriety, SHE was condemned to 3 months (infinitely extended by ‘slips’) of no physical intimacy w/her husband, at a time when she needed that to feel better about herself and the relationship. So that HE could feel like a ‘good person who made bad choices’, SHE was encouraged to not ‘shame’ him by pointing out the consequences of his behaviour. So HE wouldn’t be triggered, she was supposed to supportively accept his orgies of self-blame and self-pity, while he continued to ignore her emotional needs.


    Whether SA exists or not, this approach is NOT helpful to ANYBODY involved in the mess. And I hate that it gives false hope to Chumps, who are desperate to keep hoping. Do they divulge that tiny success rate at the BEGINNING of this process?

    In the end, it has to come down to; can I live like this, or not? NOW, the way it is NOW. There should be a standard cut-off date to how long people are allowed to ‘struggle’ with any behaviour that harms others. Then they get kicked out the door. Better yet, kick them out now, get a new life, and let them come back to try to reconcile once they’re ALL bettter. I’m betting that by that point, most Chumps will have realized it isn’t worth their time.

    • I think in some of these relationships (mine included), the destruction gets to be so bad that it’s just better to get away from each other. There comes a point where you just have to save yourself.

    • There may be such a think as sex addiction. As with all other addictions, the person has enough character to WANT to get better. Those without character continue on without regard for anyone but themselves. Forever and ever. Better to find prettier pastures elsewhere.

  • I’m addicted to authentic relationships. How dare you shame me for my need to be respected. Hey you SA – yes you! You’re co-dependant and that makes you just as responsible for what happens when you marry a Truth Addict. Get with the program will you!

    • “I’m addicted to authentic relationships.”

      LOL. Thought it occurs to me that this is the next logical step for the RIC to take. Books and therapies and expensive weekend retreats where Chumps learn to overcome their pathological addictions to honesty, monogamy, reliability, and integrity. Because, you know, the shortcomings of us Chumps in these areas are completely unnatural and make it so much more difficult for “suffering” cheater-spouses to “heal.”

      • 🙂 …. ‘Hello, my name is Jayne and I’m a Truthaholic, I’ve been a Truthaholic all my life and I blame it on my FOO’.

      • Yes, it’s a trait of the Obsessive Compulsive Personality (ocpd), dontcha know . . “inflexible about matters of morals, ethics and values . . . ”

        It’s not cheating that’s a problem, it’s our inflexibility about it, due to our personality issues. 😀 I’m powerless. Only God can remove this defect of my character.

        • My cheating ex-wife actually accused me of having OCPD as part of the whole gas-lighting process. She printed out sheaves of paper from the internet that “proved” I have this “illness.” Part of what made her so distant, she said. My always checking on things and looking for reassurance and consensus. I drove her away from her, don’t you see? And couldn’t I just please stop?

          Strange that no one else saw my “illness,” including the half dozen shrinks I saw in marriage counseling and individual therapy. And yet . . . I believed her. I apologized and made countless resolutions to “improve.” [shiver]

          In hindsight I suppose her being distant and wanting more autonomy might have had something to do with the several affairs she was carrying on in her secret other life.

          • Herein lies the difference between cheaters and chumps. A cheater will say ‘your insecurity is driving me away’. A chump will say ‘you are feeling insecure? How can I make you feel safer’? My first husband (the passive aggressive) had a talent for leaving dirty teaspoons in my newly cleaned kitchen sink within about 30 seconds of me lovingly cleaning and buffing it off. No big deal you would think, but how hard is it to take on board that the way to not make me pissed off would be to just rinse that teaspoon and put it in the drainer (hell, you wouldn’t even have to go the full hog and dry and put it away) – but, no – apparently noticing how sparkly clean everything surrounding the kitchen sink is, and being told ‘I’ve just cleaned that sink, could you not just rinse the teaspoon’ are way too much for some brains to process! (BTW – the lack of rinsed teaspoons wasn’t the reason for the break down of my first marriage, but as a tiny example of an ongoing attitude it might as well have been)!

  • This reminds me of an email I saw from STBX to OW. OW was complaining, as is typical, that STBX was spending too much time with me (this was before I filed, so the affair was “secret”). She was urging him to break with me and commit to her. His response? He took a picture of the family Bible, and made some reference to his father, who had a long-term mistress, following up with the rather sad comment that men in his family are doomed to love two women.


    Anyway, he’s never pleaded sex addiction. Apparently he’d like to think he’s a bigamist, not a cheater. Oh, and this is genetic.

    That said, I can get the “I want X” desire that a cheater might have. I lost a lot of weight by controlling what I ate, and am keeping it off by watching what I eat. It was and is tough to say no to things that you want, that you like, but that you know that you do NOT need because ultimately they are bad for you.

    The difference is that with food, I can balance things out. Going out to eat with friends? It’s fine to have cheesecake for dessert. I can be good for a few days afterwards to even things out.

    I can’t see how to balance out fucking several people and still staying married to a person I’ve promised to be faithful to. It’s not like monogamy is a 5 lb spread on the scale: okay to screw around on Saturday night as long as you’re faithful Sunday through Friday.

    If it’s really that hard to commit to monogamy, then get a divorce and stay single. Or find people who are okay with polyamory (but remember that they also value honesty within the shifting sands of those relationships).

    • On one side of my family there were three generations of men (that I know of) who have long term wives and long term girlfriends. Sometimes it does seem to “run in the family.”

      • What “run’s in the family” is the acceptance of this behavior which is learned by example. It’s not a genetic condition.

  • Just wanted to chime in with a plug for SOS–that site was a life saver for me! There is lots of dialog and comradery between women going through similar situations. Of course almost every newcomer (including me) goes there looking for hope/answers and thinking they are the exception rather than the rule. For some women the dose of reality provided by the stories and ongoing drama that is shared is too “negative”. What is so funny is that no one goes there because they hate their partners and want out–everyone goes there to find a way to stay. But evolution naturally flows in the direction of survival and self preservation so if you stick around the light bulb eventually goes on! If you are a woman going through this crap I highly recommend joining. It helped to get me unstuck and out! Not what I thought I wanted, but thank goodness. I am now truly happily ever after!

    • On behalf of SOS, thank you for that nice plug Bonnie! There are a lot of us who are members of both communities – chump nation and SOS. If you are curious, our founder JoAnn Russell has recently revamped the home page to include some great information. Feel free to check it out. Tracy, in the private, members only part of SOS we are having a “Chump Lady rocks” festival after today’s post. Thank you so much.

      • I have never heard of SOS- wish like I’d known about it years back! (Bit like CL, sigh) Thankfully I don’t need it now but it’s good that it’s there for others.

        • Actually, scrub that comment that I don’t need SOS now. I ‘ve just watched JoAnn’s Story (one of the videos) and I’ve found it really useful in reviewing what happened to me. She makes reference herself to the ongoing nature of healing- even after the drama is over. Much like here I guess….

  • Let’s just say “sexual addiction” is real. Then it follows these people are INCAPABLE of monogamy. Perhaps, then they ought not to be married? Or not be married until they demonstrate they are “healed”?

    We do not think it is okay to put accountants in charge of large sums of money if they are addicted to gambling with other people’s money. They are not left in such positions. The gambling addiction may be very real. That still does not mean we leave them in a place where they can do more damage. The physical, emotional, financial, social, and spiritual well-being of a spouse is worth more–in my opinion–than mere money. Makes sense to me that we do not put back the person in a position to squander those things again. It’s not good for them OR for the chump/family.

    But then I think logically like that…..

    • DM, excellent point!!! Even if it is a real addiction, remove the addict from the place where they could continue to do harm – the marriage and the family.

  • The majority of “sex addicts” do not see their behavior as a problem and don’t seek help for it until they get busted by their partner. In the meantime, they withdraw more and more, emotionally and physically, until the partner begins asking questions. At that point they start picking fights, gaslighting, and blame shifting in order to get the spotlight off themselves so they can continue their fraud. And that fraud includes misappropriating funds. I know women who’ve discovered that their children’s’ college savings have been spent on prostitutes.

    As CL says about cheaters in general, these guys are good at picking honest, well-intentioned partners who can hold down the home front and reflect well on them. They hide behind their partners, who help them present to the world as upright citizens and good family men/women. It helps them with their careers and it helps them socially. They can indulge in their seedy underworld and still come home to a loving family. They surf porn at work, sext in the car, meet strangers off Craigslist on their lunch break, then come home and coach their kids’ softball teams.

    It is an insidious form of abuse, a form of domestic violence. So, yes, there’s a whole industry out there devoted to helping these folks “recover,” and that recovery traditionally happens on the backs of their partners.

    Therapists don’t routinely encourage women to stay with batterers, so why is it they tell partners of “SA’s” to stick around, knowing the “prognosis” is grim and that relapse is expected. They encourage her, really, to risk her life and her emotional health. Why? Because, as I’ve said before, “SA’s” don’t stay in treatment unless there’s a partner to fool.

    • Taniarochelle:
      Exactly!! Why are we encouraged to stick it out, given the dismal and probably erroneous recovery rate?? It is emotional abuse. Plain and simple. And we stay, try to fix the unfixable and feel failure when it never works. I do not know of any success stories with “recovering” sex addicts. Maybe there are some, but I’ve never seen it.
      I think they want to do what they do. And to hell with you and the family. I went through 8 years of his false “recovery”. If you can even call it that. He had no intention of stopping. He just got better at hiding.

    • This is exactly what my STBX did. I was his “respectable” beard. I just didn’t know. I walk around dazed because I just can. not. believe. the depths of both his depravity and entitlement. Who is this person? When there is so much real pain in life, why would someone who “everybody thinks is amazing” choose to create this shitstorm for himself and me and our family? I have been a chump and I didn’t even know that was possible.

  • My stbx’s therapist told me that he doesn’t’ believe in “sexual addiction.” He’s been seeing him 2x per week for 2 years, and still I find porn and hook-up websites in his browser. My new therapist met with him for about 15 minutes at one of my sessions, and told me that she suspected some sort of personality disorder, and that IF he did get “better” it would be a long time, and a lot of work. I’m so done! I’ve come to the conclusion that if he wanted to change, he would have tried a variety of methods over the past 3 years. He hasn’t tried being transparent with me, and allowing open discussion about his obsessive thoughts. He hasn’t tried seeing a psychiatrist to get meds for OCD. He hasn’t tried eliminating “triggers,” or even bought a single book! Now, I’m not saying any of this would have worked; I’m just saying if he valued his family more than he wanted to fuck other people, he should have at least tried something different than counseling!!

    I do believe that a person can become addicted to sex, based on studies showing a correlation between increasing porn consumption and an increased sexual arousal threshold. Even before “sex addiction” became popular, I thought my stbx’s sexual appetite seemed more like a drug habit. It was difficult to explain to other people, but he seemed to need a “hit” to level him out, or he’d behave like a druggie without his drugs. I don’t think an “addict” label of any sort gives anybody a free pass, but rather that they need to do extra work.

    Sex addict or not, he didn’t do the work. I’m done.

    • It became increasingly clear, over time, that sex was not only a pleasure and a source of intimacy for my ex, it was a stress-management technique. I tried to talk to him about managing his stress better in other ways, too, and he did start going to the gym regularly, which helped.

      But I wasn’t even bothered by sex being a stress-reducer for him – as long as it was sex with ME. I’m convinced that the main reason he had this second affair (7 ys after the first, and I knew about both really really fast) was that he was working in another city, 4 days a week, very stressed by work, and hating being alone for that time. He was too fucking lazy to look for ways to manage the stress and loneliness, and to protect our relationship and our family. So when Schmoopie hit on him, BINGO! Lazy selfish idiot.

  • I commented about this on the thread yesterday. My ex was in sex addicts anonymous for about a year. What a bunch of bullshit. He is NOT a “sex addict.” He is a closeted gay who loves the thrill of cheating, lying and living a double life. Whether he is fucking a man or a woman, the real thrill comes from the sex being in some way immoral, illicit, dangerous or “dirty.” Even if he came out tomorrow and admitted he was gay, then found another guy to marry, he would STILL cheat, lie and manipulate, because THAT is who he really is.

    I realize now that he was still lying to me all the time while he was in the SA group, and in fact, I now suspect he was fucking other guys in the group. When he went to a gay bath house during that time and got a blow job, he claimed all the other group members were fine with this, and said it did not revoke his sobriety, because it was just a “test” of his self control, and that was okay. I believed that bullshit back then, but now I see it’s ridiculous. Obviously he never admitted the incident to the group.

    The way I see it, his year in that group was just another way he got some kibbles for awhile. I am sure he played up his “remorse” and “recovery” to the hilt in those meetings and got all sorts of attention and praise. But in no way did it change his behavior — not back then and probably not now. And that is because he does NOT WANT to change, he sees nothing wrong with his behavior and he loves the excitement of the double life.

    Bad habits are not “addictions.” I personally don’t believe in addiction outside physically addictive substances like smoking, drugs and alcohol. Porn, gambling, eating and the rest are lifestyle choices, not addictions. They may be very difficult habits to break, and they may be rooted in FOO issues or low self esteem, but that still does not make them addictions. And when it comes to “sex addiction,” that is really a character issue along with habit and lifestyle choice. Serial cheaters are lacking in good character, and probably a high percentage of them would qualify for a NPD diagnosis.

    But whether it’s a real addiction or not, one thing you can be sure of is that a “sex addict” is not going to change.

  • My stbx husband’s behavior fell into the sexually compulsive end of the spectrum. At first, I went along with all the 12 step, csat, “recovery” crap. What kept bothering me was the fact that he couldn’t have suddenly fallen into addiction. I’ve watched people become addicts (sex, drugs, and rock and roll), it takes several dips into that toxic pool to become an addict. It’s not like food or alcohol addiction. There’s no socially acceptable amount of heroin, crack, or infidelity. You have to decide that you are somehow exceptional and therefore not subject to the same rules that govern the rest of the world. He couldn’t claim addiction for the first few times he paid someone to touch his no-no square.

  • I don’t know about sex addiction, and agree with CL’s premise that it’s just an excuse, but I truly believe that in addition to personality disorders, my Ex had a sexual disorder or deviance going. I know this from how he treated me sexually, and from his articulated, expressed sexual fantasies to have sex with underage girls, and to commit acts of physical torture, abuse, humiliation and pain. Admitted porn use. Implied child porn use. Secret emails found later, after D-Day. Strange numbers all over the U.S. on cell phone records, found after D-Day. At any point had he stated he had an “addiction” or a problem and wanted treatment, I would have moved heaven and earth to help him. Instead he gradually got more and more extreme and I went along with it, indulging ever request until I ended up brainwashed. And yet still, it wasn’t enough – he was cheating serially throughout our entire 16 year relationship, culminating in my discovery of Schmoopie and my kicking him out that very night. God only knows what fate awaits this very, very, very sick man.

      • TheMuse – Your Ex is an Arsehole Extraordinaire, in many ways he reminds me of ‘The Great I Am’ – utterly driven by a pornographic, misogynistic unquenchable obsession with his sexual fantasy life. Was it an addiction? Who the fuck cares? What you and I both care about is that they carried on with their obsessions with absolutely no regard for us, yet expected, nay demanded, we went along with that bullshit unquestioningly and accepting every screwed up aspect of it. In the end, both your ex and ‘The Great I Am’ had the choice whether or not to make promises and commitments to us, and both these arseholes made the choice whether or not their promises meant anything to themselves. They both gave themselves passes on being honourable men. They both have to lie to themselves forever in order to justify their broken promises. I would lay bets that neither your ex or ‘The Great I Am’ would accept their attitudes and behaviours were abusive or misogynistic, I’m certain both would like to view themselves as better than that, but despite their pretzel bending justifications, you and I at the very least, know the truth. I really don’t care for their excuses – did they know what they were doing was hurting someone else? Then it was shite. Full stop.

        • Thank you, Jayne. No, my Ex certainly did NOT acknowledge anything he did was abusive. In one of our post dday discussions I said, I never wanted to do that stuff; he said, “those were just ‘innocent bedroom games'” – I said, NO, I felt abused by that! What did he say, “Well. sorry!” I said I felt like I wasn’t even there when you were doing that stuff to me. He then turned it around narc-like fashion and said “Aha! that proves you were never there for me emotionally! I was always trying to make an emotional connection with you, Muse, and you were never there for me!” I thought my head was going to explode. Yes. Sick. Sick. Sick.

          Yes: “carried on with their obsessions with absolutely no regard for us, yet expected, nay demanded, we went along with that bullshit unquestioningly and accepting every screwed up aspect of it. In the end, both your ex and ‘The Great I Am’ had the choice whether or not to make promises and commitments to us, and both these arseholes made the choice whether or not their promises meant anything to themselves. They both gave themselves passes on being honourable men.” Thank you! am cutting and pasting to save this awesome insight.

          • Muse – I often felt like he might as well have had a blow up doll there instead of me. ‘The Great I Am’ was obsessed with the idea of me having sex with another man while he watched. Initially, I was ok about it – figured ‘a bit of spice is nice’ – but when it became the ONLY thing that mattered to him when we had sex, I started to hate it. I told him I was starting to really not like it, but of course, that went in one ear and out the other. It even became yet another bizarro excuse for why he cheated – apparently, poor sausage, I’d duped him by being ok with it initially but then going off it. Yep, there you go – stand up on judgement day and give that as the reason you became a lying, cheating, backstabbing POS – why don’t you! And btw – he never, ever stopped (not once) using the ‘watching me have sex with another man’ fantasy – even after I’d told him I didn’t like it.

            Astonishing isn’t it! As we Chumps know, of course had he at any point said to me ‘Jayne your fantasy about such and such makes me feel uncomfortable and I don’t like it’ would have had me mortified and never, ever again would I have discussed it, never mind expected him to have sex with me to it!

            • Your experience sounds similar to mine. The blow up doll came to mind, many times. One of his terms of endearment was “you’re my little fucktoy!” that one was mild compared to some of the other bizarro things he used to say during sex. I was so brainwashed by this sicko. I used to tell him I didn’t like being called a whore and a slut. He said those were “good” things.

  • My ex-wife knew the sex-addiction argument was a farce.

    So instead…she claimed to have a “kundalini awakening,” or a “female chakra awakening.”

    Apparently, the “symptoms” are similar: acting on desires to f*** people other than your spouse. However, with my ex-wife’s “kundalini awakening,” the desire is just for one specific man…

    …who happens to be a coworker
    …who has a girlfriend and son of his own who conveniently live in another state
    …who doesn’t respect the boundaries of marriage.

    It’s fascinating how a kundalini awakening focuses on specifically THAT individual.

    It must have been scary and treacherous for my ex-wife to endure that awakening!

    • So that it what is going on with my STBX, a Kundalini awakening. I’m so glad to have a label for it now! He has the same symptoms as your ex, except his co-worker is married with children.

    • Kundalini Awakening???!!!

      Tracy, I know it’s only mid-March, but can we get JC an award here for reporting what has to be the biggest bullshit cheater piece of word salad of the year?

      Amazeballs. *AND* she expected you to buy it. #mindblown

      • To be fair, she only gave me this line 5 months after I’d already filed, and our divorce was almost finalized. This was just excuse number 3541 of why she was driven to cheat.

        • Boy, I shudder to imagine what other doozies she came up with. Kundalini awakening? Looool

    • Mine had a kundalini awakening too! What garbage! It was one of several “spiritual paths” he explored. All of these “paths” were justifications to do what ever he wanted on the grounds that being more enlightened than me meant that normal rules no longer applied to him. I had nearly forgotten the word ” kundalini.” God, I was stupid to put up with that crap.

  • Here’s my experience with the sex addiction label:

    The first MC we saw after dday used to work with sex offenders. I didn’t know that going in but it turned out great for her to have had that background. She immediately knew that cheater was still lying and completely lacked empathy. She forced him to confess to more women and years, then told me that he made her nervous to work with because he was SO good at lying. That’s when she referred him to a therapist that specialized in sex addition.

    The SA therapist was too easy on him, in my opinion, so cheater was able to lie to that therapist. Because of the lying, the SA therapist initially said that he wasn’t convinced that cheater was a SA. Cheater adamantly denied in writing that he was an SA or a narc. Then the confrontation between cheater and I occurred in the cheap motel parking lot where cheater admitted new info to me – that he had been inside with a prostitute and had been seeing prostitutes throughout our marriage. He also admitted that he was a SA when I asked him – then he immediately went straight to an entitled narc and began blame shifting everything on me. I met by myself with the SA therapist the next day where he, based on the motel incident, apologized to me and diagnosed cheater as an SA, narc, pathological liar, and likely sociopath. Cheater actually saw the SA counselor a few more times by himself (I was NC with him at the time) before quitting therapy because he didn’t agree with the diagnosis.

    Do I believe in sex addiction? Who knows. The only thing I know for certain is that he was a serial cheater, was cheating for the thrill of the chase as well as the sex, wasn’t looking to replace me, admitted to always having unprotected sex with these women and prostitutes, and wouldn’t put the effort into changing his ways. I also know for certain that I won’t allow behavior like that in my life so as my moniker says, bye bye cheater!

  • Yup, I was told he had a sex addiction. Nice try.
    I have a Ben & Jerry’s addiction, but it doesn’t result in breaking my marriage vows.

    To me, sex addiction (or any type of non-chemical addiction) is a manifestation/coping mechanism of some underlying issue. If you can treat the issue, wouldn’t that have better results?

    The problem is that a lot of cheaters have personality disorders, which are a hell of a lot harder to treat than mood disorders (anxiety, eating disorders, etc). The most you can hope for is that they learn ‘skills’ to help with the behavior. I don’t want to be married to someone who needs to be taught ‘skills’ to not cheat.

    Of course I’m making huge generalizations, but realizing that the odds were against me that my cheater husband could change helped me feel less guilty about walking away (and feel better about getting individual therapy to address MY disorder of feeling guilty about leaving a serial cheater and hence rely on my friends Ben & Jerry).

  • Thank god neither cheaterpant’s IC or MC put an addiction label on him. He’s always been a serial cheater, so I know it has never been about ME.

    He is a functional alcoholic, compulsive eater and binge dieter, porn viewer, liar, thief and cheater. NPD with sociopathic tendencies- that’s what the therapists say. Yay!

    • My therapist never saw X so would not put a label on him, however after listening to me for 3 sessions, first Q therapist asked was “Has X ever received any psychiatric treatment that you are aware of?” I said no. “Because that’s some fucked up shit,” therapist said.

      • “Because that’s some fucked up shit,” therapist said. – that’s pretty awesome! How great to have a therapist actually say that!

        • My therapist told me he was disturbed and a narcissist after I told him what he did to me this time. He later called him a sociopath and an asshole. When I told him about the message my x told me about on our computer regarding child porn he said he wouldn’t doubt that he was accessing it. X said it was a mistake. Recently he said he was stupid because of his antics during the court hearing. I have a better understanding of the discard this time around. Erasing his wife and family helps him obtain a new identity, a fresh start,a new improved mask. His jig was up. Everything is making sense.

          • Donna, I never received a “diagnosis” of narcissist or sociopath from my therapist but the reading list he gave me was obvious this was what he was trying to tell me. And yes, I’m convinced though I never found proof that he was into kid porn as well. When the mask fell off on D-Day, my Ex didn’t even try very hard just flipped a switch and started immediately pledging all fealty to OW, even said “One minute I was 100% committed to you, Muse, and the next minute I was 100% committed to OW.” Erasing, as you say, so easy to do for a Narc or s-path. My therapist also said “it is too late for a person like this to ever change.”

            • I was shocked by my therapists words initially. Disturbed narcissist? I needed that jump start.

  • // ,

    Hello, my name is Nathan and I have a problem. I have an honesty problem.
    I know it won’t be easy, and that I have been conditioned by my childhood and environment.
    Just because it’s hard, though, doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
    The world out there is big, bigger than I can imagine, filled with deception, fantasy, and delusions, and I have decided that I want to be a part of it.
    I recognize that I am powerless to deal with my honesty, and I submit to a higher authority, that of the universe itself, to help bring me to where I belong.
    I know that rigidity and being uncompromising are not part of me, and that they can be expelled.
    Thank you all for being a part of my journey away from my failings.

    • Anonymous, this is hilarious! Maybe THAT’s the problem, we’re just too rigid in our attachment to honesty. Perhaps we can all become narc cheaters, with time and a supportive group to encourage us!


      God grant me the dishonesty to hide the things I wasn’t supposed to do; the boldness to disclose that which I can blame on “addiction”; and the slyness to know the difference. Eating one cake at a time; Enjoying one bite at a time; Accepting two joint counseling sessions where I cry a few fake tears as the pathway to more cake; Taking, as is my wont, this sinful world as it is, which is just exactly how I like it; Trusting that the next hookup will make all things right when I find him/her/it on Craigslist; That I may be reasonably happy at home and supremely happy with whoever will suck my pecker at Motel 6.

      • Nomar, your post triggered a memory. Ex and I did the Retrouvaille program during our bogus reconciliation. During one followup meeting, ex got up to speak, and actually CRIED as he told all assembled that he had “broken his vows” but felt ashamed now and would never lie or cheat again. Believe me, he got a lot of kibble for that dramatic performance. And performance it was, because that lying fuck never had the slightest intention of being honest or stopping the cheating, he only wanted to reconcile so he wouldn’t have to pay support.

      • Nomar, this was a laugh I really needed on a crap day. Thank you.

        PS You should run for President. Just sayin.

  • The sex addiction industry is so damaging. It preys on people that are often in a state of shock, that have just had their worlds and reality blown to pieces due to their partner’s behaviors and choices and they are often desperate for a solution.
    Sex Addiction really consist of any or all of the following pathiolgies : Seriously embedded Narcissism, like NPD, BPD, attachment disorders,, splitting, dissociation, compartmentalizing, paraphilias , sexual deviance, misogyny, sadistic sexual perversions, perversions, creepy obsessive compulsive fetishes, a sever lack of a conscience, an inability for normal human relationship and authentic higher level human emotions. Many fall somewhere on the narcissist spectrum and are obviously character disordered..SA are also more likely than non sex addicts to be dealing with pathologies that fall on the psychopathic end of the personality disordered spectrum.

    The SA industry is actually playing around with something that is not benign or harmless. The problem that arises here is that your normal everyday conscious person with a good character and a healthy conscience and the capacity for empathy and attunment with others, can not even fathom what these disordered and disturbed people are capable of and more importantly what they are not capable of i.e. things like empathy and a conscience. So we project our own goodness, our own capacity for empathy and a conscience onto these SAs and assume that they are not capable of something disordered because we can not fathom doing these things ourselves. This is the reason so many chumps ask the question “but why”….. or “how could they”

    The SA industry selling people the idea that SA is a separate isolated disorder or disease that can be successfully treated is disturbing and WRONG. Claiming to be able to address and fix something that is actually known in most cases to most likely not be fixable is criminal . .. This is manipulative, predatory and amounts to fraud, Preying on persons that are already wounded and desperate by using fake scientific propaganda to sell them a false hope that is domed to fail and to even go a far as to blame shift these issues onto the wounded partner and to charge money to do this. Criminal.
    The SA therapist that promote the co dependent model are especially harmful and damaging.

    From what I have seen and experienced this so called SA diagnosis is actually more often than not a serious psychological and character disturbances that is NOT likely to ever change. Narcissistic people, character disturbed individuals including so called SA will most likely not change in any meaningful way and if they do change it is usually that they will very predictably become worse; they get more creepy more perverted, more abusive towards their partners, more arrogant and entitled feeling and much worse in many ways.. Therapist have to know that this is true. I am sure they see it play out every day in their offices because from what I have seen and heard it is the norm. It should be required that therapist have to inform the partners of these SA regarding the true reality of this.

    From personal experience spending thousands of dollars sitting in the SA reconciliation CULT LIKE support groups for SA and their partners and participating for a few months in XH’s SA therapy I can tell you this. It is not only a scam, a joke, and a delusion based pseudo science it is also very dangerous for the partners of these SAs.. . SA do not get better!!!!! They actually most often get worse and this is something that can also prove to be very dangerous for any unsuspecting partner that is trusting that the SA is in recovery when they are most likely not. Staying with a person that is diagnosed with SA is the same as staying with a person that is Narcissistic, NPD or Attachment Disordered or a much worse pathology Predictably deviant behaviors are a serious aspect underlying the SA label as well.

    To make it short and simple if your partner is diagnosed with SA …. RUN !!!!!! and do not look back. Spend your time, good character and money on something that supports you, The person capable of authentic relationship and empathy.will be harmed by participating in this sort of deluded therapy with a SA. Let the SA drown in his/her creepy little meaningless predatory world. and if they are so sure they can correct their behaviors and pathology then let them have at it. My money is on them going right back to the same old behaviors with zero remorse.

      • Martha, this is so well said. You are exactly right on all counts.


        ‘SA will most likely not change in any meaningful way and if they do change it is usually that they will very predictably become worse; they get more creepy more perverted, more abusive towards their partners, more arrogant and entitled feeling and much worse in many ways.’

        This was exactly my experience. Once my XH was supposedly not visiting prostitutes anymore, he became increasingly controlling to the point of abusive behaviour. His blame shifting became even more strident and he became very creepy and weird with our children, demanding that they sleep in the same bedroom with him and would follow them around the house like a puppy dog and not let them out of his sight. Indeed so weird that I had to get a social worker involved.

        Our sex addict couple therapist actually said to me, ‘once they are caught, it stops’. What was she thinking? That my XH was immediately going to get a character transplant after years and years of deception, lies and gaslighting. The wilful ignorance and endless trust these therapists place in SA is unbelievable and the criticism when wives don’t go along with it is unrealistically harsh and detrimental.

    • Bravo, Martha.

      One thing I said to my cheater was, “It’s all about you, isn’t it. It’s all about you when you go to these places”.

      And his guttural, Gollum-like response was, “Yes”.

      It is his precious.

          • That is true, Tempest. After 16 years, it was the two most honest things he ever said.

            I do believe admission to a having a personal deficiency in character is the first step in recovery. Whether you are a chump or a lying sack of shit.

            The hard part is walking the walk after such an admission.

      • Bravo! Martha for so eloquently explaining the futile attempts to even try to get an SA in “recovery”. They NEVER WILL RECOVER. They are disordered creepy people. They will continue no matter the consequence. I agree, just run. Don’t look back.

    • Thank you Martha. This was right on the money. What the SA “therapy” industry is doing to partners and families is nothing short of criminal and they are raking in a fortune doing it. They are the modern equivalent of snake oil salesmen.

  • I was just thinking about it, and the whole concept of a “sex addict” is just disgusting to me. These people just make their “junk” the entire center of their universe. It’s like they are little children who just discovered they had a penis or vagina. Most people go sex crazy as teenagers or young adults but they grow up. I can’t imagine just spending my whole day looking at porn, or texting married creeps on Ashley Madison but apparently there is a market for it. Unfortunately.

    • When the fog clears, and you get to meh, the level of perversion really hits you. I suppose it’s why I have such an aversion to the thought of dating or another relationship. I was permanently slimed.

      • Me too Einstein. I can’t even begin to imagine allowing anyone that much access to me ever again. I have serious trust issues, and sexual trauma from what has happened. I am happier just me and my kids than I ever saw with the disordered assclown.

        This one’s for you Six Year Chump…
        HELL to the NO!! FUCK that shit!

      • Thank you, Einstein, for the response I’m going to give when people ask me why I’m not dating yet.

  • This is timely. Where I work a young man who was in a very prominent position in our institution was caught posting ads on Craigslist looking to prostitute students offering federal funds in exchange for sex. He was trolling for both males and females. He was married to a smoking hot woman and had a beautiful family. He is sitting in jail right now facing several serious felonies. He got busted in a sting operation. A couple of people tried explaining his ‘sex addiction’ and to that I said a big BULLSHIT. I’ve been reading CL too long to believe that crapola. This guy is going to prison for his shit. Not only was it front page news in this city it also made national news. How nice for his wife and family. She filed for divorce and is no contact according to the paper. Good on her.

  • I believed in a man who could never take responsibility for his actions. I excused his alcoholism, drug use, porn addiction, and serial cheating. There are many who seek help and WANT to recover from their addictions. This to me takes a lot of courage and support. They fight their demons and openly admit to their weaknesses. The difference to me is that he never admitted HE had a problem. He never went for therapy. His therapy was to blame and justify his behavior on me. I have never been a name caller or a person who defines a person by their disorder. Narcissist serial cheaters can’t change their ways, just their partners. I feel strongly that people with addictions can get help and live productive lives if they seek help. Narcissists have so many layers of deception that addictions are the least of their problems. They are such disturbed unfixable individuals it’s understandable they never get help.

  • Wow, powerful quote from the article from Dr. David Ley cited above in CL’s post: “Nobody in history has ever died from wanting sex and being unable to have it. Wanting something that you don’t have and being dissatisfied, even sexually, is a condition that people around the world deal with every day. They cope with it without losing control, without lying, cheating and manipulating, and without proclaiming themselves an addict.”

    • Ya… U put your big boy pants on and u deal with it. Oh…. I see the error in my statement… Their big boy pants are usually around their ankles… My bad.

      • LOL, TheClip–not sure why they don’t just buy 1980s style ankle-warmers (think “Flashdance”) and save money on the jeans.

  • Then there are the sex addicts that pretend to be in recovery- they go to meetings, see therapists, etc. all the while still indulging in their behavior. They learn to hide it better, they fool their sponsors and therapists. And if little wifey says something is still wrong, guess who is the problem? Talk about a mindfuck. I know because I lived it for 6 years. And then after I busted him big time (my son stumbled on the motherlode, unfortunately) and filed for divorce, they all said, “THIS time he is REALLY in recovery. Wife is just crazy.” And then when I busted him yet AGAIN, they again said, “Now THIS time, he is REALLY in recovery. We SWEAR.”

    The whole sex addiction recovery business is a sick fraud. The only bright spot is that finally some resources like SOS and POSARC are becoming available to partners. Resources that explain what is really going on and what you are really dealing with. Chump Lady deserves some credit in this regard, too, because whether or not you believe in addiction (I don’t really care one way or another), sex addicts use many of the manipulative techniques that CL so brilliantly skewers. After you’ve been mindfucked for years by a sex addict and sex addiction therapists, having support to clear your head is incredibly important.

    • I found POSARC before I found CL, and I thank God every day that I did. That’s the first time I heard about the ‘trauma model,’ and it saved me months or even years of going the wrong direction in my healing.

  • The only way I’m buying into the existence of sex addicts is if it’s a synonym of a cheating, lying asshole.

  • One thing that bothers me about the RIC is that it seems to put a huge amount of emphasis on sex as the main indicator of a successful marriage. Sex is a fun thing, obviously, but I am in my fifties. I don’t want to act like I’m in my twenties. And a strong interest in sex, especially in older men seems to lead to trouble in a lot of these cases. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with it, but it’s just not a major goal of mine to have a lot of sex. Especially with a lot of different people. I just wonder if I’m weird or if other people feel this way too.

    • Oh no, not weird at all Juliet! In fact, quite the opposite. I think it’s all part of the whole youth culture thing we’ve got going on in today’s society.

  • I’m in my 40’s, and I feel like you do. Sex is fine and all that, but it is definitely not the be-all, end-all. I hate all the billboards and ads that scream “Have more sex!” “Have better sex!” “Look better naked!”, etc. It all seems way over the top.

    After my ex’s sex addiction was identified, my trauma and pain were never even addressed by the therapists, but you can be sure we had a sex plan. I can’t tell you how much more I was re-traumatized by the insistence that I have sex when I was nowhere near emotionally ready. When regular sex didn’t happen, I was blamed, even though he often didn’t initiate it, either- but that was my fault, too. He didn’t initiate bc I was too “critical and controlling” and he didn’t feel “safe” with me. The therapists took this shit seriously. It seems really laughable in retrospect.

    • That’s awful, Teri. I really don’t like therapists, even the relatively good ones. They are almost always on the side of the wrongdoers.

      • Not Juliet–you may just have had bad experiences. My therapist is terrific, our short-lived marital counselor was prepared to make X own his own behavior. I also work with therapists, and many of them are certainly not going to reinforce wrong-doing.

        If you can find someone apt, it can help.

  • Here’s a twist : check to make sure they really ARE CSATs. Carnes IITAP site has them publicized for US and Canada and he’s the only credentialing source. I learned the hard way. Paid $30,000 for a Canadian place, only wanted to do partner work with CSAT mostly because they have to be licensed therapist (master’s-level) for 5 years before earning that…I figured they at least therapists and would do no harm. This facility said they had SA Program and several CSATs. They LIED. But it took two months of hell dealing with them playing very similar games as my SA to cover their incompetence and a week that so duplicated my trauma from the past year I was numb from October until recently. Before I knew they weren’t licensed we asked for a refund because they did NO SA work…all CD 12-step camp, except my H really isn’t much of an alcoholic. The staff sent back a bunch of pretend SA treatment lines but they have no records ? They lied to the point of idiocy about me in ‘family notes’ so I wrote a 53-page packet, Nordstrom VISA is backing me and they just got that yesterday. We’ll see….
    Those who hate CSATS? Try spending a week with recovering addict counselors ‘protecting’ my H after he lied and they did the classic she’s crazy, he’s calm so dismiss her. Dealing with QUACK CSATs is like going to the hospital for an operation and realizing once you’re already cut open that there’s no trained professionals in sight and they are using kitchen utensils. Being a chump I never imagined a 12-step place would lie…so beware out there in SA-land. Check the site and make sure your CSAT is for real. They need to be able to factor in the personality disorders or you will be more hurt. Has anyone known an SA who was not on the NARC spectrum?

    • My ex was seen by a number of CSATs including those at The Ranch and Pine Grove (the Patrick Carnes Mecca) and was found not to be on the narc spectrum. They totally bought his lies, too. We spent $50k on The Ranch and countless more over 8 years, and he got WORSE. Just got better at hiding it and knowing how to fool the therapists.

      • $50 K. Jesus wept.

        Just imagine how much further you’d be ahead if that money could have been put to more productive use (like on a pitbull lawyer). I feel sick that you got robbed like that and that so many others get robbed as well, in more ways than one. Yeah, nobody can be helped who doesn’t sincerely want to be helped, but still. That’s snake oil!

        • I agree, FoolMeTwice- total snake oil. He actually went to The Ranch during the divorce, so I was paying the attorney as well. (Assets were not partitioned until final mediation.) He went there the advice of his CSAT, who had ignored my warning that he was still active (I had court-ordered access to his treatment professionals bc his behavior had impacted my son). Since the therapist was ignoring me, (here’s where it gets complicated) the ex of his swinger partner put spyware on his son’s computer. Swinger partner was using minor’s computer to plan orgies with my ex. When he was busted, his CSAT told him to check into The Ranch. They all swore after that that he was really in recovery, and the court system bought it.

          • The swinger partner was using her son’s computer to set up orgies? That is child abuse, plain and simple. Please tell me she did not get custody! I’m so sorry the court bought into your ex’s so-called recovery. How many ways can a person be chumped?

            My ex was/is also a S/PA, and he lobbied for a long time (unsuccessfully) for us to do threesomes/partake of “the lifestyle.” It’s like he’s trapped in some junior high sex fantasy. Well, he’s free now to fly his freak flag high, and my kids and I are enjoying our own lifestyle, which is drama-free and cheater-free. Even though striking out on my own put me in the hole financially, I am cheerfully digging my way out and am glad to be far, far away from all that. Some costs you can recoup; others, not so much. Big hug to you.

            • Thanks, FMT. Big hug back to you.

              Swinger partner lost custody of her kids over that.

              My divorce was final last summer, but our lives are far from drama-free, unfortunately. Everyone said that he would move on to the next chump (which he has, he was engaged and bought a new house more than twice what ours is worth before the divorce was even finalized. Actually, he was engaged twice during the divorce, from what I hear) and would then leave us alone. That has not been the case. We still have a ways to go before we get there (probably my son’s 18th birthday). It still beats living with him, though.

              • Also, my ex was trying to get standard visitation at the time we did the spyware thing. We were all there in court. He had his WHOLE family there. My inlaws had never been particularly kind to me. We came in with all the spyware printouts of his orgy planning. Just that morning, he had been going on about how he was “going to drop a bomb” on me in court while he masturbated with his swinger partner on the computer (we had copies of that, too). That was a pretty surreal moment. Suffice it to say, he did not get standard visitation.

  • Dog fuckers… Dead dog fuckers. And that should be tattooed on their foreheads.
    I was raised by an alcoholic mother and a father who couldnt keep his hands to himself… I am a poster child for self help groups. How I didnt grow up cutting up cats and storing them in the freezer… I dont know. Do I have some FOO issues ? You bet. Made bad choices? Yup… Did that too. I suffered two years at the hands of sex addict in my twenties… Was repeatedly raped and was treated for stds. Did my time in the chair at the psychiatrist.I have every reason to be bat shit crazy . Emerged fairly intact… Still no dead cats in the freezer. I am not surfing the net at 2 am while spankin my monkey… Married the wrong guy… Bred… And the rest as they say is history… Chumped.
    Addictions are one of the most insidiously damaging habits people can have. It polarizes families. It is a sore that never quite heals. And as everyone have pointed out… Its that persons responsibility to work it out .. Get treatment… And then work on repairing the damage done.
    Sex addicts in my opinion are a whole other breed of fucked up. … For all the reasons mentioned here and then some.
    ” the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” …. That is life with a proclaimed sex addict. It will always be the same… And u will go insane.

    • // ,

      I agree with Chumpion, KT, and Jayne.

      We can do better than the word “addicted” to describe these pitiables. “Addicted” is too general.

      All of us who have compulsive desires get over them when it’s right to do so, even our desires for air.

      If I had to swim underwater to rescue a child of mine whom I loved, I’d do it, even if I couldn’t breathe there.

      We have a compulsive desire for companionship and community, and yet scientists, technologists, etc., mad and otherwise, go through decades of isolating study.

      Photographer Igor Shpilenok, 52, spent seven months with the community of bears. Addicted?

      The bears are also addicted, by the way:

      Some have a compulsive, burning desire for what we see as justice, and it interferes with their lives, often unto death or poverty. Whistleblowers, Wikileaks users, I’m looking at you, you and your self-destructive behaviors.

      Some people, while young (I’m looking at you, 15-year-old males) have a newly discovered hormonal aggression. Which is usually handled by other means than hitting people.

      Speaking of which, teenagers, generally, behave like horrible people, in our society, at least. And yet, most parents do not use “Teen Escort Services” on their children, or have them carted off to Logan River Academy ( Most parents.

      Most of us, if hungry, wait until we can go to the store, or at least order a pizza, before we start gnawing off parts of our fingers that bleed. Most of us.

      Even cocaine users, for the most part, are capable of controlling their use, to some degree.

      I, for my part, have a nearly compulsive desire for solid reasoning. Does it interfere with other areas of my life? You bet.

      I know someone who can’t seem to stop offering his room to random travelers. He’s gotten more shrewd about it, but it seems much to me like a sort of sanctimonious compulsion.

      Those of us who haven’t yet decided to gray into the comfy La-Z-Boy of modern solipsism (oh, look, I found a quarter!) all have desires stronger than life, or, at least, a desire for such a desire. Not every desire powerful enough to interfere with or destroy my life is what most people would call an addiction.

      Some of the desires, the ones stronger than the rest of our life, are more complex, noble, and interesting than those of others.

      • I find your discourse on addiction intriguing, Anonymous Coward

        When one loses, family, home, job and finances to obtain a dopamine high, I think that pretty much sums up the meaning of “addiction” to certain vices.

  • Just a thought….. I have no experience in this at all so I have been reading all your stories feeling gob-smacked…

    So are all the people who are diagnosed or classed as sex addicts, married or in a relationship? I get the impression that there would be very few sex addicts in therapy who are single – they are simply promiscuous people sowing their wild oats or teenage boys….

    So it is only called an addiction if a partner is not happy with the situation? I can’t quite work it out. Sorry for being so thick.

    • I think the key part is the phrase “in therapy”. Sex addicts tend to feel entitled to their behavior and usually don’t go in for treatment (it’s the same for narcs and sociopaths, I think it’s fair to say). It usually does take a significant other to insist they get treatment. The addicts with whom I am familiar do tend to spend very little time being single. I’m not 100% why that is- they like the thrill of cheating bc it heightens the pleasure, they like the legitimacy of a having a “normal” relationship bc they can hide/don’t have to face up to who they really are, they want to have their cake and eat it, too… take your pick. But it would still be called “addiction” whether or not the partner minded the situation or whether or not there was even a partner. The “addict” just would not likely be in therapy.

  • Koru
    No expert here but it largely has to do with the pathology. Lets say I am addicted to cats. How does one separate the pathology from lets say interests / habit/ hobby. My partner may well support me in my endeavors to pick up stray cats… Own…5… 6…10. Set aside a budget for said hobby/ habit/ lifestyle. Pathology comes in if I am stealing other peoples cats… Draining not only my savings but my childrens college funds… And forsake regular activities with family and friends to pursue getting cats… Touching cats and feeding cats. You are consumed with that urge, feeling and it interferes with your ability to carry on a normal adult relationship. It interferes with work and you are now planning your day around your cat habit. You then carry your cat touching/ sniffing habit underground. And you are surfing the web trying to find cats in Indonesia.
    Will you die if you cant touch a cat… No. Will you make everyone around you suffer for your habit.. Yes.
    Its kinda like that.

  • Just read thru all the comments this morning and wanted to add a couple of things to mine.

    Regardless of what any counselor or reconciliation guru might say — you have to choose and feel comfortable with any recovery FOR YOU. I truly believe that co-dependency is a real thing — especially for my mother’s generation and my generation. Here’s why — we were lucky enough to come along at a time where we were allowed to become educated and to work outside of the home. Because of this mental awakening and the ability to earn our own income — we were able to operate independently from the spouse. This independence led us to recognize cognitive dissonance in our lives. I grew up hearing pithy phrases like “you made your bed, now lie in it” and “stand by your man” and “you have to serve as an example” and “never talk in a negative way about your family to anyone outside the family.” This type of training, and the cultural limits placed on women prior to this time (women don’t need to go to college, women don’t become doctors, lawyers, etc) create VERY frustrated women. You have enough sense to realize that you have intelligence and are capable — but you are told by your cultural influences that what you are seeking IS NOT YOUR PLACE. You should look to your husband to support you and you should sacrifice your goals to support his. Believe me when I tell you (this is for younger women who might be incredulous at all this) THIS SUBCULTURE IS STILL ALIVE AND THRIVING. I have had to deal with it in the workplace all my adult life. I am looking forward to retirement because I won’t have to put up with this kind of crap anymore — I am sure I can find volunteer work to fulfill my need to work and be useful, without having to rely on and defer to some jerk who controls my paycheck. Because I was trained to be co-dependent, in order to be “a good woman” — I had to learn and work on ways not to be an enabler and not to be co-dependent.

    The big difference between my problem and the “addiction” of my spouse was that my problem did not endanger his life. My problem did not use marital resources to satisfy carnal desires. My problem did not destroy marital vows. My problem was fixable. I recognized it, and I took steps and did all the hard work to fix myself. I didn’t sit around whining “I am a victim,” or “I am powerless to fix my own problem.” I am not a victim, and I fixed my own problem. I am angry for all the brilliant and capable women who live in this world and who are routinely treated like second or third class citizens, and who are patronized daily. I have no patience for anyone who cannot see that this repression has gone on for centuries, and who is crazy enough to believe that civil rights actions in the last 50 years have fixed everything. What has happened in recent history is JUST A START.

    The difference between a disorder like SA, if it actually exists, and a disease like cancer, is that NO ONE CHOOSES to have cancer. No one volunteers for a life changing auto accident. Addictive disorders generally can be traced back to a point of origin, and if the addict WANTS to treat the illness and get better, there is work that can be done. If the addiction has developed along with a personality disorder, such as Narcissism, it will most likely never be “cured.” You were likely lured into a relationship with one of these folks because they are cons. They want something you have — a lifestyle, respectability, the appearance of normalcy, your money, etc. They act a part to seduce you into compliance. They are criminal, in my opinion, because they do steal your material resources, and they do damage your spirit and your soul in ways that scar you forever. You can recover from being with them by getting away from them, and by reevaluating the way you choose to live your life and pick your partner(s). You may never want to take the risk again — and that is certainly understandable.

    Unfortunately, age does not improve these folks. They may not be as physically attractive as they once were, and they may develop physical problems, like Erectile Dysfunction or other health issues. This will not stop them from finding other people who are willing to provide them with sexual pleasure. It will, and always has been, All About Them. They are like criminals who may be punished for various crimes, but who never consider living a crime free life. They just get creepier and more devious, and better at hiding their crimes. My advice would be stop looking for a cure for what ails them, and start looking for the nearest exit YOU can take to get away from them. The life you save might be your own.

    • Oh.Em.Gee.

      You just summed up my whole experience with stbx. This: “You were likely lured into a relationship with one of these folks because they are cons. They want something you have — a lifestyle, respectability, the appearance of normalcy, your money, etc. They act a part to seduce you into compliance. They are criminal, in my opinion, because they do steal your material resources, and they do damage your spirit and your soul in ways that scar you forever. You can recover from being with them by getting away from them, and by reevaluating the way you choose to live your life and pick your partner(s). You may never want to take the risk again — and that is certainly understandable.”

      Spot on. Now that he knows I have filed, he suddenly hasn’t been around. I assume he’s trying to avoid signing the paperwork; why, I don’t know. But, as I look to the future, I’m not sure (this is my second marriage) I will ever take this risk again. It’s just not worth it.

  • A few days ago, I thought to myself – I’d love to hear Chump Lady’s take on “Sex Addiction”… seriously. Came out for a visit to the site, and was like… BAM. Love it. Thank you. How true it is – what anyone wants to label it – doesn’t matter – because it doesn’t apply to me. So call it whatever the fuck you want, I’m not it. And poor character choices do not equal addiction.

    I kept saying this to myself even in the throws of all the bullshit Carnes therapy, I trusted that he, in fact, sucked. Deep down, I knew this was his problem, not mine. And I got real fed up with the “work on my own issues” bullshit. The entire workbook is doublespeak to keep you stuck. It’s not your fault, but be sure to work on your issues. What the what???? I still can’t figure that one out.

    I don’t feel there is sufficient evidence to support that I am any kind of raging co-dependent. I’ve looked. I’ve studied. I’ve taken the online quiz. I got the fucking t-shirt. OMG, I didn’t need an online test to tell me that I’m a nice, decent person with empathy for others. You’d think that was the very definition of co-dependency, according to Carnes.

    It comes down to this: I was duped. I was fooled – I was indeed, chumped. This whole situation doesn’t make ME anything… it only proves that my partner lied to me and pretended to be somebody he wasn’t. But here’s the kicker. I still caught it. I still fucking caught it. I think it makes me a goddamned saint to even allow him the good fortune of oxygen – certainly NOT co-addicted.

    After 8 months of chasing my tail in therapy – when I FINALLY said fuck this shit, got my balls out my Prada bag and brought that attitude to the therapist (certified ASAT) – calling both of them out and demanding accountability from everyone in the room, I got shut down. I mean ugly emails, demands to show up to therapy to “work things out”… exit interviews, group exit strategy, paperwork, non-disclosure signings… and seriously told how I was ruining all the “good work” – everything!

    Yup – I was ruining her paycheck alright. She was better at crazy-making than my husband. As a self proclaimed recovering sex and drug addict, she knew all the right moves. When I unceremoniously left the practice, she was furious. I think this clearly smacks of a money-making scam.

    Walk away from the crazies.

  • Sex addiction is balony. It doesn’t exist. Dr. Darrely Ray has spoken about this at length. Sex addicts are almost always self diagnosed or partner diagnosed (e.g. “I want to sleep around, poor me, I’m an addict” or “my partner wants it more often than me, he’s an addict”). There is no diagnosis, no definition, nothing. The only constant is a religious background that demonizes sex. You think about sex? Your an addict. You like sex? Your an addict. You actually HAVE sex? Dear god, your an addict.

    Soemone who starts sleeping around because the partner is unavailable for whatever reason and masturbation doesn’t cut it is not a sex-addict. That person is a dick. It’s just that it is so handy to have something to point at and go “not my fault, can’t blame me”.

    Whenever there is an actual problem with people who are “diagnosed” sex addicts it almost always turns out to be a psychological problem of a completely different kind.

    There is zero scientific evidence fo SA even though a lot of people like to act as if there where.

  • Oh, my fuckity-fucked-up word!!!! I can’t believe we Chumps can be so easily Chumped again due to this crazy Sex Addict BS!

    My “boyfriend” (let me affectionately refer to him as “Fuckknuckles”) of 4 years cheated on me for the whole 4 years! He mostly used “hookers” (Backpage & Craigslist, before they shut them down), but he had been stuffing an old girlfriend in Florida whenever he could. Two of those times, I actually took him to/from the airport and babysat his dog while he went to fuck her and a girlfriend of hers (but, according to him, the threesome never materialized any of the times it was attempted, so he was left just fucking her). So, once I found their instant messages, and two POV blow job videos starring, you guessed it, Fuckknuckles, I asked him if he ever cheated in our relationship. He lied and lied and lied. I had an appointment at the vet to euthanize my old Lab so I left to go do that, and I had to endure hours filled with one lying text after another from that POS!

    Soon, he began declaring his selfish, thoughtless, and potentially lethal behavior was due to being a sex addict! Had to be! After all, he had been an alcoholic, so it all makes perfect sense!!! Initially, I started buying into it, because there is so much on the internet supporting it. When asked if he thought about me or the risk he was taking when he fucked women, he said he never did. Likewise, when I asked him if he ever thought how I might feel if he was caught, he said, “No.” But, he said he felt guilty and remorseful after he fucked them. I didn’t buy it. I figured he just didn’t think about me or the consequences so he could better enjoy fucking the women.

    But, then I started thinking and asking questions down a different path. Since he travels about 2/3-3/4 of the year for work, I asked if he ever fucked a co-worker. He said, “Never.” I asked if that was because none of them appealed to him (he is definitely attracted to slutty-looking women, according his “friends” on Tagged). He said, “No. it was because of work.” I said, “Oh! You made a conscious decision to never fuck anyone who worked for YZ?” He said, “Yes.” Imagine my surprise when he HIMSELF blew-up the entire “I can’t control myself because I’m a sick dog maniac” bunch of BS!!! Hahaha! What a fucking idiot! Yeah, if he can control his sexual compulsion enough to place co-workers off-limits, then he could surely control them enough to place skanky-looking hookers (and a few hook-ups that were free) off-limits! I am sick of this lying, cheating POS further victimizing me by trying to garner sympathy from me by claiming he is a sex addict. He doesn’t get that I will never go back to him, so the next step is NO CONTACT!

    Please don’t buy this fantastic load of crap, fellow Chumps! Get out quick before he/she talks you into going to therapy with the Shyster, because the next thing that will happen is you’ll get a whole load of crap dumped on you for being a facilitating codependent to his/her actions!

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