My Partner and Sex or Pornography Addiction

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My Partner and Sex or Pornography Addiction

I hear from the spouse or partner of a person with a sex or pornography addiction quite frequently. “I found a lot of porn on {his} computer and I don’t know what to do.” or “{He} cheated on me and he says it’s an addiction but I just don’t know.” (The “He” or “his” are in quotes because I typically hear from women in this instance, but 40% or more of the people with a sex or pornography addiction are women.)

There’s often skepticism about sex or pornography addiction – is it really an addiction or did he just get caught doing something he’s not supposed to so he says it’s an addiction?  Great question to consider. Let’s consider it.

Often with an addiction there isn’t a “first time” when someone gets caught. I hear from guys that they’ve been online or had many one night stands or been chatting and sexting for a long time before they get caught. That’s not necessarily good news, but if it’s a sex or pornography addiction the guy doesn’t do it once and he struggles to control the impulse.

There are also “markers” that are usually present for a person with a sex or pornography addiction. Sadly, the person was usually exposed to sex or sexually explicit material or some form of sexual abuse at an early age. I hear about exposure at 5, 6, or 7 years of age. Dad’s magazines, an older sibling, etc. Sometimes it’s abuse, other times it’s unsupervised looking at magazines or watching videos. There’s something about the connection between a sexual experience (other than abuse) and the good feelings it naturally brings about and the guilt or shame or non-understanding that occurs at an early age – it feels good and it feels bad at the same time. Confusion sets in and a neural pathway is created that is out of context with “normal” sexual activity.

There are other markers that I’ll work with my clients to identify that are less observable and more subtle. The presence of these markers doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a sex or pornography addiction – it means an addiction is possible. Clinical judgement and discussions with the client are needed to validly assess addiction.

For a general assessment to sex or pornography addiction, the questionnaire on my page “Pornography Addiction” is a good first pass to see if you have what might be termed an addiction. But, be aware that this questionnaire alone is not diagnosis.

I hope this helps understanding sex or pornography addiction. For a true assessment call or set an appointment if you’re in the Kansas City area or find a therapist near you who focuses in sex addiction or pornography addiction.

About the Author:

Dan Gabbert holds a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology from Avila University in Kansas City, MO. Dan is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Certified Sex Addictions Therapist (CSAT), a rigorous certification issued by The International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP).