(Liz - Halifax)
Wondering if your partner has a sex addiction?
I am in a lesbian relationship and am beginning to think my lover may need sex addiction therapy. She is relentless and obsessed with having sex. Don't get me wrong, in the beginning it was exciting, but it’s gotten to the point where that's all she wants to do and if I'm not into it she masturbates or turns to porn for gratification. How do you know when someone has a higher than normal sex drive as opposed to needing professional help?
Keeping yourself and your partner sexually in sync is one of the big challenges in any relationship, so kudos to you for looking at the option of sex addiction therapy and whether it can help improve your situation.
Like any other addiction, sex addiction has the hallmark of compulsiveness. By that, we mean the person is thinking about sex–or engaging in sexual activities–to the exclusion of anything else in their life by neglecting loved ones, work, hobbies, and so on. Your fears are not unfounded; one study of sex addicts found that 40% reported losing their spouse and 70% indicated severe relationship problems.
So what can you do? First of all, we hope that the doors of communication are open with your lover and this is something you can talk about. You can make her aware of your concerns, and she can express hers. Then, a little ‘net surfing will lead to surveys and and/or websites that you can look at together with the goal of seeing whether she fits the profile of a sex addict. You could also use book resources to attain similar information. If she’s not willing to participate in these efforts, go ahead yourself so you can get the best information and figure out how it applies to your relationship. Or you might explore whether she is willing to do this kind of exploration with a qualified mental health professional.
If it turns out that she might be addicted, you’ll need to agree on the next step. Best case? She will find a sex therapist or qualified mental health professional who can help her (and keep in mind that sex addiction is often a coping mechanism to deal with childhood trauma, combined with unstoppable compulsion that can escalate over time; the addict tries to obscure pain, memories and anxiety by replacing them with something that feels good). You may be involved in joint therapy as well.
If your partner doesn’t agree there’s a problem, you’ll have to decide how much this relationship means to you. You could get therapy to help you cope with her addiction, but if she continues on as she is, the stress may ultimately undo your bond.
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