Dating a Sex Addict

Posted on May 19th, 2013

Sex addiction is a complicated thing. Many experts would even refrain from using the term addiction, as they believe it applies to substance abuse only. However, all experts would agree that it is possible to become obsessive about sexual behaviors and to have a strong and destructive compulsion to seek out sexual activities. Some professionals prefer to call this hypersexual disorder.

Whatever it is called, a sex addiction is similar to other addictions. A drug addict seeks out drugs compulsively. Even when his drug use results in losing his family, losing his job, getting in trouble with the law, and developing other major problems, he still needs the drug. The same is true with someone who has a sex addiction. He seeks out sexual activities regardless of the problems they cause. So, is it possible to recover from such an unsavory addiction? And, is it possible to date a man who struggles with the compulsion to seek out sex at any cost?

Treatment and Recovery for Sex Addiction

Unfortunately, research into effective treatments for sex addiction is scarce. However, there are professionals with expertise in treating a variety of compulsive disorders like hypersexual disorder. Some even specialize in sexual disorders. The key to getting past a sex addiction is to seek counseling from an experienced professional and to follow a plan for recovery. Anyone serious about recovering from sex addiction can be successful with therapy, support groups, and even medications for obsessive compulsive disorder and other impulsive disorders.

What Is a Sober Sex Addict?

When talking about addiction to substances, sobriety means completely giving up the substance. For instance, a recovering alcoholic who has reached sobriety does not drink at all. A drug addict in sobriety no longer uses her drug of choice. What about sex addicts? Do they have to abstain completely to be sober? For this type of addiction or compulsive behavior, sobriety is not as simple. No longer having sex at all is not realistic for most people. Sobriety for a recovering sex addict is personal and varies according to need. For instance, for one person it may mean no sex outside of a committed relationship. For another, it may mean giving up one particular sex act that brings on feelings of shame.

Is it Possible to Date a Sex Addict?

As with any other kind of addict, it is possible to date a sex addict, but it is not easy. Dating a sex addict who has not yet gone through treatment is definitely not recommended by many experts. With any kind of addiction, the addict has a lot of personal work to do. He needs to recognize his problem, get help, work through treatment, and get to recovery. Someone at this stage needs to focus on himself, not on a relationship.

Dating a sex addict in recovery is another story. It will not be easy, but you can date a man who is a sober, recovering sex addict. Do not go into it blind, though. You should understand what kind of relationship you are getting into and what the challenges will be. If the man you are dating is honest with you and tells you early on about his issues, you are off to a good start. Honesty is the first necessary ingredient for a successful relationship. If you are thinking of getting involved with a man who is in recovery from sex addiction, here are some tips to help you cope:

  • Be open. If he has been honest enough to tell you about his addiction and recovery, you need to be honest with him as well. Open communication will help you trust each other. Tell him when you feel uncomfortable and be ready to talk about it.
  • Get support. Having supportive friends or family members around is important. However, it is also very helpful to have the support of other women who understand your situation. There are support groups for the loved ones of sex addicts. Consult with your partner’s therapist to find one.
  • Create boundaries. Your partner should already have some boundaries in place. These would have been set in treatment. For instance, if he used to find sexual partners at a particular bar, he should now avoid that location. Make sure you know what his boundaries are and suggest others that will help make you feel comfortable.
  • Avoid hovering. Setting boundaries is important for a new healthy relationship with a sex addict, but so is trust. You may struggle to trust him initially, but you cannot hover over him constantly and monitor his comings and goings. This will only lead to problems.

Recovering from sex addiction is not easy. If you have feelings for someone who is in recovery, do not let the fear of betrayal or relapse hold you back. A recovering sex addict has done the hard work and is ready to be trusted and to be in a committed relationship.

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Some facilities, including SRI, offer online services for sexual addiction treatment patients and partners on the phone or via webcam. Nearly all of the 12-Step sexual addiction programs also provide online support group meetings and weekly sexual recovery chats.
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