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My Soldier is a Sex Addict

sex-addictWhen I first thought about what addiction looked like, I definitely did not picture my husband. I pictured someone strung out, jobless, no life, unwilling to stop their behavior to spare their family the pain. Then it invaded my home. It was my husband, my son’s father, the person I pledged forever to.

My husband has been battling sexual addiction, and for the past seven years we have fought to save our marriage and this crippling disease. A disease rarely spoken about.

My Soldier is a Sex Addict…

Six years ago woman’s intuition kicked in and something deep in my gut told me to look at my husband’s phone. Nothing could prepare me for what I saw. He was cheating on me, at least what I would define as cheating. He was having what is now labeled as a “sexting” relationship: fantasy, pictures, descriptive language. It broke my heart. After confronting him, he admitted the wrongdoing and claimed nothing physical ever happened. I didn’t want to end my marriage; we tried to work it out. Until the next time it happened again, then the time after that, and even the time after that. It seemed like a cycle that I just kept falling into and couldn’t get out of.

He had spent tens of thousands of dollars on pornography, had countless relationships and every time an incident happened, it became more serious than the last one. Then one day I found him in a relationship where he claimed how much he loved her, how he wanted to make her happy, how he wanted to be with her and live happily-ever after.

That did it for me. I said get help or it’s over!

Reading this you’re probably thinking “How can she be so stupid? Why didn’t she walk away?” You’re probably right. So many times I thought I should leave, too many in fact. But by this last time, we had a son together and most of the time we were happy. These relationships were strangers, no physical contact and no sex. How could I divorce him when he didn’t physically cheat on me? Shortly after, he deployed and for the longest time we didn’t speak, until one day when he contacted me with a plea, something I haven’t heard before: “I need help.” I’ve heard the “I’m sorry” and I’ve seen the tears, but never has he admitted that this is a real problem. So now we are facing a long road of treatment, recovery, and the tough decision of whether to stay together or not.

Now onto another problem. We recently have come out and told some of our friends, family, and even our military community. So I am addressing the stigma that surrounds this because I have heard just about everything: “You don’t give him enough sex,” “He can choose not to do it,” “It’s just porn, it’s a guy thing,” “No one’s getting hurt, why care?”

So, let’s get started…

sexual-addiction1You don’t give him enough sex: This is not about sex. This is an impulse that is about the attention they get; a feeling of being wanted and the excitement that they get from it. One example occurred after we had sex, he had messaged one of the girl’s he was talking to. It isn’t about a sexual response or about gratification. My husband describes it “like any other addiction, it is very much about a state of feeling. Drugs cause the brain and the body to feel a certain way and to get these ‘highs’. The same is true for sexual addictions.”

He can choose not to do it: This one I still struggle with myself, but the truth is that it is just like any other drug, any other addiction. It is an urge to get that chemical release of excitement in the brain. No one questions if an addicted gambler is really addicted. Yes, the gambler can avoid walking into that casino; yes they have a choice, but it’s still an addiction that they have to fight every day. Until they get the tools to do so, they are subject to the disease.

It’s just porn, it’s a guy thing: This one blows my mind. Sure, it’s a single guy thing. If you ask any wife out there if she minds that her husband looks at porn and she says no, she is a liar. How could you be okay with your husband looking at another woman and thinking about her to get off? The answer is you can’t and anyone that wants to throw that up to “a guy thing” couldn’t possibly understand that because chances are, they aren’t married.

He isn’t hurting anyone, why care?: I heard this one, and thought, SERIOUSLY?! I could almost live with him just looking at images, but imagine opening your husband’s phone to see him tell another woman he loves her. It’s gut wrenching, a feeling I can’t possibly compare to any type of pain I am familiar with. For people to excuse this behavior, to try and explain it away, is absolutely horrible.

When I told my husband I was writing this article, I asked if he had anything to include. This is what he said, “Sexual addiction takes many forms: infidelity, pornography, adultery, lustful conversations, use your imagination. The outcomes are the same; they affect our minds, our bodies, and our relationships. I struggle with sexual addiction and have for years. The damage that it has caused my marriage, the pain I have caused my wife and other close family cannot be measured. In the military culture, these things are widely accepted and, in many cases, praised among peers. The truth is, this cannot continue, we must make an attempt to change the status quo.”

This is hard. Hard to admit, hard to put my family and marriage in the court of public opinion, but I am hoping to raise awareness for sexual addiction in the military, to fight the stigmas and to help people realize that this behavior is not okay. You are hurting the people who love you. This fight is personal to me and I don’t want to be a victim of this illness anymore. The fight starts today, here.

 

Disclosure: If someone you love is struggling with sexaholism, check out S-anon, a 12 step support program for the friends and families of sex addicts.


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21 thoughts on “My Soldier is a Sex Addict”

  1. This illness is real, the fact that he accepted that he has a problem and is willing to work through it, says a lot. Thank you for sharing this story, you are a very brave woman. I know this can't be easy. God bless!

    1. Yes it very much is. I want to help to stop that, to try and help others. No it isnt easy and I would hardly consider myself brave, but it needed to be said!

  2. About 2 years ago I attempted to research and write an article regarding sex/porn addiction as self medication for PTSD. I contacted multiple sources and avenues at VA with no results or reply. I believe it is a real and pervasive problem for Veterans. A dark little secret no one wants to shine a light on. Thank you for the courage to speak up on your personal experiences, if more Service Members or family members would come forward maybe the stigma would lower and more Vets and family members would seek treatment.

    1. That it what I am trying to accomplish, but with such a stigma, we are afraid of career repercussions.

    1. Thank you, I want to help to stop that, to try and help others. No it isnt easy and I would hardly consider myself brave, but it needed to be said!

  3. Hi there. My heart goes out to you and your family. You and your husband are very courageous to have this conversation openly with the world. It’s not easy to talk about things that hurt us all. May God bless you and your family. May you and your husband be blessed with strength, love, kindness and most of all support from our fellow military members and families. I’ll have you and your family in my prayers to get you all through this difficult time. Stay positive and be there for one another no matter what. ♡

  4. While I can agree with a lot of this, the porn thing isn't true. I can see how and why it would bother some women, but as a woman who also views porn, I can actually see it from the other side. And, frankly, I thing is a confidence and self esteem thing. I can do something that porn can't; you see, I'm real. I can really have sex, a porn is just something he can watch. So, to each their own, but don't try to speak for every woman; you can't.

    1. Nicole, thank you for your comment. I do think that she was speaking more on the terms of an addictive pornography problem. This doesn’t have to do with the sometime viewing of porn. I know many women who watch it with their husbands, and then there are those husbands who watch it alone. But when you start to let it control your life and hurt those around you, then it becomes a problem. Either way, I don;t take offense to this, I know she isn’t speaking for us all, just reflecting on the main issue of addiction here.

    2. Nicole, Angela is right. There is looking at porn together, as a couple, for pleasure. And then there is addiction, controlling you, and having relationship repercussions. And it isnt just porn, thats just the beginning of this. Porn led to relationships, led to lying, led to marriage deterioration. Its not as simple as your making it.

  5. Nicole, thank you for your comment. I do think that she was speaking more on the terms of an addictive pornography problem. This doesn't have to do with the sometimes viewing of porn. I know many women who watch it with their husbands, and then there are those husbands who watch it alone. But when you start to let it control your life and hurt those around you, then it becomes a problem. Either way, I don't take offense to this, I know she isn't speaking for us all, just reflecting on the main issue of addiction here. Thank you for giving your opinion on the issue.

    1. I am so sorry for your situation. We are on 7 years. I wish there was more I could do. I can only hope that by telling my story that more women will change their situations.

  6. I don’t want to speak on behalf of any women out there who enjoy pornography with their significant other or alone, or don’t mind that their s.o. views it with them or alone, but I want to bring out the real crux of the issue with me and my soldier: Porn has been a replacement for me, not a supplement. That’s why it’s hurt so much. It’s affected our sex life, and not in a good way.

    My personal views on pornography are fairly cut and dried: I don’t trust the industry to have their involved workers’ best interests at heart, and consent is impossible to know from the packaging of the porn. It says they’re 18. Ok, maybe they are. It doesn’t say they’re not strung out on drugs, or coerced in any way. Sex trafficking is a real problem, and it riddles the porn industry. I want no part of that. So I don’t risk it. I won’t even tell my own husband how to feel about pornography. I just don’t want it to be a substitute for me.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I’m going through the same issue and it’s harder and more complicated than people can imagine. It’s ugly. my husband is a veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan, we weren’t together for this but started our relationship a few months after he returned. We’ve been together for 4 years and this is the third time I’ve caught him sexting someone although claiming he’s never met up with these people and also has porn issues. He also has PTSD and believe this behavior was picked up during deployment, he’s seeking professional help now, and I’m going to get therapy of my own, at this point I’m not sure if should stay it’s heartbreaking for the other person in the relationship and I’m not sure if can deal with it anymore. really appreciate your article and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

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