My story - am I a sex addict?

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by whyte, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. whyte

    whyte Fapstronaut

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    My wife has labeled me as a sex addict.

    In the earlier part of my life, I experienced what I thought was pretty typical of most guys:

    - peeking at my brother's playboy magazines
    - experiencing a x rated movie with some college friends (this was in the days when there was no internet, cable, or suggestive shows on television), this was a 1 time event in my life, never went again
    -when we went to NYC, we checked out Times Square once (pretty raunchy back then)
    -for the next 10 years, other than a sporadic strip club with friends (1 or 2 times a year), nothing else

    There was never any magazine subscriptions, movies, or per-occupation with pornography or sex.

    Once the internet arrived, access to pornography was right at my fingertips and free. Like a lot of people, curiosity led me their.

    Over a 20 year period, at it's least, it was an occasional PMO. This was often a way of relieving stress. At it's very worst, a few hours on a given day. There were no paid sites, saved pictures/movies, web cams, or anything beyond watching an occasional movie clip at that time.

    During the last several years, my interest in this waned. Often when watching, I would ask myself - why am I looking at this stuff? Many times, I would not be aroused and I felt bored at times. During this period of time - there was a tremendous amount of stress at work and home (unhappy wife because I was not home a-lot, intimacy issues throughout the marriage, the stress of dealing with aging pets, and trying to develop some type of plans for down the road. My wife was struggling with depression and several physical problems. Our conflicts persisted and the divorce word became easier to say and consider over the years.

    During the last 5 or 6 year, I engaged in person encounters with women in I contacted (information on line). They advertised under the "body rub,"
    category.

    I did this 6 times, and used a burner phone. I had 3 of them, because I discarded them afterwards, expecting never to do it again. I realized it was wrong and did not expect to do it again.

    Eventually, I disclosed to my wife. This came in the setting of a 1st time depression that got as serious as depression can get. By that time, I hadn't had any "rub" encounter for 8 months. I was still looking at porn, but significant less than I had in the past. I was filled with guilt and shame.

    Since then, I have received treatment and have been porn free. I am better than what I was, but not back to where I need to be.

    This behavior was unfair to my wife and wrong. It damaged our marriage forever. Everyone has their faults. There is nothing she ever did that was deserving of this. She provided me with love, support, and companionship throughout or marriage. She is here for me today and is paying a big emotional price for it.

    To date, I have not looked at any pornography for close to 8 months and have not had any of those personal encounters > 1.5 years. I have no desire to do so.

    I am still being treated for depression, although better. The doctors think I had untreated depression for many years. I do believe that because over a period of years I had lost interest in things I enjoyed, stopped caring about things, and took risks with out regard to the potential repercussions on myself or others.

    In retrospect what do I think might contributed to this series of events:

    - a difficult early life complicated by limited family support, a serious illness in early adulthood, and shyness ( very limited social life - prior to my wife I had only slept with 1 woman and had no serious relationships )

    - high job stress ( long hours, legal threats, unrealistic expectations -PMO relived stress)

    - periods of high stress during the marriage - moving, infertility, death of my parents (expected), and a career that became more and more difficult and damanding as time went on.

    Pornography became an escape from reality.

    The cost was the toll on our marriage and on both of us.

    I have asked doctors and therapist about addiction and here were some of their thoughts:

    - addiction means you can't stop in the face of bad consequences
    - looking at pornography in common, in both men and women
    - 50% of the internet traffic is porn
    - men are wired differently from women
    - this was how I coped with my insecurity and stress
    - why do you think all of these places and websites exist?

    I am not condoning pornography. It became problematic for me.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  2. Sounds like you've been on quite a journey. COngratulations on your sobriety. 8 months is great.

    A great majority of your story is very common. Porn definitely can affect a marriage. Many of us were medicating our depression (I love Welbutrin).

    You say at the least, the occassional PMO? How often was that? Did you ever tell yourself you were going to stop? BUt found yourself doing it again days or weeks later?

    You say your interest waned, does that mean the frequency, or how you felt? It may be that you had become desensitized to P that once excited you which led to seeking the other people. Do you think the P was slowly numbing you to caring about your marriage the way you used to.

    What were the bad consequences of P for you?

    To me you sound like a recovering addict. That's ok. Most of us are.

    Porn is indeed pervasive and many think it is ok. Ultimately, its how it affects you. Doctors and therapists are trained to not express too much judgment. Your moral compass is the best guide.
     
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  3. Anona

    Anona Fapstronaut

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    So if 60% of people is overweight and of these 20% is obese, it is normal, in other words OK ? If you are in a committed relationship, it is not OK to go behind her back, ore seek sexual gratification with others, in strip clubs, internet, whatever, unless you are in an open marriage. 25% of internet traffic is porn, but who is counting..[​IMG]
     
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  4. whyte

    whyte Fapstronaut

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    Occasional is @ every 2 to 3 weeks or so with regard to PMO.

    Did I think of stopping - yes, there was a time when I realized that I was looking at this stuff "a lot" and that I shouldn't be (nothing illegal)

    When I say waning, I meaning becoming less and less frequent.

    The consequences were the contribution to my depression and the effect upon my wife, our relationship, and myself.

    What I did was not "OK" in any way, shape, or form.
     
  5. You have a level head and are well into recovery. What brought you here?
     
  6. Anona

    Anona Fapstronaut

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    I do not believe in labels to start with, and I would guess your wife biggest problem is not so much what you did, as she is reacting to the lies and secrets. She is shell chocked. ( Popular label pts ) In combination with loss of trust. Her hole marriage is a big lie, and you need to make up your mind if you want to fix it, ore have right about a label.
    You have made a good start with confessing, and stopping the behavior, but it will take a lot of time to build up the trust she has lost.
    She will have a million questions, you need to answer them truthfully every single one, even if she asks you the same question 10 times.
    Personally I wold have called you many less flattering names than an addict, but that is a normal way to react when everything is falling to peaces around you.
    Transparency, and reliable and is the next step, leave phone o.l unlocked, no private browsing and never be late unless you tell her in front.
    There are a lot of good tips on this site, and in this forum, can be used of both addicts and non addicts, how to rebuild a relationship after disclosure. I would use them if I was in your shoes.
    I guess I am partly in her shoes, my partner claims he is no addict, but he seeks sexual gratification on the phone, pc and ipad. I live in a sexless relationship.
     
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  7. whyte

    whyte Fapstronaut

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    What brought me to this site was her suggestion and feedback after joining.

    My impression of pornography was the same as that of gambling, drinking, fast food, and other things in life - things that people experience. Some people experience these things lightly (on one end of the scale) while others go to the extreme.

    - some people buy an occasional lottery ticket, others go into debt with a bookie
    - social drinking vs. alcoholism
    - enjoying food vs. abusing it (obesity is the most rampant disease in the U.S.
    - some people look at pornography, others become obsessed with it

    Looking at pornography was hurtful to my wife - that is where it should have stopped. It did not and that was my fault. Termed "unmet needs by my therapist." I did not address the root cause - still to be deciphered in my therapy session. Pornography and the habit - led to boredom and to real life encounters. Eventually, I felt that I had little to lose and really stopped caring about myself and what I thought were always my core values - honesty and trust.

    There is not a lot of peace in my life right now. The best time of the day is bedtime - I look forward to sleeping. My depression, although better, still has a negative grip on my life - there is not a lot that I enjoy anymore, nor do I feel a lot anymore.

    Do I think that pornography caused my problems - not entirely, but it was a factor in some way shape or form.
     
  8. Star Lord

    Star Lord Fapstronaut

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    Your situation isn't entirely pmo related, sounds like pmo probably contributed to like 10% of why things are the way they are in your case.
    This is a stab in the dark but maybe you knowing/unknowingly enjoy the work stress and makes everything else seem boring?? Hence the encounters etc. But fortunately your moral compass is stronger than your impulses.
    You seem to have your angles covered with respect to seeking treatment etc.
    Keep doing what your doing.
    I don't think your an addict, your just lost like many of us. Stay strong.
     
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  9. LizzyBlanca

    LizzyBlanca Fapstronaut

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    We aren't keeping secrets. I brought him here, as I found this site due to an interview I listened to on NPR.

    I encouraged him to read and post. Personally, I find it healing to have others who struggle w/ similar issues to be able to talk to each other. I don't think therapists know "all that much" about this topic.

    Labels aren't as important as common characteristics. I have no investment in a LABEL.

    Hearing SOs or wives describe the characteristics in common with their partners is almost eerie.

    The lies, betrayal, stoic personality, lack of emotion, connection & empathy, etc., are very real & very hurtful.

    I know this doesn't mean my husband is "a bad person". Moral compass only came out when it was time for us to move and husband decided to "come clean", and then, he sprayed his shit all over me. It blew up my life. He went to the hospital. I cleaned up the mess on my own with the help of my sisters for months.

    Now, I need some care and understanding, and it's sorely lacking. I have been through the wringer. I have PTSD b/c of this (and more) which he hasn't disclosed, but I understand that. I have been supportive. When do I get support?
     
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  10. LizzyBlanca

    LizzyBlanca Fapstronaut

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    Private browsing? My husband is a fan of the "dark web" and "BackPage" for prostitutes - which the head of the company was arrested today. Yes, I'd like transparency. Yes, I'd like my husband to read about how other husbands have rebuilt their marriages after disclosure. I'm still HERE. I'd appreciate some appreciation for that. Most women would leave. It's way more than porn and prostitutes. And that is bad enough. OY VEY
     
  11. LizzyBlanca

    LizzyBlanca Fapstronaut

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    This is an interesting article, re: from PMO to prostitutes: http://fightthenewdrug.org/why-watching-porn-is-an-escalating-behavior/
     
  12. Denzel889

    Denzel889 Fapstronaut

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    Pmo, drinking alcohol, getting high, drinking too much of caffeine, energy drinks have all in common that are very bad and have a tremendous effects on our health... They are very negative, but the problem is that today are shown like they are popular,but is itpopular to have a ruined, lonely life without a chanceof getting a job, orbeing a better person... They want us to believe that so they can earn money on our health and stupidthinking... Don't be like others, belike it's right, be natural, go for awalk, do some pushups, dont drink dont smoke dont do pmo, dont be piece of crap so get up and start to be a person who is worth living and when you wake up in the morningthink to yourself wow thanks God I am alive and I can do something good for myself and for the others... And never give up chasing yourdream even if it is very hard orlate... It's never too late until youdie... Yes, of course, they will say you are weird, that you arent popular, that you dont know how to live popular... But ask your heart not them... Ask your soul, your body, ask your religion. Don't listen toothers, listen to yourself and results you bring with your discipline... Ibelieve in this world, and I have adream that one day I will be free of my only addiction pmo... I havenever been drinking alcohol, smoking never on anything wrong. Pmo is the only problem I have and I am determined to solve it my friends... Brothers, What We Do In Life Echoes In Eternity #NeverGiveUp#WARRIORSOFTHEWORLD************************************
     
  13. Anona

    Anona Fapstronaut

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    Now I got a bit confused, we have already written on the subject before, but yes, I do not believe on a label given by a snake oil salesman. I have an Orthomolecular approach to the subject , and at the moment I am trying to find one who has attempted to treat PA.
    No luck so far I might add.
    There is a big difference in a substance abuser and a stimuli-abuser. A substance abuser can be healed quite easy, but since the cure is not up for being patented (you can not patent vitamins and minerals) there is surprisingly little knowledge on the subject.
    A gambler and a porn user is more easy to put in the same box as craving this dopamine rush.
    But back to the subject, I guess I hit the nail with this pts. It is not a disorder, so forget the d , it is an event and reactions that follows this event. Liz here is reacting quite normal, and one of the symptoms from dopamine abuser is they downsize their use of the stimulant, and since the user already have lied, why should the partner believe the user after the disclose ? And since you have already lied, she has no reason to not expect that you are still lying, and you could in that case easy fall in under the label addict. So you could both be right.
     
  14. LizzyBlanca

    LizzyBlanca Fapstronaut

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    @whyte - Those were your core values and they can still be. You can be a more multidimensional person after going through these horrid struggles. :)
     
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