I'm a Recovering Sex Addict

Jennifer (not her real name), 36, lives in Miami. Although she’s never touched drugs or alcohol, she has an addiction all the same—sex addiction. Although not an official psychiatric diagnosis, Jennifer’s sex addiction has caused her tremendous pain and suffering over the years. Her compulsive behavior, which she thinks may have been triggered by childhood abuse, destroyed relationships and ultimately wrecked her marriage. She sought treatment and has been sober for six years.

Sex Addicts Anonymous is a 12-step program that can help.
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You often hear stories about sex addicts who have multiple partners, or who have sex in parking lots, or hook up with strangers they meet on the Internet. That wasnt my style.

I had long affairs. I wanted sex, but I also wanted somebodys soul, in this really ego-driven way. My life was a constant juggling act of at least two men, making sure they didnt find out about each other. I was unfaithful to every boyfriend I ever had.

I thought that getting married would cure me. I hoped that I would never look at anyone else but my husband again. I remember praying the week of my wedding, “God, please let me be faithful.” Two weeks later, I started looking around. I got married in January 2000 and by April I was in a full-blown affair.

Overall, while I was married, I had two 2-year affairs with only a four-month break in between the affairs.

I felt like I got love from my husband, but as the intimacy level went up, my sex interest went down. My husband was really good-looking, nice, smart, funny—everybody says hes such a great guy—but because he was so familiar I was tired of him. Im just sort of wired wrong. Other women get turned on by a romantic date with their husbands. Me? I wanted to have sex if I had 10 minutes and there was a broom closet nearby. If we were in a fight and I wasnt sure if he was going to stay with me, thats when I felt really aroused. Ive spent the last six years trying to rewire my brain when it comes to sex.

We all have things in our past that set up a template that informs our sexual preferences later in life. Thats why some guys are turned on by schoolgirl uniforms or some people like spanking; something happened in their childhood that set them up for that. When I was young, I was sexually abused in a very large house, probably six rooms away from my dad. So what got me really excited was acting out with my boyfriend when my husband was probably 50 or 60 feet away.

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As told to: Sarah Klein
Last Updated: February 11, 2010

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