Am I a Sex Addict? I Want to Be Married But Want Sex With Other People, Too

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Reader’s Question

I have been “lucky” with women my whole life and have enjoyed that fact. I’m a married man now, but I consider myself still very attractive to women. They keep flirting with me all the time.

My problem is that I also feel attracted to other women and feel the urge to go for each one of them, too. I am just afraid that doing so could ruin my marriage. My family tree is famous for these issues, and I don’t want to end up like my grandfather.

I really like women, and I feel like making love with several women I know. I also know they have the same desire. My wife doesn’t satisfy me anymore, and my hunger for other women seems to increase every day. My wife makes love with me once a month and I feel horny the rest of the time. It’s a only a question of time until something “bad” happens again. Every time it does happen, I feel really guilty and bad, but the next day I’m horny again.

Am I sex addicted? Do I need professional help?

I have tried to talk with my wife already a few times but it didn’t solve anything. I really would like to have some advice because I don’t know what to do.

Psychologist’s Reply

There is considerable debate in the mental health community about the legitimacy of the concept of sexual addiction and how prevalent such a phenomenon, if genuine, might be. An emerging consensus seems to be that some folks do indeed tend to use sex as a way to alter mood (i.e., to restore good and happy feelings when they are otherwise feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, etc.). And in such cases, sex can become an all-consuming obsession that only serves temporarily to ease one’s inner pain, thus setting up a pattern very similar to other addictive behaviors.

Having a high sex drive is different from having a sexual addiction. And some folks are also predisposed toward seeking novelty and variety as a way of satisfying sexual urges. This can pose considerable challenges to a marriage if the kind of marriage both parties seek to maintain is of the traditional, monogamous, faithful variety (as opposed to a more “open” marriage in which sexual encounters with other parties are either tolerated or even encouraged).

It’s probably best that you visit all these issues with an experienced counselor or therapist. This could help you gain awareness about the underlying causes for your apprehension and discontent. But in the end, you’ll have to come to terms with what kind of marriage you want to maintain and what you’re freely willing to sacrifice to make such a relationship work.

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