Is Battling Sex Addiction Really Worth It?

Worried man with hand on foreheadDid you know there are individuals who minimize sexual addiction as a disorder? Regardless, its impact, devastation and pain to the individuals who are struggling with it, their spouses and children along with many areas of their lives cannot be ignored. When we consider that the National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity describes sexual addiction as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder progresses.  Over time, the individual struggling with sexual addiction usually has to intensify the addictive behavior to achieve the same results. With that being said, is it really worth the battle?

Yes: If You Want to Break Free from the Bondage, Pressure, Shame and Weight of Addiction
The pressure to cover up the behavior, the choices, the double life can feel overwhelming and like it is too much at times. If you are tired of using your energy, your efforts, your focus and your money on living this way, then it is definitely worth it to take whatever steps are necessary to move to a place of healing and freedom from the addiction.  Whether it is counseling, an intensive program, attending a group, using a computer filter or gaining the necessary accountability, these steps can lift the weight that can suck the life out of you.

No: If You Don’t Want To Do The Hard Work
Let’s be clear: It will NOT be easy! The person battling Sexual Addiction is breaking habits and choices that have been in place, sometimes, for many years. They often have grown comfortable in self- medicating this way, but many individuals can deny to themselves the fact that it will progressively get worse and cost more if the hard work is not done.  However, if that hard work is not faced and almost embraced, there is little hope for breaking free from Sexual Addiction and all the challenges that comes with it.

Yes: If You Want to Learn to be a Giver and Not Just a Taker
As with all addictions, Sexual Addiction is all about the individual trying to get their needs met in an unhealthy way and most often it comes at their own expense and that of others, especially their family. Selfish choices are made that jeopardize money, health, careers, relationships and so much more. The individual that battles Sexual Addiction must walk out a purposeful plan, this will help them learn how to give in their relationships, how to engage with others without looking for taking advantage of them and they also get a sense of what healthy, mutual relationships are for the first time in their life.

No: If You want to Live in Lies, Deception and Rationalizations
For those struggling with Sexual Addiction, it is often rationalized that they are only hurting themselves, especially if it is “only” porn. However, this is just one of many lies they tell themselves so they can minimize the damage that is caused. Remember, Sexual Addiction is progressive and having to escalate the acting out is inevitable and with that will come more lies, more covering up and more pain. It is not easy, but if the one struggling will actually take a minute to see how much of their life is a lie, it is eye-opening and sometimes sobering. But this won’t matter if a plan is not put into place to break the addiction and the deception.

Yes: If You want to Leave a Legacy that Makes a Difference
There are HUGE benefits to the individual battling sexual addiction to do the hard work, to stay committed to their recovery plan, but these same benefits also extend to their family. They can leave a legacy they can be proud of.  After living a life with so much shame, it is powerful to see that by staying in the battle day by day that a life that exhibits honor and respectability can be passed on to children and family. In the times when it is tough, really processing through a life that matters can help get through the rough spots.

So, is battling Sexual Addiction worth it? Only the person in that battle can decide. They have to want it more than anyone else…more than their spouse, more than their counselor, more than their family, more than their accountability partners. In the moment, it might feel like too much, that the sacrifices to battle the addiction is asking more than is possible, however, the payoff is life-impacting and changing for the individual and their family!

© Copyright 2011 by Janie Lacy, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, NCC, CSAT. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Beth

    August 24th, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    yes if you do not want your spouse to leave and walk out the door

  • MARCUS

    August 25th, 2011 at 4:03 AM

    Nice way to answer the question that I’m sure a lot of people have on their hands at any given time. Sexual addiction has been around for ages, has undergone transformation as to how the addict goes about his addiction, but did not enjoy this same attention before the Tiger Woods story happened.

    Well, at least something positive came out of that episode.

  • Vic

    August 25th, 2011 at 4:12 AM

    These are the worst kind of addicts! These are the guys who think that oh no, nothing is wrong with them, that they can stop looking at that smut all of the time. And guess what? Of course they can’t. I have always thought that it would be easier to wean someone off of drugs and alcohol than this stuff. It is like they are seeking friendship? affection? who knows. It is crazy to talk to some of these guys because according to so many of them there is no problem at all.

  • Andrew Jennings

    August 25th, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    Unlike a physical condition where medication does d vast majority of d job, u gotta do things,put in effort when d condition is a psychological one.n that is where most people fail n end up not doing enough about d condition.

  • Francesca Boone

    September 2nd, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I don’t care how much a man or woman wants to have sex. I do care that I have to hear about it. That’s their business! What happens between two consenting adults is not the business of you, me or anyone but those involved so why do they want to even talk about it? Have they no shame sleeping around like that either? Really!

    Women are supposed to be modest and men gentlemen. You all need to start getting that! Sex is private. PRIVATE=NOT DISCUSSED.

  • Marilyn Glover

    September 3rd, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    @Francesca Boone- Let me point out what you’re not getting. Cool your repressed jets a moment please and listen.

    Sex addiction is not simply about having sex with a huge amount of people, it’s about acting on a compulsion. A compulsion like that can be a very bad thing because it takes over your life. If you read the article, you’d see that like most addictions, they need to go further each time to get the same result.

    And it’s good to talk about sex, particularly with a therapist. You should try it sometime. ;)

  • Phil Franklin

    September 4th, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    @Beth: Funnily enough, my divorce was because the missus thought she wasn’t getting enough sex. When I think about it, that woman was never satisfied and she was divorced before already. I wonder if she was addicted to sex. I never had any complaints before her.

  • u.r.

    September 4th, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    @Phil Franklin-I think she could have been. Who knows? It;s a possibility. Good thing you ditched her! Most men think they would be happy with a woman who wants nothing but sex. They don’t know that when they are addicted to sex, it’s a completely different thing altogether.

    Sex is not an act you are automatically entitled to whenever you want it in any healthy relationship-and that goes for males and females.

  • SugarTime

    October 7th, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    Serious question, can male chastity devices be used to help break the cycle of sex addiction? I know that the man would really have to *want* to change and that a support system would need to be in place. It just seems like it would be worth a shot and might even be healthy because it would involve the spouse/S.O. as a key holder.

  • Tricia H.

    November 13th, 2016 at 2:17 PM

    I have been with my husband for almost 40 years, and he always kept secrets fro me. Passwords, deleted history on Computer and his phone. Left it on one day and I stumbled across filth that in all of these years I would never have believed he was capable of such things. Always spoke out against this stuff, etc. Started to finally connect the dots to the point that with things he would accidentally say, he has been this person our entire marriage, behind my back, but lied so well through it all. Strip clubs, bars, affair/s [still won’t admit to having sex]. The thing that put me over the top was when he admitted something my sister told me years ago, and I called her a liar for years.. He told her- He wished he would have met her first, because he really could have loved her! She said it was kind of meant in a sexual way, but wasn’t sure. He denied it for years and it put a weight on my sisters and my relationship forever. I’m learning so many things that nobody wants to know, because I’ve invested all of my time in this relationship, and we had 7 children together. He had a woman in my kitchen while locking my children out of the house. I can’t forgive him, after the sister thing finally came out. Am I wrong? He’s 60, and honestly the only reason he told me anything is because he got caught. That girl started to text him out of the blue, and I saw those texts. Because of the porn, he no longer had a locked phone. He would have never fessed up to anything if I didn’t catch him! Even now, he thinks I should just accept that he has changed [all by himself] and go on like we are a happy couple. Truth is: I never knew this man, and feel he has stolen 40 years of my life out of pure selfishness. I lost my self esteem, trust, innocence, etc. in the process’ ! I did kick him out if the house after he finally admitted to saying those words to my sister. Could not take any more pain and certainly no more lies! Our entire life together has been a Big Lie.. How does one go on after this? A lot more to this story, but I think you get the gist. Sorry, but had to Vent, somehow!

  • Lynn

    October 30th, 2022 at 11:01 AM

    Trish H
    I have been married 46 years. My husband is a sex addict. But he consistently makes excuses for not doing the hard work he needs to do to become a loving partner. I am his third wife. This continues to devastate me. He has asked me time and time again to give him time. It been 2.75 years since the stories of his chronic infidelity and compulsive masterbation started to disclosed. I have been suicidal. The devastation to families and relationships is real and ongoing.

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