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“These guys, and it is mostly guys, are on the whole loving husbands, yet they did this right under your nose, leaving you unable to trust your partner, or even your own judgements,” she explains.
No wonder many partners suffer trauma, which can lead to depression, anxiety and panic attacks, rage or utter dissociation.
To be fair on Rachel’s friends, there is some debate about whether the term sex addiction is scientifically accurate, but the field of addiction is changing fast and emphasis is shifting from the substance to the psychological symptoms of addiction.
The NHS has a website page dedicated to sex addiction.
“It could involve sex with a partner, but it may also mean activities such as viewing pornography, masturbation, visiting prostitutes or using sex chat lines,” it explains, claiming that while for most people such habits don’t cause problems, sex addicts are unable to control these urges and actions.
Causes can of course be more complex, while for some – a fast-growing number, according to Hall – it’s simply opportunity-induced.
Eight years into her marriage, Rachel started to wonder if her husband had lost interest in sex.
“He’d always go to bed later than me and often made excuses when I brought it up,” explains the 41-year-old.
It’s the fact that they’ve lived with someone so long and had no idea.
“The reality of the Western world today means you can find anything you desire easily and anonymously.
Indeed, you can find a whole load of stuff you don’t desire, but get hooked nonetheless,” she says.
I felt that meant the risk of relapse was too great, so I left.
Can you have a worthwhile French language conversation while panicking over conjugations?
Traditionally, most partners of sex addicts have been treated as co-dependents, says Hall.