Inside the Mind of a Sex Addict

Weiner World: When one prominent urban professional got caught by his wife doing what Congressman Anthony Weiner was doing, he finally realized he had a problem. Sadly, that came at a cost

by Susan Avery • Digital Director
weiner on fire

More: Did you think you would stop once you took vows?
RJ:
I wanted to be faithful and good. But there were things my wife didn’t want to do in the bedroom. I was unhappy about that . . . and then I saw an ad where a woman indulged men in phone sex while they masturbated and I thought, "This is safe and not cheating."

More: So what happened?
RJ
: As your dependence on porn grows, it interferes with your ability to be intimate with someone else and you’re really hurting yourself. Having exchanges with someone on the phone or exchanging pictures with them is not really harmless, even if you don’t perceive it as cheating. It's still hurtful to your partner, whether they know it or not. It’s very unhealthy . . . you need more and more stimulation, and more frequent stimulation, and eventually it takes over your life, much in the way substance abuse does.

More: What did online sex do for you?
RJ:
It relieved anxiety. If [your addiction] is undiscovered, you keep doing it because you don’t believe you’re hurting anyone. The anonymity made it easy and comfortable . . . you feel protected, and you can be whoever you want and discuss any topic, because none of the women I talked to knew who I was. Deep down I felt, if they really knew who I was, maybe they wouldn’t find me attractive.

More: You say people don’t understand sex addiction.
RJ:
Right. It’s not about sex. It comes from low self-esteem. If you ask me personally, it goes back to when I was much younger and couldn’t get a girlfriend and my insecurities about that. The Internet allows me to express myself in that pathological way. [Online sex] makes you feel attractive and makes you feel like a virile kind of guy, and it’s an ego boost. You become insatiable for it.

More: There doesn’t seem to be a lot of sympathy out there for you and Congressman Weiner.
RJ:
People say you’re a pervert, that your desire is abnormal, but it’s actually quite the opposite. I had a lot of performance anxiety and I was taking Cialis and Viagra. You feel inhibited. It’s the same human, just a different part.

More: How did you get caught?
RJ:
My wife saw one of my deleted e-mails. I was stupid not to erase the e-mail or change my password. She assumed it was from a girlfriend, not a service. She wouldn’t even let me explain what actually happened. That it was part of an addictive pattern. It was not sex; it was validation.

More: What was your reaction to her finding the e-mail?
RJ:
I was angry that she had invaded my privacy, that she interfered with my fantasy world. [The e-mails] were not appropriate, but it was for me to fix my shit. But I was screwed. The fact that she peeked into my e-mail didn’t look so bad compared to what I did. Today I don’t know what’s better, openness or privacy. In your mind, you are entitled to your fantasy world in your head, but it has to stop there.

More: What’s it like to be outed?
RJ:
There’s a double pain there. You’re ashamed and embarrassed because you don’t like this about yourself and also because you’ve hurt someone else so deeply.

More: Have you tried to apologize to your wife?
RJ:
There’s no amount of pleading that my wife will accept; she wrote me off immediately. What if I was an alcoholic or a drug user? I think she would have been more understanding. A woman wouldn’t get mad about a bottle of Scotch because it’s an inanimate object, but she is terribly hurt by the idea of any type of sexual interaction with another woman. Because it’s sexual behavior, that makes it impossible to forgive. She has to accept at some level that it’s about her, too.

More: Wait, you said it’s not about her.
RJ:
This was a beautiful woman—other men were jealous of me—but behind closed doors she was inhibited sexually. I had my own issues with performance anxiety, which only made things worse.

First Published June 22, 2011

What’s your reaction?

Comments

Liz 02.06.2013

I found this article after Googling 'sex addiction', after my boyfriend informed me that he is one and used it as the reason he broke up with me. I found the writer to be very sympathetic and self-aware--up until the point where he says that his wife had to recognize her part in it. BULLSH*&. He actually said before this point that he had chosen her in particular, due to particular qualities that appealed to him, to be a wife and mother. When he "discovers" that she isn't all he desires sexually, he uses it as an excuse for looking elsewhere. This is the ultimate in rationalizing, coming from someone who has not yet accepted responsibility. Incidentally, if someone gives you a sad story about being an addict because of their childhood trauma, but claims that they are "handling" it (like my boyfriend informed me on our second date), think very carefully about whether they are telling the truth. They may be lying either to you or to you and themself.

Sheryl Lipke07.27.2012

I believe that this is real, I live it almost daily. My boyfriend of 4.5 years is a recovering alcoholic, past drug user....he has been sober for quite some time. He does this !!!! He doesn't look at sex as intimacy, he looks at it as a conquest. He is addicted to the euphoria that comes with this addiction. The high is from the attention of the other women, the fact that he can have them just by talking to them, he looks at it as power.....control...and that he feels as if he is getting away with it. And when I have caught him in the past, the blame falls back on me and its my fault for noticing things and finding out and confronting him. I thought it was me, I went to a therapist, she said I was right....spot on with his behavior. She asks why i haven't left...and I tell her because I have faith that things will change....they have decreased, but.is still there. I can't ask him questions or even look at his phone without him getting mad because he is doing things he.knows hurt me and are not right. At times I wish i had the nerve to leave him like the wife in the story did.....I just go with my blind faith and I.pray that he changes.

Curtis Neeley12.18.2011

Oh what a poor addicted guy. NO! What a crock of shit. "I do this and enjoy it - so I am addicted and it is NOT MY FAULT."
"Sex addiction" is entirely a HOAX.
It is simply infatuation with lust called a disease for an excuse.
The Internet should be regulated by the FCC and then no "alleged" adult will be utterly anonymous due to the importance of backing up the assertion that you are not a minor.

Monica 10.19.2011

Sex addicts are addicted not to the sex but the chemical reactions from it....
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stefan Geroge08.23.2011

I think that an addiction to sex is not about addiction really. Sex is not an addictive substance like nicotine. It can chemically force you to seek after it. But here is the thing, if you have that sense that you are "not okay" and that doing X will make you "okay" (i.e. feel wanted, desired, loved). It is more about obsessively filling that hole in your life than it is about exactly what you are addicted to. It's not about the sex, its about fulfillment and people having a skewed sense of reality that sex is their only way to fulfillment.

Adam Green06.30.2011

Obviously excellent view points!!! I just catch the point "How exactly did you go after sex online?". Hopefully it'll be useful topics inside the Mind of a Sex Addict. Thanks!
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06.27.2011

I give this man a standing Ovation. This county needs to hear more about Sex addiction and what it can do to a family. My son got caught looking at internet porn. He will have to pay the price for his crime in Prison. What I don't think is right is that he will have to registry as a Sex Offender when he get out. I think what we need is for this addiction not prison.
I would love to get this word out more. Not all Sex offender are bad people, and the more people read or hear about it then maybe we can get some changes done. Thank you MORE for this story.

David Warn06.27.2011

Haha.....I guess what do meant by the comment? SEO Companies Are you believe Monogamy is fiction? SEO link building

06.25.2011

I am surprised that women still see this as some aberration. This has been happening since the beginning of time. Monogamy is fiction. This man is not a sex addict - he is normal, yet society treats him as a freak. There is an unnatural emphasis on monogamy. It is not natural nor is it the norm. Hello?

Fred Brenson06.25.2011

Nice, pretty good and excellent too. mini laptop By the way I can impress to read you good content in Sex Addict issues. SEO marketing I just think how's it effective/harmful for the body? Affordable SEO

Jamie Miles06.23.2011

I think he's brave for sharing this (even if he remains anonymous) but I wish he had the courage to tell his wife about his behaviors before getting caught. Then I would be more convinced he loves his wife enough to share his weakness with her and seek help.

06.23.2011

He blames his problems on "male frailty"? Really? Ugh. While I appreciate his candor, this guy doesn't seem to take enough responsibility for his own actions.

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