More: Sounds like you both had your share of issues.
RJ: Her coping mechanism was to close herself off and withdraw, and I went the other way and found an outlet elsewhere.
More: Do you think you have anything in common with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer?
RJ: I would bet that they also never intended to hurt their wives. They would say they love their wives. Their wives would say that these men want their cake and want to eat it too, but that doesn't really describe what's going on. My real fantasy was to have a healthy sexual connection with my wife, but we were not compatible and we grew further apart in the bedroom.
More: Did you ever try to stop the addiction?
RJ: I confided in my family and they told me to get help, but I was in denial. At one point, I erased everything on my computer and canceled my porn-site subscriptions. I erased the numbers on my cell, but I never dealt with the underlying problem, and I started it again.
More: Are you getting help?
RJ: I see two different therapists. One is about controlling the behavior, and the other is about understanding the behavior. That one wants me to go to groups, which I haven’t done yet. I’m actually nervous about it. It’s hard to rehash this in front of people. It’s hard for me to tell you now. While I was married, I was seeing the therapist who’s helping me understand the behavior, and frankly, I never said anything about what I was doing at the time because I was too embarrassed.
More: What makes you classify your problem as a form of addiction?
RJ: I learned from receiving help that it meets all the criteria for an addiction: There are terrible consequences, but you’re unable to control the behavior, which fuels remorse and anxiety. It has a repetitive, compulsive nature. The underlying motivation is relieving stress and anxiety. But the intensity escalates because the initial rush becomes ineffective. And you have terrible angst.
More: Was there a pivotal moment when you realized you had a problem?
RJ: The worst moment in my life was when my wife pulled out the e-mail she’d found and read it aloud: “I really enjoyed jerking off to you and talking about your beautiful pussy.” I was horrified, embarrassed and ashamed. I felt so badly about upsetting her. I would have done anything to take that shame away from her. I’ve been a success in everything I’ve ever done, and I failed at this. I finally accepted that I hit rock bottom and I needed help. I went to a sex therapist and cried my eyes out. The therapist said I am not responsible for my addiction but I am responsible for getting better.
More: How is the therapy going?
RJ: I still engage in some of these behaviors now, which proves that it’s an addiction. It’s sad when I read the newspaper and people call Weiner a bum and a pervert. They are assuming that he wanted to be like that, and that can’t be the case. The more insecure a man is, the more he needs reinforcement [that he is] the best at everything at all times, especially when he's been successful.
More: I’ve heard a more conservative argument made: that men are doing this kind of thing because society has become so liberal.
RJ: Yes, a man can objectify a woman as a sex act and depersonalize sex because he sees it as a physiological need, and society condones that in the media—clothing ads and TV commercials where a woman’s tits are in the camera. Culturally, we are hypocritical. How dare you ogle a woman.
More: What do you want to get out of talking to us?
RJ: You know, there will be men reading this article, and they’ll say, “He has guts. This took a lot of courage.” I want men to read this and say, “Oh my God, I’m not the only one.” A woman reading this, I hope, can see the man's perspective and see that this is part of male frailty. I was ashamed to tell anyone I did this. Even among the people on the chat rooms, they say, “Don’t tell anyone I’m doing this.” You should and can get help for this.