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: 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.

First Published June 22, 2011

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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

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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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