By Thomas Whitfield
Psychologists don’t always agree on if sex addiction is a real thing or not. Technically, it’s not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but that doesn’t mean over-engagement in certain sexual behaviors won’t negatively affect your life. When I work with highly sexually active patients, I aim to understand how their choices are impeding them from reaching their goals.
My boyfriend of six years has been seeing a therapist for a while to deal with what he calls his “sexual addiction.” Over the time that we’ve been together, he has cheated on me over 10 times (those are just the ones that I know about). I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it’s more. Every time I find out, he cries and tells me that he can’t help it, that he’s an addict. I try to be empathetic, but at this point I’m just numb to it. Is he an addict, or is it an excuse? – Male, Gay, 37
It’s great that your boyfriend is seeking help. You must care a lot about him, because you’re putting up with cheating. You asked if he’s an addict. The answer is, I don’t know. But, the bigger question is, do you want to continue to put up with it or move on? People can have all sorts of scientifically proven addictions, like alcohol or drugs, but does that mean you have to put up with it and accept it? Absolutely not. It’s great that you’re being empathetic to someone you care about, but you can also be empathetic from a distance. You don’t have to stop going after the things you want because someone else is trying to work through their issues.
This is embarrassing, but I got caught masturbating at work. I thought I was alone in the bathroom, but someone heard my phone, told my boss, and he was going to fire me, so I lied. I told him that I’m struggling with it and in an anonymous group. He’s actually letting me keep my job, but now I have to join a group and get some paper signed. I honestly didn’t think it was that big of a deal to j/o at work. Am I out of my mind? – Male, Gay, 26
Research shows that 15-60%—yes, a huge discrepancy—of adult males have watched porn at work. Some surveys have reported that as many as 40% of men have masturbated at work. I would file this under, “engaging in behaviors that could have a strong negative impact on your life.” One of the biggest signs of a maladaptive behavior is when it negatively affects your work, personal or social life. Masturbating at work is obviously something that has landed you in hot water. Good thinking on your feet to save your job, but maybe try taking the groups seriously. Is it possible that maybe there are things to work on? Finding a new way to manage your urges so you are able to attend to them at more appropriate times is probably a good thing.