Using Sex Addictively

A sexy closeup image of a woman licking her lips

Robert consulted with me because his wife, Andrea, was no longer interested in having sex with him. “Andrea says she feels objectified when we make love, and I don’t know what that means,” he stated. “I love her and I don’t think I see her as an object.”

“Well, when you want to make love to her, why are you wanting to make love? What is motivating you?” I asked.

As we explored this question, it became apparent that Robert’s desire for Andrea was generally motivated, not only by his physical need for sex, but also by his need to be validated by her and to relieve his stress. No time in his discussion with me did he say he wanted to make love to her as an expression of his love for her. At no time did he state that there were many ways he enjoyed sharing his love with her, such as time together, sharing fun, affection, cuddling. His focus in being with Andrea was in having sex with her, and if she didn’t want to, he was generally angry or withdrawn. While he professed that he was expressing his love when I asked him about it, his behavior was anything but loving.

“So, if she doesn’t feel turned on to you, and would rather cuddle or spend time together in some other way, that’s not okay with you? You don’t stay loving with her unless she does what you want?”

“Yeah, I guess so. I guess that’s what I do.”

Robert was quite distressed to learn that this is why Andrea felt objectified, and also to learn that he was using sex addictively. Anything we use outside ourselves to relieve stress, validate ourselves and fill ourselves up can become an addiction. In Robert’s case, he was using sex to avoid dealing with his stress and low self-esteem. He was using Andrea and sex as a Band-Aid to temporarily alleviate anxiety. And, he confessed, he went further with his addiction. He would masturbate to pornography and attend expensive strip clubs in his efforts avoid responsibility for his own feelings and needs. Underneath his addictive behavior, Robert felt deeply insecure and afraid much of the time. Rather than dealing with his fears and insecurities, he was using sex, just as someone else might use food, drugs or alcohol.

As long as Robert was coming to her needy rather than loving, there was nothing for Andrea to feel turned on to. Andrea wanted their sex to be an expression of their love for each other, not a way to relieve Robert’s anxiety or fill his emptiness, and had reached the place in her own growth where she was no longer willing to be used by him.

Fortunately, Robert was motivated to do the inner work necessary to heal his sexual addiction. Through his work with the Inner Bonding process that I teach, Robert was able to establish, for the first time in his life, a connection with a spiritual source of love and guidance. Through learning to work with his spiritual guidance, he was able to begin to heal the limiting beliefs he had absorbed as he was growing up about his adequacy and worth. As he began to discover the beauty within him – his gentleness, integrity, creativity, and ability to care about others – he began to feel much better about himself. He learned to speak up for himself in work and social situations, as well as with Andrea. As he learned be loving with himself, the emptiness within him that led to his neediness gradually diminished. The more he was loving with himself, the more powerful he felt, and the more he was able to express his love to Andrea. When the day came that Andrea actually felt his love rather than his neediness and emptiness, her sexual feelings for Robert returned.

Robert’s desire for pornography and strip clubs gradually vanished as he learned to take full responsibility for his own feelings and needs. He still loves to make love with Andrea, but he no longer gets angry and withdrawn if she is not turned on. He no longer needs her to take away his anxiety or validate his adequacy. He is no longer using sex addictively.


Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?”, “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?”, “healing Your Aloneness”, “Inner Bonding”, and “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?” Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:margaret@innerbonding.com

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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