Not surprisingly, all this media attention has filtered down to the average couple. I get countless inquiries from people asking how to help their "sex addicted" partner. When they explain their situation, it's usually a gross self-misdiagnosis: "He wants sex every day. I think he's an addict."
Please understand, it can be incredibly harmful to a couple's well being when an incorrect diagnosis is put on their sexual dilemma(s). When you self-diagnose, it's difficult to impartially gauge if the behavior is obsessive and harmful to you and your partner; or (more likely) you're uncomfortable with the behavior and don't know how to manage the circumstance.
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However, all my nitpicking does not help an individual or couple who is in the middle of a serious sexual struggle.
After eight years together, one couple revealed their marriage started to unravel quickly. The husband was having an affair, compulsively self pleasuring as well as seeking out sex workers.
His wife decided to work on saving their marriage. She first started to read books and research the web. After trying a combined eight different counselors, they both felt they were getting nowhere fast.
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It was only when she stumbled upon the term sex addiction, she says everything clicked into place and their situation made sense. Author Patrick Carnes defines sexual addiction as, "any sexually-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and one's work environment."