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Sexaholism in Relationships: The Role of Abstinence

April 26, 2024
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Sex addicts can still be acting out in their sexaholism even when they’re not engaging in their typical sexaholic behaviors. They might not be masturbating, watching pornography, or having sex outside their relationship, but they could still be acting out sexually within their marriage.

This is a controversial topic, but it’s important to understand that for sexaholics, the concept of right and wrong in sexual behavior often doesn’t apply. They cannot simply stop acting out; it often takes an act of God for them to cease these behaviors.

Once sexaholics stop their outward behaviors, the dynamics within their marriage or long-term relationships can still perpetuate their sexaholism. This is often not apparent when you’re in the midst of it. Introducing abstinence into the relationship, either therapeutically or naturally, can help illuminate the underlying issues of lust and other pathologies, like dependency or co-dependency.

Sometimes, abstinence happens because disclosures by the sexaholic lead to trauma for their partners, pushing sex to the background. During these periods of abstinence, sexaholics might struggle significantly, becoming anxious or irritable with their partners due to the lack of sexual activity. They might pressure their partners for sex, not realizing that this pressure is a manifestation of their sexaholism.

These dry periods are crucial for sexaholics as they learn that they won’t die without sex. Over time, they can become accustomed to not needing sex in their marriage, realizing it’s completely optional. Such periods of abstinence are likely to occur repeatedly during recovery, sometimes lasting for months or even a year or more, providing significant benefits.

Abstinence also reveals if the traumatized partner has issues. If the partner becomes anxious about not being wanted, it shows how deeply enmeshed the relationship is, with both partners depending on each other for their happiness. However, true happiness, self-esteem, and security come from within, not from one’s partner.

Through abstinence, both partners can learn to become independent from one another, improving their relationship. It becomes more spiritual, personal, and vulnerable, leading to overall improvement. This journey teaches that one’s value as a spouse is not dependent on having sex, and that peace and contentment can exist without it.