4 ways sex addiction can destroy a relationship

Sex addiction is a disorder that can be expressed in many different ways. It can be, for example, through excessive use of pornography, neglect of the partner and family, or infidelity. Regardless of the way it is expressed, it can do great damage to a relationship.

Here we will look at ways in which sex addiction can negatively affect the relationship. At the same time, we will look at how it can affect the partner emotionally. We also look at how therapy can help treat sex addiction, as well as how relationships can be restored through couples therapy.

When the relationship cracks

In a relationship, trust is often one of the most important values ​​underlying a good life together. Sex addiction can often have major consequences for the trust between the partners in a relationship. The behavior of a sex-addicted lover may involve secrecy and lies. At the same time, we often see that the partner gets a feeling of not reaching.

Sex addiction is a disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of lack of control over intense sexual impulses or desires. Naturally enough, sex addiction can extend beyond the relationship . For many, sex is an important part of a partnership. When for one of the parties there is something jarring on this front, it can affect other parts of the relationship. There are several symptoms of sex addiction that will have a negative impact on cohabitation. Below you can read about 4 ways sex addiction can destroy a relationship.

  1. Infidelity as part of sex addiction in a relationship
    There are often underlying reasons for infidelity. It can be a sign that there is a lack of communication and intimacy in the relationship. Many cheat without having a diagnosis of sex addiction. Therefore, it is important to distinguish adultery from sex addiction.

What counts as adultery is individual. Some believe that flirting is adultery, while others limit it to being a sexual act. Because sex addicts are excessively preoccupied with sex, many may seek new sexual experiences . Some have a need to be with many partners, while others may search for certain types of sexual experiences. Buying or selling sexual services is also a symptom of sex addiction.

Infidelity can be experienced as a major breach of trust, regardless of what is behind it. It is one thing that the partner chooses to seek satisfaction from another, but often that also involves secrecy and lies .

Secrets grow big in the dark but die in the light

Ove Andre Remme, founder and chairman of Terapivakten

  1. Excessive use of pornography
    Another symptom of sex addiction is excessive use of pornography. It can cause major challenges in a relationship. In the same way as infidelity, it can make the partner feel inadequateand not good enough. At the same time, it can feel very uncomfortable to know that your partner spends a lot of time on pornography.

Excessive porn use can also lead to not feeling as great a need to have physical sex or intimacy with your partner. This can create a great challenge for the partner, especially because it gives the experience of no longer being attractive. Over time, a very important part of the relationship can “die out” and affect several parts of the cohabitation.


  1. Neglect of the relationship
    A sex addict will spend most of their time thinking about or planning sexual encounters and experiences. This will necessarily lead to other parts of life being given lower priority, which will often affect the partner. Addiction can also lead to living a double life. That way, it may take time before it is discovered.

In addition to taking a lot of time, buying sexual services can also have major financial consequences . Sexual services are purchased either physically or over the Internet, and both options involve large costs. The use of money can be kept hidden for a period, but will eventually be discovered.

  1. The partner’s feelings, sex addiction and relationship
    The relationship can also be affected in other ways than neglect and infidelity. As a sex addict, you may have certain sexual preferences or desire large amounts of sex. It can cause discomfort for the partnerin several ways:
  • Having to perform sexual acts you don’t really want
  • Feeling of betrayal and mistrust
  • Experiencing pressure to have sex
  • Loss of private boundaries due to manipulative behavior
  • Experience of vulnerability and uncertainty

It is completely normal to react emotionally when living with a partner who is sex-addicted. How you deal with these reactions will be decisive for further cohabitation. For example, it can be very useful to set clear boundaries.

Living with sex addiction in a relationship

Through knowledge of the disorder, mutual understanding can be achieved, and in that way a healthy relationship with sex can be restored . The key words here are communication and trust between both. For a person suffering from sex addiction, it can be challenging to talk about the disorder. Often the person feels shame about the thoughts and actions carried out. In addition, it may take time before the person is able to process the feelings that underlie the addiction .

It is important to know that sex addiction is not about the relationship itself , nor about the partner. There is nothing the partner of a sex addict has done or is doing that has led to the addiction. Often there are underlying causes that lead to someone developing this disorder. For some, sex and sexual activities can be a way to escape from bad feelings . It is a disorder that often has its roots in childhood, and can come from sexual, physical or psychological abuse while growing up.

It may therefore be a good idea to seek help when dealing with the challenges it creates. Through treatment for sex addiction , you can restore a healthy relationship with sex and your own sexuality. At the same time, you get the opportunity to process bad feelings you are sitting with.

Couples therapy as part of the course of treatment can also help to involve the partner throughout the process. This is how you can build trust and good communication in your relationship together . In addition, you both get the opportunity to recover from sex addiction in the relationship. The intimacy that may have been overshadowed by the addiction can once again find its natural place in the relationship.