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Eight years into her marriage, Rachel started to wonder if her husband had lost interest in sex.“He’d always go to bed later than me and often made excuses when I brought it up,” explains the 41-year-old.“The reality of the Western world today means you can find anything you desire easily and anonymously.Indeed, you can find a whole load of stuff you don’t desire, but get hooked nonetheless,” she says.“I could have dealt with a gambling addiction or alcoholism – anything but this,” Rachel confirms.
Causes can of course be more complex, while for some – a fast-growing number, according to Hall – it’s simply opportunity-induced.
Traditionally, most partners of sex addicts have been treated as co-dependents, says Hall.
“So when he sat me down one day to tell me he was a sex addict, I actually laughed – although I soon stopped when he disclosed night upon night of watching pornography for hours on end and numerous short-lived affairs.
My life fell apart.” Sex addiction hurts partners in a way that no other addiction can, says Paula Hall, who has written a book on the subject.
is overdue, Hall believes, with thousands of partners across the UK struggling with something that evokes all the most destructive ingredients of personal pain – betrayal, infidelity, deceit and shame.
“Sex addiction feels extremely personal when you’re the partner because it affects the most intimate part of your relationship in a way that, say, alcohol or drugs just don’t,” she explains.