It was a startling revelation to realize that I don’t hate sex.
In fact, making love with my husband, who adores me and treats me with tender kindness, continues to be a wonderful, fulfilling, intimate event that thrills me. Who would have thought? Not I. That is a testimony to my husband, but even more to the healing power of God in my life. I once believed the lies engrained in my heart that told me I was a shameful object only worthy if I could perform well sexually. I accepted the claims that I was a prude, frigid hater of sex.
It isn’t the act of lovemaking as the result of an intimate relationship we hate, it’s the feelings of shame, hurt, rejection, loneliness and often times, physical pain that we hate. In the setting of living with an addict, sex can become a terrible chore we fear. Especially if any kindness shown us comes with a price tag of sex.
Is it surprising that we would avoid sex like that?
In a healthy marriage, intimacy is the basis for sex. Knowing the depth of our spouse and longing to connect with them creates an environment conducive to a physical union being enjoyable and fulfilling. However, for a sex addict to keep their fantasy in place and alleviate their shame, they avoid intimacy. Because of deception and secrecy, we are left only guessing who they really are. Often, the intimate information we share with them is used against us to gain or keep control over us. Obviously, we become reluctant to offer any more of ourselves.
Without intimacy, women especially, have a difficult time giving themselves sexually.
When there is only pain and unresolved conflict, our desire for physical intimacy is destroyed. This leads to emotional detachment in order to avoid feelings of being used. We may truly desire to share intimate relations with our spouse, but as they push us away emotionally while demanding of us sexually, the conflict in our heart leads us to despair.
When a wife can’t meet the needs of her fantasy driven spouse, guilt drives her.
If we say no to sex because we feel like an object, we feel guilty for not meeting his needs. (Especially as Christian wives!) If we go along with his requests, we feel the guilt of giving ourselves without attachment. We may feel guilty for not loving him well, or enabling his addiction; but which is which? Guilt confuses the lines of boundaries, making us unable to function and driving us into depression.
All of this can lead us to seek fulfillment from other areas.
When our marriage lacks trust, intimacy and enjoyment, it’s easy to pursue meaning and satisfaction through other means. Our children may become our emotional stability, or our work, hobbies, friends, food, shopping; we may even turn to alcohol, drugs, or adulterous relationships to feel better about ourselves and our lives. Unfortunately, that fix is temporary and can end up setting patterns that will eventually destroy us and others we love.
Life with an addict becomes survival, not living.
We struggle to get through a day, coping with a world that spins out of control. Those around us may not notice that we are barely holding on. If we believe in God, we probably wonder where he is, or perhaps we feel we haven’t figured out the right formula to make him able to change things for us. Living with an addict is not living; it is dying slowly and painfully. Most of the time we have done such a good job of pretending life is normal that no one around us suspects we are in danger of bleeding to death.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a similar situation, God is there and can help. Please comment below or email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org
…say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come…