One kind of extramarital affair revolves around sexual addiction. The partner involved in the affair, plain and simple, has a difficult time saying “NO.” He/she may want to, but feels compelled to say “yes.”

People can’t say no? Well, I believe we all have the capacity, at some level, to say no. However, not all have developed that capacity or reached that level to firmly say no and mean it. Some are stuck and seem to lack the ability to consistently act on the no. Please remember that all of us are grabbed by something and find it difficult to let go. Infidelity when connected to sexual addiction and its many forms, however, becomes a powerful focal point.

How to know if infidelity is attached to sexual addiction?

1. Sex takes on an inflated role or value. Sex, sexual conquest, sexual release becomes a powerful force. Acting on the sexual impulse is a frequent activity. Thinking about sex likewise consumes an inordinate amount of time. Multiple ways of acting out sexually (porn, strip clubs, multiple sex partners, etc.) are common.
2. This activity is bound by fear. The person lives with fear: the fear of getting caught, the fear of consequences, the fear of being found out, the fear of being abnormal, the fear of being punished, and the fear of losing family, spouse, job and respect.
3. A promise/failure cycle ebbs and flows with the inability to say no. After an acting out episode the person usually experiences guilt/fear and promises to self or others, I won’t do it again. This will last until the urge is acted upon again. The spouse may be aware or unaware (but sense that something is not right) of the roller coaster and succession of broken promises.
4. Others are used or seen as objects for personal gratification. No true intimacy is developed.
5. Sexuality is often confused with other needs or connected to unresolved past pain or trauma. A child who experiences confusion around sexuality or sexual abuse of one form or another, may carry along that confusion and attempt to work that through in a marriage or extramarital affairs. She was free of that urge from that point on. No one ever knew. Could she have chosen a different way? Maybe.
6. Such a person lives in a distorted world. They come to see the world and relationship through the eyes of their addiction. They have a great capacity to rationalize their behavior, deceive others and may lead a dual life.

If you suspect these characteristics fit you or someone you love, get some help before your world disintegrates further or falls apart. Life can be different. Life, sexuality, a truly intimate relationship IS different. You can get there. You are stuck, and need some true love, care and guidance to arrive at the next level.