Blaming wives for sex / porn addicts is counterproductive
By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, C-CSAS, CPCS
"He told me I should learn to be a better wife and a better lover," said Karen tearfully as she recalled visiting her pastor for advice on how to deal with drug addiction. pornography of her husband. “I was shocked to hear him say that, but I trusted his advice. Plus, whenever I confront Tom about porn use, he would always turn it around and complain that if I could be more sexually available, he wouldn't need porn; so maybe there was some truth to what my pastor was saying.
“So I spent the last eight months trying to please her sexually. But guess what? she asked. “He's still looking at that dirt. I can't believe I allowed these two men to cheat me into believing it was my fault.
Sadly, the story Karen shared is far too well known to women seeking advice to help them cope with betrayal of their husbands' sexual infidelities. Many members of the clergy, Christian counselors and coaches do not understand the extent of the trauma suffered by these victims. In many cases, a woman is mistakenly labeled a co-dependent and facilitator.
“I spent almost a year in counseling after my therapist diagnosed me as codependent,” said Maria, whose husband's sex addiction involved many betrayals, including prostitutes and strip clubs. . “The counselor kept telling me that I was too emotionally unstable and that I needed to learn to cope with what had happened and to forgive. I tried, but I was so mad and couldn't stop thinking about how he had hurt me. I couldn't figure out what would cause him to do this to me and the kids.
It is not uncommon for a woman at the initial counseling session to present in a very emotionally charged state after finding out about her husband's secret. In fact, this “discovery” encounter with a couple is one of the most heartbreaking sessions to lead. A wife will often appear out of control emotionally, which might lead some therapists or clergymen to believe that the husband has been dealing with an irrational and exaggerated wife for years.
Following the discovery, higher levels of anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression and indecision all contribute to a woman presenting to a professional as someone who may have difficulty regulating her condition. emotional. However, this is rarely the case.
The emotional trauma experienced by finding out that your husband has sexually betrayed you can wreak mental havoc on an individual. When a woman has discovered the devastation of her husband's action, she equates it with the collapse of her world. Most brides wonder if their marriage can survive, and all have serious doubts about being able to trust again the men who they believe would always nourish and protect their hearts.
It's important to understand that in times of extreme stress, the neurochemistry of the brain is altered, leaving these women emotionally stranded and struggling to figure out how to overcome the shock. It is essential that Christian counselors and the clergy give a woman sufficient time - weeks or sometimes months - to process the initial betrayal and begin to self-regulate their emotional state. At this point, the professional will have a better understanding of the woman's ability to move forward in the healing process.
It behooves us to take a Christlike approach with these broken individuals to assist them in the long process of healing. "Bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6: 2
It is generally accepted among certified sex addiction specialists that the recovery time of a woman who has experienced sexual betrayal is on average 12 to 24 months. Meanwhile, women need the ability to mourn the loss of the security they thought their marriage brought them. But many women are denied the opportunity to cry because they are instead forced to forgive and forget.
Take the case of Deborah who discovered that her husband had indulged in sexual fantasies and masturbation with several women through video chat rooms.
“When I found out, I immediately told him he needed therapy and decided to do the same,” she recalls. “I saw a Christian counselor and she started telling me it was just the way men are wired. I was told that I should just come to terms with the fact that all men are taking action and focusing on "treating him right in the bedroom" to keep him from straying in the future.
It is incorrect and harmful advice like this that goes against the principle of “do no harm” advice. It can also make a woman feel ashamed and believe that she is responsible for the sexual abuse of her partner. However, in a large majority of sex addiction cases we find that the husband had difficulty controlling his sexual urges before meeting this woman. He introduced sex addiction into marriage. But women are misinformed and made to believe that her "sexual problem" is the result of mistakes she made in marriage.
The truth is that a large majority of wives who found out they were married to a sex addict meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In his book, Your sexually addicted spouseDr. Barbara Steffens notes in a study she conducted among women married to a sex addict that 70% had symptoms of PTSD.
What do these symptoms look like? Here are several keys: inability to concentrate, insomnia, paranoia, reliving through invasive thoughts and in some cases affecting their ability to carry out their daily responsibilities.
“This level of symptoms corresponds to a person exposed to a natural disaster or to sexual assault,” says Dr Steffens. "For me, this is important information for the spouse and for those looking to help heal."
Appropriate treatment for women trying to cope with their husbands' sexual intercourse requires counselors and pastors to give him meaningful time to process his emotions and tell his story. These women also need to be assured that it is not their problem, but rather that of their husbands.
“I saw the importance of this with my own eyes, after five years of counseling the wives and girlfriends of drug addicts, from 6 pm to midnight every night,” recalls Tiffany Leeper, founder of Girls Against Porn & Human Trafficking. “I had been through what they had done, it took me seven years to recover, so I knew exactly why they were desperately trying to find someone who was empathetic and who understood the betrayal,” she explained.
Another important step is to get the full disclosure of the addicting partner. A large percentage of wives have at one point suspected that their spouses have acted inappropriately, but when confronted, their husbands have covered their actions with lies. This dishonesty can be as devastating as the betrayal itself. It can also cause women to question their own judgment when told that their suspicions are unfounded (further aggravating the trauma).
Because of this pattern of dishonesty, it is essential for the dependent partner to be clear about any inappropriate behavior that has occurred throughout the relationship. Time and time again we see a husband swear that his wife knows everything only to reveal another transgression to her. This pushes the healing process back to square one and reinforces in the woman that she will never overcome the depth of betrayal.
Christian counselors and members of the clergy who work with women victims of betrayal should also be aware that the self-esteem of such individuals has been greatly affected. There is often a feeling of worthlessness that sets in when a woman tries to figure out why her husband has sought sexual stimulation with others.
“After seeing the images of the young women he was video chatting with, I couldn't help but start comparing myself to them,” Naomi said during one of her counseling sessions. “Here I was the mother of three children weighing 25 pounds more than I should be. How could I measure myself against these women who didn't have an ounce of fat on them? Obviously I am not good enough for him, which leads me to believe that I would not be good enough for a man.
Helping them understand that their self-worth is not found through their husbands but rather in Jesus Christ is essential. "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
As for forgiveness and trusting again, a woman who has been betrayed needs time to deal with her emotional anguish. Forgiveness and trust are gifts that belong to him in deciding if and when to give. Pushing a woman at this point too early will block the grieving process. While she may present the appearance of forgiveness, she will be sitting on negative feelings and mistrust that are likely to manifest in other ways, including passive-aggressive behavior.
Tiffany Leeper added: "Due to the addictive components of porn and the way it chemically changes the brain, the addict often pulls out, pulls out and expresses anger towards their spouse, many women instantly take this on themselves. and mistakenly assume that they caused it. They don't realize at first that they have to go through a grieving process to find out who they believed that person was and how addiction changes someone. Plus, when these types of negative and destructive thought patterns are reinforced by those they neutrally hope to recognize their pain and the bad actions that have happened to them, anyone can see how that would cause trauma. The trauma then causes physical and emotional manifestations such as: anorexia, severe depression, suicidal thoughts and many other harms. It is essential that pastoral communities know in particular how to create a safe and caring environment for these spouses, and most importantly provide informed responses and referrals to a Christian counselor who is properly trained in sexually addictive behaviors.
The wife of a sexually dependent spouse is likely to be re-traumatized if the professional she turns to for help is not careful. As competent mental health professionals, we owe it to these women to put our prejudices aside and engage with them by making them feel valued, honored and respected as children of the king. This is the same approach we take with their dependent husbands.
Eddie Capparucci is a Licensed Christian Counselor with a private practice in Marietta, Georgia and is board certified in Sexual and Pornographic Addiction Treatment. Among his clients were NFL and MLB players. He is the creator of the Inner Child Recovery Process for the treatment of sexual / pornographic addiction and author of the book Go Further: How the Inner Child Affects Your Sex Addiction.
Sexual health is fundamental to the overall health and well-being of individuals, couples and families, and to the social and economic development of communities and countries. Sexual health, when viewed affirmatively, requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. The ability of men and women to achieve sexual health and well-being depends on their :
Sexual health-related issues are wide-ranging, and encompass sexual orientation and gender identity, sexual expression, relationships, and pleasure. They also include negative consequences or conditions such as : infections with human immunodeficiency malware ( HIV ), sexually transmitted infections ( STIs ) and reproductive tract infections ( RTIs ) and their adverse outcomes ( such as cancer and infertility ) ;unintended pregnancy and abortion;sexual dysfunction;sexual violence; andharmful practices ( such as female genital mutilation, FGM ).
No matter where you are coming from, WE ARE HERE to help bring Sexual Health into a more positive and empowering place. A place where hopefully you can learn the sexual health information you would like, see or speak to a professional in the field whether on the Sex Sense Line or at one of our many clinics throughout BC, and come away knowing that sexual health is a natural part of being human.
Options for Sexual Health champions and celebrates sexual health including an individual’s freedom of sexual expression, the diversity of human sexuality, and a positive sexual self-image for individuals throughout life. Think about what factors influence your sexual health ? What messages have you been given about sexual health from… ( if applicable ) ….. your family ? friends ? society ? culture ? religion ? spirituality ? What are some of your own values and beliefs ?
How we experience our sexual health is also part of how we experience the world. For example, there are many factors that health researchers have identified that can impact our health including sexual health. These are known as the ‘social determinants of health’ and include how health is affected by income, education, employment, childhood development, food, housing, health services, gender, race, disability, Indigenous status, social marginalization, and social services. If someone’s gender identity/identities are not recognized this can effet their sexual health and experiences of social marginalization. Another example is if someone is a newcomer to Canada and may not speak the language or have the health care card that will allow them to access the sexual health services they need. As you can see, our sexual health is as individual and complicated as the various dynamics of our lives. Human sexuality rarely falls into neat categories or lends itself to simple labeling, but rather is a rich and complex area of human experience. Sexual health is personal, psychological, relational, cultural, spiritual, physical, and emotional. So what does “sexual health” mean to you ?
This supplemental provenant of Public Health Reports ( PHR ) presents a variety of articles addressing the science and practical applications of sexual health, an important health offre de rabais concept with the potential for improving population health in a broad range of areas related to sexual behavior, including human immunodeficiency malware ( HIV ) /acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ( AIDS ), sexually transmitted diseases ( STDs ), viral hepatitis, teen and unintended pregnancy, and sexual violence. The focus of these articles is especially timely given the population burden of these conditions in the United States and other nations, and the growing recognition that, despite the sensitive nature of the topic, addressing the broad construct of sexual health can enhance the national dialogue in this area and increase the effectiveness of public health programs
The concept of sexual health has evolved since its principal articulation by the World Health Organization ( WHO ) in 1975, 5 but it has generally emphasized well-being across a range of life domains ( e. g., physical, esprit, and emotional ) rather than simply the absence of disease or other adverse outcomes. 6 The definition of sexual health currently in most widespread use is that developed by WHO in 2002 :
Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, esprit, and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence
Sexual health is a state of well-being in relation to sexuality across the life span that involves physical, emotional, esprit, social, and spiritual dimensions. Sexual health is an intrinsic element of human health and is based on a positive, equitable, and respectful approach to sexuality, relationships, and réplication, that is free of coercion, fear, discrimination, stigma, shame, and violence. It includes : the ability to understand the benefits, risks, and responsibilities of sexual behavior; the prevention and care of disease and other adverse outcomes; and the possibility of fulfilling sexual relationships. Sexual health is impacted by socioeconomic and cultural contexts—including policies, practices, and services—that support saine outcomes for individuals, families, and their communities.
Similar to the WHO definition, this newer definition is health-focused, emphasizing well-being related to sexuality that is beyond the absence of specific health problems, in multiple dimensions of life, as well as positive and respectful approaches to sexuality and relationships. Moving beyond the WHO definition, the CHAC definition also specifically emphasizes attributes of sexual health at both the individual level ( e. g., individual understanding of benefits, risks and responsibilities, and prevention and care of health outcomes ) and the social level ( e. g., impact by socioeconomic and cultural contexts and healthy outcomes for families and communities as well as individuals ).
In the past decade, there has been increasing attention to the importance of addressing the concept of sexual health, 1–4 with the premise that offre de rabais of sexual health has great potential to complement traditional disease control and prevention efforts for a range of conditions of public health importance—not with the intent of replacing those exercices, but rather of improving their acceptance and, thus, the impact of those prevention efforts on the population. It is from this perspective that this supplemental venant of PHR has been developed, with the purpose of bringing together a range of articles addressing new insights into research, surveillance, program practice, and broader possibilités that can influence our understanding and progress on the broad topic of sexual health. It should be noted that “sexual health” is a concept undergoing evolution, not only in its definition, but also in its practical application. The term generally includes a focus on health and wellness rather than disease, an appreciation for the intrinsic importance of sexual health as part of overall health, and an attempt to address comprehensively a range of outcomes of public health importance; however, some of the articles in this supplement address a relatively narrower focus ( e. g., STD and pregnancy prevention9–11 ), while others include a broader spectrum. 12–17 Such variety is a necessary and important aspect of the uptake of the sexual health concept into the méthode and practice of public health.
Four articles address important research questions in key areas relevant to sexual health. First, Penman-Aguilar and colleagues conducted a detailed literature review to assess the effet of socioeconomic disadvantage on teen childbearing. 9 While the factors evaluated varied by study, the authors discovered a consistent theme across the review, with all studies that considered socioeconomic factors as determinants finding a significant association with teen birth rates, including factors at the family level ( e. g., lower levels of père education and family income ) and the community level ( e. g., lower per capita income and higher rates of unemployment and racial segregation ). The review found that relatively few studies assessed factors at both the family and community levels, an important priority for future research.
Second, using nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth and the U. S Census Bureau, Biello et al. conducted an in-depth analysis of the effet of various dimensions of residential racial segregation on the risk for early initiation of intercourse—an important risk factor for STD and teen pregnancy—among black and white ados. 17 The finding that black youth were more likely than their white peers to have initiated sexual intercourse in adolescence was significantly modified by several measures of segregation ( e. g., concentration and unevenness ) with a particularly notable black-white disparity in highly segregated areas. While preliminary, these findings contribute to our growing understanding of the complex interplay between social determinants and individual sexual health outcomes and should stimulate further research in this area.
Third, to understand the union of relationship characteristics and attitudes about STD and pregnancy outcomes with the use of dual protection strategies ( i. e., both highly effective contraception and condoms ), Crittenden Murray and colleagues conducted formative research among young African American women attending reproductive health clinics. 10 The study found a tension from trying to balance the desire to establish and maintain intimate relationships with the use of protection strategies ( e. g., condom use could be seen as a sign of mistrust ). The authors conclude that a more holistic approach, with a focus on saine adolescent and young adult relationships, is fondamental in prestations to prevent STD and unintended pregnancy, an issue that can be especially important in environments where trust is often violated ( e. g., due to frequent concurrent partnerships ) and childbearing at younger ages is accepted.