I've Begun Seeing Prostitutes Over the Past Few Years! Do I Need Help?!?!

Dear Couch,

I'm a 30-year-old man and have been with the same woman for more than six years. We have a VERY fulfilling life in every aspect, except one: my sex drive is considerably stronger than hers. I masturbate almost daily (occasionally more than once a day) and my partner is quite satisfied with once-or-twice-a-week intercourse (which is GREAT, by the way). She is giving, reciprocating, and orgasmic. Here's what's bothering me: I started visiting massage parlours and prostitutes a couple of years ago.

It started with JUST nude massages, it turned into manual sex, then blowjobs, then sex, and then I began exploring the outer reaches of my imagination with these women. I am not particularly proud of myself because of this, and usually feel VERY guilty after my encounters. My problem is quitting. I can't imagine NOT paying for sex anymore. It has become part of my life. I enjoy wonderful, emotional lovemaking with my partner, only to engage in the most outrageous, dominating, humiliating, downright MEAN acts with these prostitutes.

How far outside the lines am I here? Do I need a therapist's help? I don't feel sorry for these women, since they chose the lifestyle (I live in a country where prostitution is legal). Plus, I retain a VERY high level of respect for my partner whom I love very much and very deeply. I know she would feel SO betrayed if she found out, plus she'd feel like a damned fool for being deceived. There's my story. Now what?

Double Life

Dear In too Deep,

This is a hell of a mess you've gotten yourself into. Do you 'need a therapist's help?' Hell Yes!! You're out of control here. You claim to love your partner and know she would be extremely hurt if she knew about your behavior yet you continue banging hookers stating you can't even conceive of stopping. We hate to use this term but.... we think you're a sex addict.

We know, we know. The term 'sex addict' is thrown around like a used condom in a bath house. However, what we mean by that term is sexual behavior that is destructive to the individual and those they care about. Like the time you just had to whack off before that job interview and ended up being late and didn't get the job. So since you had the extra time you bought a prostitute and ended up being late for your anniversary dinner with your partner. In your own words you feel very guilty after this behavior and you're not proud of yourself. Take this cute little sexual addiction test, not because it does anything, but because the questions should set off some alarm bells for you.

We want to make something perfectly clear though. We're not making any excuses for you. You're an intelligent man and obviously know you have a problem and have chosen not to seek out a therapist to help you overcome it. As a result of your selfish behavior you have exposed your unknowing partner to seriously health threatening diseases such as Hepatitis, HIV, and Herpes. Even chaining you down and letting a leather clad Kenneth Starr pump your ass bloody while Linda Tripp tapes it is not punishment enough! STOP screwing people other than your partner!! GET AN STD TEST! and GET HELP!!! NOW!!!! For a highly recommended book on dealing with this problem try, Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction by Patrick J. Carnes. You can control your life.

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