I’d been a therapist for 25 years when Greg and his wife, Lisa, came in for treatment. In my experience, husbands whose wives drag them into therapy for sex addiction are usually resentful and closed off. But Greg seemed relaxed and open right from the start. Lisa, frowning, sat stiffly with her arms crossed over her chest.
At 45, Greg had already retired from his tech job and was now flipping houses to bring in some extra cash. Lisa, an executive assistant at a national nonprofit, had been shocked and disgusted when she’d stumbled on a link to Greg’s browser history on their computer and found it was full of porn. She was a devout Catholic and deeply involved in her church; Greg had lost interest in religion many years before.
With his porn-watching habit now out in the open, Greg had confessed to a recent interest in exploring new kinds of sexual activity, like swinging with other couples, gay sex, and bisexual forays. But Lisa’s visceral revulsion had made him question whether this was “normal,” and he’d readily agreed to therapy. He said he was open to the idea that he was a sex addict, but he wasn’t really sure the label fit him. All he wanted, he said, was to see where his newfound sexual curiosity might lead him and, while he’d never force Lisa to do anything she didn’t want to, he’d like it if she joined him.
Lisa couldn’t identify with any of this. Just thinking about the kinds of things her husband was finding on the internet horrified her. She…