There’s a growing list of sexual assault allegations. Harvey Weinstein, 65, has been fired from his production company and his wife has left him. So reports that he is about to undergo therapy for sex addiction are unsurprising.
His wife Georgina Chapman, 41, was initially thought to be standing by him. But then the Marchesa designer described his behaviour as “unforgivable” and said her “heart breaks for all women who suffered pain”.
So just what constitutes a “sex addiction” and what effect can it have on a spouse?
Shock, isolation and disbelief are the first things a woman feels when she finds out her partner has a sex addiction.
One of the first questions women ask is: Can sex addiction be real, or is it an excuse for infidelity, porn and bad behaviour?
That’s understandable. Whatever drives a partner’s behaviour, the result will be betrayal. Adultery is adultery.
But sex addiction is a real condition. And the longer it goes untreated, the more extreme behaviour the addict has to explore to achieve the same level of dopamine release.
Partners of sex addicts often feel intense shame. They ask if the addiction is somehow their fault: Were they loving, attractive, sexy enough? They fear they will be judged. That they “should” have known and stopped it. Unlike drugs, alcohol or gambling, there are often no outward signs. Couples can have been together for years without any hint of a problem.
Some addicts lose interest in marital sex entirely. Women often discover their seemingly celibate partners are addicts.
One of the most important things a woman can do is meet with others in the same situation.
Self-care, physical and emotional, is also vital. Weinstein’s wife has already announced she is leaving him, but a therapist would suggest no further decision-making for six months to allow recovery from the sheer shock.
Only when a woman is feeling safe and secure – and her other half is in recovery – can she decide whether she wants to go on with the relationship.