Recovering sex addict tells his story
Posted May 24, 2010
Updated October 17, 2011
What kind of man impulsively spends hours on the Internet looking at pornography, knowing that his behavior is jeopardizing his marriage?
Or visits prostitutes with the understanding that he is exposing himself to danger and sexually-transmitted diseases?
KJ Nivin used to be that kind of man, and he now helps others along the road to recovery from sex addiction. Nivin, who asked that his real name not be used, said his sexual addiction was real and had devastating effects.
“I lost my first wife and three kids because of my addiction,” he said. “I was married to a model. OK, she was a model. She was beautiful. Everything to offer, but I still went to Internet porn."
Nivin, who has battled sex addiction for 13 years, said it was something he couldn't control.
“I tried over and over to control my behaviors and I couldn't,” he said. “I'd spend hours, sometimes days, on the computer."
Sexual addiction was first recognized by the medical field in the early 1980s, but, Triangle therapist Jeff Levy said the Internet has played a key role in spreading the addiction.
“I would forget about any repercussions. I'd forget about the shame, the guilt, and I would find myself back on the Internet porn,” Nivin said.
Nivin also said he had extramarital affairs and, when that wasn't enough, he turned to more dangerous activities.
“At one time, I was chasing prostitutes and so the areas I was in were dangerous,” he said.
Nivin fed his addiction that way for years. Then he got married again, this time to another sex addict.
“I would have stress, we would have sex. She would have stress, we would have sex,” he said.
His second marriage lasted seven years.
“It was doomed to failure because we were both addicted,” Nivin explained. "Eventually when my second marriage started crumbling, and I was still really estranged from (my) kids, that was my bottom."
Nivin turned to a 12-step sexual addiction recovery program for help. He said talking with other sex addicts helped him rebuild his life and manage his addiction.
“The people who actually do have this addiction, they know what it feels like,” he said.
Nivin said he now considers it part of his recovery to help others. He has published books aimed at helping sex addicts cope with the addiction and repair relationships.
“Some men have said they haven't had sex with their wives in three or four years because they were on the Internet looking at porn,” he said.
It’s not always clear why someone becomes a sex addict. According to Levy, some researchers suggest a genetic link but they don't know for sure. Nivin said he believes genetics may have played a role in his addictive nature.
“My father was an alcoholic, and he was also a sex addict," he said. "I think I was genetically predisposed to it, and also, I saw the behaviors."
Nivin said he has mended his relationship with his children and that they too are in recovery for addiction.
He said he would like to get married again and gives himself strict guidelines for dating. He is also honest and upfront with women about his addiction.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual addiction, help is available.
Sex Addicts Anonymous offer area support groups for people suffering from and with the affliction. Other national support groups include: Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous.
Some sex addicts with whom WRAL News spoke with also recommended the following Web sites for people struggling with sexual addiction: