Local News

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."

(Click here for 12 questions to assess whether you may have a problem with sexual addiction.)

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:

8 Comments

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  • Alexia.1 May 26, 2010

    MileageDontPlayDat, actually "having lots of sex with random people" is prostitution under NC's laws. Yeah, NC has some really, really stupid laws that date back to the times when it would have been unheard of for women to wear jeans. Anyway, the NC law that declares most parties as taking part on prostitution is GS 14-203 (http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-203.html). It says: "The term "prostitution" shall be construed to include ... offering or receiving of the body for indiscriminate sexual intercourse without hire."

  • MileageDontTakeYourKidsCrap May 25, 2010

    sillywabbit, pedophilia is against the law. having lots of sex with random people and viewing porn is not against the law until you start involving prostitutes and minors, etc. a person can give in to their sexual addiction and still remain 100% legal with their activities....a pedophile can not.

    comparing a sex addict to a pedophile is ignorant. nice to see you have no compassion for a person who suffers from an addiction.

    i feel that sex 'addiction' should be categorized within the scope of obsessive-compulsive disorders rather than categorized as 'addictions'. these people seek out sex constantly because of OCD tendencies.

    if sex addiction was more properly labeled and discussed, people without firsthand exposure to the problem might be more empathetic towards those afflicted, rather than carry on like these folks commenting here.

    people with OCD's can't simply 'chose' to stop. if they could, it wouldn't be a disorder.

    again, im glad he's sought help.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 25, 2010

    ncguy..... TRUE.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH May 25, 2010

    Why is this being reported as news? Why not put this in some mental health category instead of local news!? I guess sex sells with WRAL too!

  • ncguy May 25, 2010

    All men are sexual addicts-
    The question is to what degree?

  • sillywabbitthepatriot May 25, 2010

    While it might be an addiction, it is still deviant behavior. The same as pedophilia and I have no sympathy for him.

  • whatsupwiththat May 25, 2010

    what a crock! Such an excuse for bad behavior!!!

  • MileageDontTakeYourKidsCrap May 25, 2010

    I don't know why any time this issue comes up, people have to be so insensitive and say it's not a true addiction. i feel for this dude, and im glad he's sought help.