DEAR ABBY: In the past three or four months, I have heard that a new addiction is about to be exposed in our society: sexual addiction. Just a few months ago on ABC's television news magazine "20/20," they devoted an entire segment to this subject.
I have been suspicious of my husband for years, but because of his ongoing difficulties with marijuana, alcohol, nitrous oxide, cocaine, and prescription diet and pain medications, I thought maybe the interest in sexually explicit magazines, movies, etc., just went with the territory. After the last go-around with chemical problems, he threw out all the pornography. I was relieved; then I recently discovered more hidden magazines. They are not the kind one picks up at the corner convenience store.
From what I've been able to ascertain, my sexual appetite is normal, but his seems insatiable. When we've been on vacation, relaxing and paying undivided attention to one another (no kids or interruptions), we can make love three or four times a day. And if I don't want to do it again a fifth time, according to him I have a problem! Often when he comes up to me to kiss me, he will grab me, which I have always indicated I don't like. He has always had poor sleep patterns, getting up and down several times during the night, and nearly every time he comes back to bed he tries to initiate sex. When I object and tell him I don't like to be awakened, he often berates and belittles me, sometimes calling me names and saying I'm frigid.
I think if he's getting his information from pornography, not only is it not what I'd call a scientific source, it's a perverted representation of what the majority of the population would call normal. Is this a common problem? I don't feel I am respected, cherished and showered with attention. I am usually tired. You can sign me ... FEELING USED IN GREAT FALLS, MONT.
DEAR FEELING USED: You must love your husband very much to have remained with him through all the tribulations you describe. Sex addiction is nothing new. I have known about it since the early 1980s, when I first learned of the existence of a 12-step fellowship of sex addicts called Sexaholics Anonymous (SA).
Operating in conjunction with SA are the S-ANON International Family Groups -- 12-step fellowships of people who have been affected by the sexual addiction of a family member or friend. A program such as this could provide comfort and direction for you.
S-ANON members are wives, husbands, children, parents, siblings, friends and even co-workers of sex addicts. Banding together in a program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, they work to resolve their common problems and to help others recover from the effects of another's sexual addiction.
There are no dues or fees for S-ANON membership. Anyone who is bothered by the sexual behavior of someone in the family is eligible to join. I urge you to attend some meetings.
Those who wish further information about S-ANON International Family Groups should write S-ANON I.F.G., P.O. Box 111242, Nashville, Tenn. 37222-1242, and include a check or money order (no cash, please) in the amount of $1 to cover postage and handling.