People medicate emotional pain with all manner of things: video games, chocolate, sports, shopping, trashy novels, and so on. One of the more common ways for men to self-medicate is some form of sex. This could be a great deal of sex with their wife. It could be an affair, or porn use or going to strip clubs. It could be masturbation – up to half a dozen times a day or more.
Sex helps us escape for a while. It gives us a shot of testosterone, which makes us feel powerful. We get other hormones that elevate mood and reduce pain – both physical and emotional pain.
It can be difficult to know if a man is using sex this way. Levels of sex many women would see as excessive may be a result of a man’s normal drive. On the other hand, men who medicate with sex usually do not admit it to themselves. They dismiss it as having a high drive, or try to believe it is normal. Sex sins could be a form of escape, or they could be due to selfishness, anger, or habit.
If he is using sex to medicate, saying no to sex will not help. He will seek some other way of escape, be it sex, gaming, alcohol or something else. The solution is finding the problem and dealing with it. Self-medicating is a symptom of the real problem, not the problem.
Along these lines, I have women ask me how much sex should be enough for a man. Many men are satisfied with sex every other day. Some legitimately want sex every day. If you have sex five or six times a week, consistently, and he is not satisfied, something is almost certainly out of place. If sex is less frequent, his not being satisfied is not proof of anything. When I say satisfied, I do not mean all he could want or do. Satisfied means he feels sexual pressure only occasionally, and never at a troubling level.
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