As many high-profile couples break up after the discovery of sexual addiction or secret affairs, it can make you wonder if you might be dating or even married to a secret sex addict. Hiding compulsive, addictive behavior is a common trait in most addicts, so you may not realize that you’re involved with a sex addict until you’ve been together for years and you start noticing signs of trouble. Learn how to identify signs of a secret sex addiction in Part 1 of my radio show discussion on A Lasting Love–with a recovered sex addict, Winston Bennett, whose NBA assistant coaching career for Boston Celtics rivaled his years playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.
HF: I applaud your bravery in revealing how unchecked sex with thousands of women can destroy your career and your marriage. No one is immune from facing occasional sexual temptation at work. Yet you’ve admitted that while you played in the NBA you had sex with three women a day, 90 women a month and a thousand a year for many years. I’m wondering how you reserved enough energy and endurance to play basketball against stars like Michael Jordon, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley?
WB: I’ve often wondered how I did that. It shows the driving force and power that comes with any addiction. For me, women were my drug of choice, since I never did any drinking or drugs.
HF: You weren’t the only NBA player to take advantage of sexual opportunities. Tell us your theory of why pro athletes are more prone to the addiction of women.
WB: There are three powerful components. Money is alluring. Along with money comes the power to attract women, drugs. With money and power you can bring whatever you want into your life.
HF: You didn’t mention the physical prowess that separates athletes from other powerful men like politicians or CEOs who may sit around their desk too much.
WB: It’s an athlete’s job to keep their body in shape and treat it like a temple. Yet you’ve heard of the excesses of athletes who overdose on cocaine and may even die from it, even from a first exposure to it like Len Bias.
HF: Did you ever try to resist temptation or avoid the health risks of having thousands of sex partners?
WB: I often tried to resist and be true to my wife and family, but I’d dug myself into such a deep hole that I couldn’t get out. I wasn’t thinking rationally about the health risks. Once I was in the clutches of addiction, my only thoughts were, “How can I feed the monster? How can I get the prize and get my next high to the point of ecstasy?” I wasn’t thinking how this could destroy my career or my marriage.
HF: Did you see signs that you were addicted to sex before you got married?
WB: I didn’t see it as a problem. I thought I was doing what all red-blooded men do–go out and pick up women. You go to clubs to meet someone new and come home with the prize of having an overnight sexual relationship with a young woman. This may not be how women think, but it’s how men think.
If you do this often enough, it becomes an all-consuming passion that gets you in hooked in its grip. You can’t break the chains of the sex habit like you turn off a light. The only way to feed the monster is to satisfy it. I was a totally different person between the time I was going out to feed the monster and when I did feed it. Afterwards I could be sedate again.
HF: How did you hide your sex addiction from your wife for so many years? Were there signs that she missed or ignored?
WB: She occasionally saw signs and asked me about them, but I explained them as isolated incidents. Signs like finding phone numbers in pockets, finding numbers that didn’t belong in the telephone bills, finding rubbers or viagra pills that were not being used for us. Another sign was when I’d come home and lock myself in my room so I wouldn’t be bothered. One reason I felt depressed was because I was raised a Christian with a mother who was an associate pastor. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I couldn’t stop. I’d say there is no blatant sign that your partner is a sex addict until they bring home a sexually transmitted disease that you didn’t give them.
Why did Winston wait until he got fired from the NBA and nearly destroyed his marriage before he sought help for sexual addiction?
Get Winston’s unvarnished answers in Part 2 of our interview on the clues and cure for sexual addiction. His
book and mentoring organization (which he runs with his wife) are called “Fight for Your Life” — available at www.WinstonBennett.net
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