Sex Addict Leads Secret Life Online

sex addict

From prosecutors to presidents, the trap of sexual misconduct seems hard to avoid. President Bill Clinton's indiscretion with White House intern Monica Lewinsky made international headlines. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's penchant for high-end call girls led to his resignation from office.

But there are some, like actor David Duchovny, whose sexual behavior progresses beyond misconduct. It is full-blown sexual addiction.

Brigitte Lank, founder of the Lank Institute for Sexual Addiction and Recovery, works in Marin County, Calif., with patients battling the addiction.

"We are viewing sex addiction in the same way as we do other addictive disorders, like alcoholism," she told ABC News. "They have a craving for the substance."

But sexual addiction is not unique to the world of celebrity. It's also the story of ordinary people like Jonathan Daugherty of San Antonio.

"The whole paradigm of sexual addiction is me," he admitted. "It's about getting what I want. It's very self-centered and self-serving."

In college, Daugherty was the quintessential young Christian man. He led Bible study, where he met and began dating his future wife, Elaine, in 1994.

"What I liked about him on our first date, he prayed before the meal," she said. "I thought I had found a really godly man."

Daugherty was equally taken with his collegiate coed. "Here was this incredibly virtuous, pure, wonderful woman," he said.

Sex Addict's 'Secret Life'

They exchanged vows in church a year later, in the winter of 1995, pledging to keep their marriage bed pure. But, at that point, Daugherty was already leading a secret life.

"The first year we were married, he came to me and said he wanted to confess something," Elaine Daugherty said. "He had taken a J.C. Penney catalogue and had masturbated to it. This is how naive I thought I was. I thought, 'Look at what a godly man he is. He is admitting this struggle to me.'"

What she didn't know was that her husband was amassing an entire catalogue of pornography. It was a costly and time-consuming obsession.

"If you started adding up all of the hours at work that I was thinking about what I was going to do, or trying to scheme to get pornography, and multiply that by the wage I was making," Daugherty said, "then all of a sudden it becomes a lot of money being wasted."

Internet Provides Portal to Porn

Then, Daugherty bought a computer. Like many emerging sex addicts, access to the Internet propelled his obsession to an entirely new level.

"Seventy percent of sex addicts report online porn as the strongest feature of their addiction," Lank of the Institute for Sexual Addiction and Recovery said. "We speak about this in sex addictions as the 3 A's: accessibility, anonymity and affordability. I would add a fourth to that. The arousal system is quite amazing."

Daugherty progressed from looking at Web sites to meeting women in chat rooms. And then, his online flirtations with one woman crossed a line.

"Two little words came across, 'Wanna meet?'" Daugherty replied that he did. They arranged a meeting where they had sex.

"That kind of started a whole other downward spiral of me starting to use the Internet regularly to set up anonymous sexual encounters with people that I found online," he told ABC News.

Feeding a Growing Addiction

Daugherty's appetite for illicit sex only increased. If he had a sexual encounter Monday, he was ready for another by Thursday.

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