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Hall believes these partners need help of their own – hence her book, which is essentially a self-help guide, covering three broad areas: understanding sex addiction and why it hurts partners so much; repairing the damage it has caused to the partner; and finally, helping the partner to work out whether the relationship can survive and, either way, how to move forward.

The NHS has a website page dedicated to sex addiction.

“It could involve sex with a partner, but it may also mean activities such as viewing pornography, masturbation, visiting prostitutes or using sex chat lines,” it explains, claiming that while for most people such habits don’t cause problems, sex addicts are unable to control these urges and actions.

“He’d always go to bed later than me and often made excuses when I brought it up,” explains the 41-year-old.

“So when he sat me down one day to tell me he was a sex addict, I actually laughed – although I soon stopped when he disclosed night upon night of watching pornography for hours on end and numerous short-lived affairs.

“The presumption is that the partner knew at some level what was going on and was ‘enabling’ it, which is frankly an insult.

The reality for most partners I see is that they experience phenomenal shock.” The damage to self-esteem, she continues, isn’t just about the sexualised behaviour, such as visits to prostitutes that partners never knew about.

Also providing a haven of hope is the small, but growing, number of support groups.

Joy Rosendale, a sex-addiction therapist specialising in partner work, instigated the first one in the UK back in 2005, following her own experiences.

My life fell apart.” Sex addiction hurts partners in a way that no other addiction can, says Paula Hall, who has written a book on the subject.

is overdue, Hall believes, with thousands of partners across the UK struggling with something that evokes all the most destructive ingredients of personal pain – betrayal, infidelity, deceit and shame.

“Sex addiction feels extremely personal when you’re the partner because it affects the most intimate part of your relationship in a way that, say, alcohol or drugs just don’t,” she explains.