DEAR DEIDRE: PAYING for sex leaves me feeling disgusted and guilty, yet I can’t stop myself.

I’ve been seeing escorts for seven years, ever since my wife stopped wanting me.

She’s 37, I’m 36 and we have three girls, aged 11, nine and seven.

I love my wife — she’s a wonderful woman and a great mother — but she was never very sexual and once she’d given birth to our youngest, she shied away from making love.

I can’t even remember the last time we were intimate. Eventually, I gave up trying as the rejection was too painful.

To cope, I started watching porn. That led me to sites where you could buy sex and I started arranging casual hook-ups.

Paying for sex felt preferable to having an affair because no emotions were involved.

Over the years, I must have had sex with about 20 women, one every few months.

Each time, I am left feeling dirty and remorseful, and I pledge to myself never to do it again.

I hate the fact I’m betraying my wife.

Another reason I want to stop is because of my daughters. The thought of any man using them the way I use women makes me feel sick,

But I keep going back because I’m weak and pathetic.

Last week, I had a particularly horrible encounter. I definitely got the sense the girl was unhappy.

It later occurred to me she may have been trafficked.

Although I didn’t force her, I should have just given her the money and left. Instead, I asked her for oral sex.

Ever since, I have been plagued with self-hatred.

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I can barely look my wife in the eye and I’ve been distant with my daughters.

I want to change but I don’t know how to. Please help me.

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DEIDRE SAYS: You aren’t a terrible person.

Admitting that you don’t want to continue your behaviour is brave, and the first step to changing.

You can stop using sex workers. The fact you only do this every few months demonstrates you have some control.

So first make a decision not to buy sex again. And then focus your energies on working on your marriage.

Talk to your wife about how the lack of intimacy is affecting you.

She doesn’t need to know about the escorts – but get a sexual health check.

Say you’d like to feel closer again and ask if she is willing to try.

MORE FROM DEAR DEIDRE

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I suggest you have some relationship counselling together. You can find that via tavistockrelationships.org (020 7380 1960).

My support pack, Reviving Sex Drive, might also be helpful.

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