Sex and Love Addiction

While addiction is most commonly associated with substances such as alcohol and drugs, it is possible to be addicted to certain activities such as gambling and shopping. Emotional intimacy disorders can also be classified as addictions, with many people addicted to love or sex. Although they are different in and of themselves, these two behavioural addictions have a number of similar characteristics that often overlap. Some individuals suffer from both sex and love addiction simultaneously.

What is Sex Addiction?

Sex addiction is described as any sexual activity over which a person has no control. This often includes sexual activity with a partner but can include other sexual activities such as watching pornography, using sex chat lines, masturbating, or visiting prostitutes. Sex addicts often thrive on the thrill of arousal rather than the intimacy that sex brings with it and, therefore, they find it hard to maintain a healthy intimate relationship with another person.

Those with a sex addiction cannot control their urges, even if they are causing obvious harm to their lives. When sexual activities begin to have a negative impact on an individual’s life, it has become an issue. One of the biggest problems with sex addiction is the fact that sufferers tend not to get help because they are embarrassed or ashamed. There is a certain stigma surrounding sex addiction, with many believing it to be an excuse for someone to have affairs or encounters with prostitutes. However, left untreated, sex addiction can become worse and can eventually have a devastating impact on the sufferer and those closest to him or her.

What is Love Addiction?

Love addiction is described as an uncontrollable need to feel loved. The love addict will often become involved in unhealthy relationships with others by attempting to please the person to which they are infatuated, even if doing so results in harm to themselves. Love addicts often become obsessed with others and become obsessive about relationships. They often suffer from low self-esteem and may be incapable of making a commitment so they will continuously move from one relationship to another.

Causes of Sex and Love Addiction

In many instances, experiences in early life can cause certain individuals to develop a sex or love addiction. Many sex and love addicts have had a difficult early life, which may have included neglect or some form of abuse. In many instances, their parents may have been love or sex addicts.

The feelings of euphoria that are produced by love and sex can become an addiction for some people who want to recreate those feelings again and again.

Signs of a Sex Addiction

There are a number of signs that can indicate a sex addiction; below are a few examples:

  • Becoming easily involved with people on an emotional and sexual level
  • Engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners
  • Feeling guilty about sexual activity
  • Engaging in riskier activity to get the same effects
  • Thinking about sex constantly
  • Avoiding spending time with family and friends to engage in sexual activity
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home or work in favour of engaging in sexual activity
  • Being unable to stop engaging in sexual activity despite promising to do so
  • Being unable to be intimate with a partner because the reality doesn’t live up to the fantasy.

Signs of a Love Addiction

  • Always breaking up and making up with a romantic partner
  • Feeling lonely or lost when not in a romantic relationship
  • Feeling as though a romantic partner is not good enough
  • Unable to feel satisfied unless in a romantic relationship
  • Feeling love for a romantic partner that you have known for a very short period
  • Being unable to sleep or eat following a break up with a partner
  • Becoming obsessed with a partner
  • Aiming to please a partner no matter what sacrifices must be made to do so
  • Feeling jealous when a romantic partner spends time with other people.

The Side Effects of a Sex Addiction

Sex addiction can have some adverse effects on an individual’s life. Sex addiction can, for example, devastate relationships and tends to affect partners more than any other type of addiction does. Those who are married or in a relationship will feel an immense sense of betrayal and shame when they discover that their partner has a sex addiction.

One of the biggest side effects of a sex addiction is the risk of sexually transmitted disease. There is also the added risk of pregnancy.

Sex addicts may suffer from depression or anxiety and could suffer at work due to lack of concentration and decreased productivity.

The Side Effects of a Love Addiction

Love addicts often engage in risky sexual activity and are therefore leaving themselves open to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. They tend to become involved in unhealthy relationships and may be at risk of abuse from a partner both physically and emotionally. Many love addicts will also go on to develop eating disorders as they use food to help control their emotions. Alternatively, they may turn to substances such as drugs or alcohol and could develop addictions to these as well

Love addiction can interfere with a person’s ability to do a job as they find it difficult to concentrate on anything but their love interest. Their obsession causes them to lose the ability to focus on other areas of their life. This may lead to them being unable to hold down a job and suffering financial hardship as a result.

Treatment for Sex and love Addiction

The first step in treating a love or sex addiction is to identify the cause of the problem. In many instances, a childhood experience is to blame for feelings of low self-esteem. Emotional experiences in early childhood need to be identified and addressed so that the love or sex addiction can be overcome.

Recovery Lighthouse has a wealth of experience when it comes to treating patients with love and sex addictions. We use a number of tools and techniques including individual and group therapy as well as relying on 12-step therapies to ensure that each patient gets the help required to beat his or her addiction.

If you are worried that you could have a sex or love addiction, Recovery Lighthouse can help. We have a team of professional counsellors, therapists and support staff on hand to provide you with information about the treatments available. We offer a tailored solution to your problem by assessing your needs and circumstances before beginning any treatment. With our years of experience, you can be sure of getting the help you need to overcome your problems.

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