Sex and/or Love Addiction
Sex addiction, love addiction, and porn addiction are disorders of emotional intimacy characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that an individual may feel unable to stop, to the detriment of their health, safety, and relationships. Sex, love, and porn addiction can affect men and women of any age.
- Sex/Porn Addiction
- The life of someone struggling with compulsive sexual behaviors is often unmanageable, and the consequences of untreated sex addiction can include disrupted relationships, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, extortion, or arrests. Compulsive sexual behavior can take many forms, including, but not limited to: excessive masturbation, obsession with pornography, sex for pay activities, or anonymous sexual encounters. Individuals struggling with sexual addiction may also experience tremendous shame, and may utilize sexual behavior to cope with shame, anger, fear, anxiety, stress, guilt or loneliness.
- Love Addiction
- Love addiction is characterized by an obsession with the feeling of euphoria and excitement generated by relationships, or the fantasy of one. Love addicts may engage in a pattern of intense, painful or obsessive relationships or stay in unhealthy or co-dependent ones. It is common for those in a love-addicted cycle to fear pain, rejection, abandonment, and loneliness. The person in a love addiction cycle often syncs up with someone in a Love Avoidant cycle, which can reflect a fear of engulfment and obligation driven relationships. This toxic tango is incredibly painful for both partners, and often difficult to break free of without third party help.
A cycle of addiction/compulsion occurs with both sex addiction and love addiction, so it is critically important for treatment to address the impact of addiction in the addict’s life, and to address shame reduction. Therapy is particularly useful in assisting an addict in identifying triggers, rebuilding relationships, learning healthier coping skills, and establish sustained healthy intimacy and sexuality.