Sex and Love Addiction: Signs and Symptoms
What is Sex and Love addiction?
Most people assume that addiction always involves alcohol or drugs; the reality is that addiction is an illness of the individual’s brain and that it is possible for a sufferer to become addicted to almost anything…or anyone. Addiction to sex and love is a common manifestation of the illness; just because it doesn’t involve a substance doesn’t mean it is any less harmful or destructive to the individual sufferer, or to their family and loved ones.
Classified as a process addiction, sex and love addiction is often overlooked. If you or a loved one are suffering, you may want to read on…
Sex addiction can manifest in varying forms, but basically is a term used to describe any out of control sexual activity. Those affected often feel deep shame and guilt around their addiction. Fear of being mocked or judged often delays them in seeking help. As with any addiction, they simply cannot get enough of the activity they are addicted to and often resort to more risky and extreme behaviours in order to try and satisfy themselves.
Sex addiction is a real disorder and often carries serious consequences to the individual and to their loved ones. The various manifestations of sex addiction are:
- Excessive use of porn
- Excessive masturbation
- Numerous sexual partners
- Having numerous affairs whilst committed to another person
- Using prostitutes
- Using more extreme forms of sex, pornography or masturbation
- Excessive use of sex chat lines and sex webcam’s
While these activities are mostly harmless when done in moderation, safely and whilst not in a committed monogamous relationship, those with a sex addiction will become obsessed to the point where their sexual activity affects their everyday life. Sex addiction can have a devastating impact on all aspects of the person’s life, including their relationships, career and finances.
In particular, spouses and partners find sex addiction the most difficult to cope with, for them it brings up feelings of betrayal, jealousy and mistrust. It can be extremely painful being close to someone with a sex addiction. Usually the sufferer will keep the addiction a secret for as long as they possibly can. They understand the harm and pain it will cause for a partner to find out, yet they are still unable to stop themselves from doing it.
Sex addiction is characterised by an out of control sexual activity that impacts on other areas of the individual’s life; causing them great emotional pain, heartache and loss. Despite wanting to stop and having suffered negative consequences, they are compelled to continue in their destructive and sometimes deviant behaviours. The addiction centres on the euphoric effects that the brain produces whilst planning and engaging in the activity. The addict will go to any lengths to get the euphoric high, often disregarding their own well-being and the well being of others in the process.
Those that suffer from love addiction have an overwhelming need to feel loved, often to their own detriment and to the detriment of those that love and care for them. They will go to extraordinary lengths to search out love or please their partners, even if it means compromising their own needs and wellbeing. Those that are affected may become obsessed with the idea of being in love, they may have numerous relationships or stay in destructive relationships as they have difficulty being on their own. Over time, love addiction causes serious consequences to the individual; they are unable to find a balance or maintain a healthy relationship for any reasonable period of time.
Love addiction is an attachment disorder in which the sufferer becomes dependent on the attention of a romantic partner. Much like any other addiction, the crux of the problem centres in the individual’s mind. Those affected often suffer from cripplingly low self-esteem and believe that they are worthless if they are not in a relationship. They may tolerate harmful behaviour from their partner, as they believe that is all they deserve and it is preferable to being on their own. Many that suffer from love addiction, do not even realise it is an illness and that there is treatment and help available. We offer a highly effective sex/love rehab programme for those suffering, that treats the root causes of the addiction within the individual that frees them to form healthy relationships; firstly with themselves and then with others in the future.
Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction
It can be difficult to admit that you or a loved one are suffering from a sex or love addiction and need help. Sex and love addiction is a growing problem and causes the sufferer to feel worthless, depressed and anxious. Let’s looks at the characteristics, that may help you to decide if you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to sex or love that requires professional rehab treatment in order to overcome:
Characteristics of a Sex Addict:
Engaging with multiple sexual partners
- Needing more sexual activity or more extreme forms to feel the same pleasure
- Engaging in risky sexual behaviour
- Trying to stop but being unable to
- Neglecting personal and financial responsibilities in favour of sexual activity
- Obsessively thinking about sex
- Being unable to be intimate with a partner because it does not produce the desired level of pleasure or induces feelings of guilt
- Continuing to engage in sexual activity despite it causing problems at home or in other areas of the sufferer’s life.
Characteristics of a love addict:
- Feeling a constant need to be in a relationship
- Committing to and falling in love with a partner without really knowing them
- Constantly moving from one relationship to another in search of love
- Never feeling satisfied within a relationship
- Becoming obsessed with and overly reliant on a partner
- Staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of being in a relationship
- Suffering from severe depression and destructive behaviours after breaking up with a partner
- Making personal sacrifices in order to please a partner
- Neglecting their own needs and needs of family in order to be with a partner
- Isolating from friends, neglecting personal responsibilities and finances when with a partner
- Being jealous and possessive when a partner talks to, or spends time with other people.
Causes of a Sex or Love Addiction
As with all addictions, sex and love addictions can affect anyone. Nevertheless, some people are more predisposed to developing an addiction than others. Certain contributing factors can mean a person is more at risk of developing an addiction. Primrose Lodge treat the root causes of an individual’s addiction through medical and therapeutic means in order to achieve a full and permanent recovery.
The following factors can contribute to an individual being at higher risk of developing a sex or love addiction:
- Family history–Sex and love addictions can be learned behaviours, and if a child is brought up in a home where one partner is a love addict, that child may go on to believe that this behaviour is normal and so continue the cycle.
- Hormones–Some individuals have higher hormone levels than others; this can affect their sex drive. Those with high levels of sex hormones may be compelled to engage in excessive sexual activity, as all they can think about is sex and seeking gratification.
- Traumatic experiences– Those who have suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood or during their first encounters with relationships, may be more prone to developing a sex or love addiction. Their traumatic experience(s) is all they have to go on in terms of what a relationship should look like. Low self esteem and self worth can drive the individual to seeking out love and sex in the wrong places and with the wrong people.
- Previous bad relationship–Individuals whom have suffered previously in a bad relationship in the past, may feel unworthy or obsessed with the idea of being in love. They may seek out numerous relationships, desperate to feel loved; or they may stay too long in unloving and unkind relationships, feeling that is all they deserve. By carrying the baggage of their past bad experience(s) they will struggle to form healthy relationships with others.
The next steps
The correct treatment can be hard to find. Primrose Lodge offers a comprehensive sex and love addiction treatment programme; if you or a loved one are suffering, get in touch with us at Primrose Lodge today.