Sex and Love Addiction
It can sound strange (maybe even fake) but love and sex can be addictive. It can also be as destructive to relationships as substance abuse. Love addicts go through life with desperate hopes and constant fears. The sex addict follows a routine or ritual leading to “acting out” their desires. After the “high” is gone, they feel shame, despair, and confusion. Doesn’t this sound familiar to drug and alcohol problems?
Addictive sex is like most other compulsive behaviors. Defining sex addiction depends less on the behavior than on the person’s motivation. Sex addicts don’t have the ability to control their sexual feelings and actions. The need for arousal replaces the need for intimacy. Eventually, thrill seeking becomes more important than family, career, even personal health and safety.
I find it interesting that if you do an internet search for “sex addiction” many of the results are titled “is sex addiction real?” I can make sense of that for two reasons. First, sexual relations are part of human nature. Calling people “water addicts” “shelter addicts” or “eating basic foods to keep alive” addicts would sound a little strange too. I had to put a caveat with the food, since we know there are lots of food addictions. Second, plenty of people caught cheating on their spouses, will cry “it wasn’t my fault, I’m a sex addict”. In many cases that might be true, but most of the time it seems a bit sketchy. Like maybe the person, is justifying their crappy behavior and calling for a “do-over”.
Signs of Sexual Addiction
•Preoccupation: continual fantasies about sexual situations, which trigger episodes of sexual “acting-out”
•Ritualization: a preferred sexual activity or situation is often stereotyped and repetitive
•Compulsion: constant engagement in sexual activity despite negative consequences and desire to stop
•Despair: guilt or shame over inability to control behavior or feel remorse
•Other behavioral problems, particularly alcohol, drugs and eating disorders
Signs of Love Addiction
Love addiction is different than sex addiction. To me, it sounds very similar to co-dependency, Love addicts spend most of their time and effort on the person, they are addicted to. The love addict honor this person way more than themselves. They are entirely focuses on this person in an extremely obsessive way. It is
•All consuming (obsessive)
•Void of true love and intimacy
•Avoidance of risk and change
•Manipulative and dependent
There are lots of tests online. I made my own up.
Do you lie to family and friends about your sexual behavior?
Has casual sex kept you from having more long-term intimate relationships?
Do you regret the time and energy you spend in the pursuit of sex or relationships?
Were you abused or emotionally neglected as a child?
Do you feel disgusted by your sexual thoughts or activity?
Do you engage in behavior that is dangerous and inappropriate?
Have your ever been intimate with someone of inappropriate age?
Do you feel depressed after sex?
Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?
Does your life seem unmanageable?
Are you having sex with people or in places you would not normally choose?
Do you lead a secret or double life?
Do you need to engage in more extreme sexual activities to get the same level of excitement you used to?
Do you engage in activities involving violence?
Do you have feelings of hopelessness or despair?
Do you pay for sex?
Do you ever engage in online pornography, while on the job?
Did your parents have a normal and loving relationship?
Has anyone been hurt emotionally as a result of your sexual behavior?
Have you ever been ridiculed by your sexual behavior?
Has sex or fantasies become a way for your to escape problems?
Have you ever used the Internet to make erotic connects with people online?
Have you ever attempted to stop or regulate your sexual behaviors?
Do you ever trade sex for money, gifts or favors?
Have you ever maintained multiple relationships at the same time?
Do you sometimes feel that your are out of control?
Free Organization – SAA Sex Addict Anonymous
“As a fellowship of recovering addicts, Sex Addicts Anonymous offers a message of hope to anyone who suffers from sex addiction.
Through long and painful experience, we came to realize that we were powerless over our sexual thoughts and behaviors and that our preoccupation with sex was causing progressively severe adverse consequences for us, our families, and our friends. Despite many failed promises to ourselves and attempts to change, we discovered that we were unable to stop acting out sexually by ourselves.”