People often confuse sex addiction with love addiction, and here at Step One Recovery, we can help you with both of these issues. Sex addiction is usually defined as any kind of sexual activity that feels out of control. It’s not restricted to sex with a partner. It can also include masturbation, using prostitutes and/or sex phone lines and watching pornography.

The problem is not with the sexual habits themselves. But when a person feels compelled towards a particular sex act and cannot control their urges and actions, a sex addiction is highly likely. In many ways, sex addiction is similar to substance abuse such as alcohol or drug addiction. Our bodies release powerful chemical substances during sex (and other sexual acts) and people living with sex addiction can be dependent on this ‘high’.

Defining love addiction

Love addiction is a complex disorder that’s not generally driven by substance or physical urge. People living with love addiction become highly dependent on the emotional stability (either real or perceived) provided by a romantic partner. This can be extremely difficult for both the love addict and their partner as addiction causes obsessive, controlling behaviours.

Many sex and love addicts suffer from low self-esteem and may struggle to feel secure in their own identity. The causes of the disorder vary from one individual to the next, but many sex and love addicts’ issues are rooted in childhood and adolescence. Abuse, trauma and neglect during these life stages can all play a part as can anxiety and depression.

When do sex and love become an addiction?

The effects of sex and love addiction are extremely varied. Certainly, finding yourself in risky situations created by compulsive sex indicates addiction. This could include unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancy, contracting a sexually transmitted disease and physical injury from ‘acting out’ extreme sex acts.

These are more obvious symptoms of sex addiction, but they really only the beginning. Research into sex and love addiction has revealed a host of other outcomes. Many sex and love addicts experience feelings of worthlessness, helplessness and self-hatred. As these feelings grow stronger over time, it’s common for sex and love addicts to become increasingly isolated. Maintaining relationships (both intimate and not) becomes ever more difficult as addiction takes hold. A true sense of perspective can be lost and judgement becomes clouded.

Here at Step One Recovery Centre, our experts can help you. Contact us now and make the first step in the right direction.