Love & Sex Addiction
is finally being recognized as a serious problem with serious consequences.
It can be defined as being obsessed with a person, fantasy, or relationship
and mistaking this for love. Love Addiction can look different in different
people. One common denominator is that being love addicted feels as
if you are hanging on by a thread, and the obsession naturally brings
very little sense of consistency or stability to one's life. Your life
may begin to revolve around this person/fantasy or relationship. Some
find themselves unable to be without a relationship. Often times people
describe relationships as their “air” feeling unable to
function if they are not partnered with someone. Others may become obsessed
with a person long after they are physically and emotionally gone. Some
get obsessed with a romantic fantasy and get lost in daydreams and delusion.
All of these different versions of love addiction interfere with the
ability to be in the present moment and cope with reality.
of Love Addiction (this is not a complete list):
of love addiction (this is not a complete list):
*Information incorporated in this section is taken from Susan Peabody's Addiction to Love.*
1. Facing Love
Addiction by Pia Mellody
Love Addiction Weblinks:
1. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous www.slaafws.org
2. Stanton Peele's Love and Addiction website www.peele.net
4. Addiction and Recovery Information www.selfgrowth.com
5. Sex and Love Addiction Information www.webmd.com/hw/healthy_sexuality
Sex Addiction Helpful Weblinks
1. S-ANON www.sanon.org
2.Sexual Compulsives Anonymous www.sca-recovery.org
3. Sexaholics Anonymous www.sa.org
4. Sex Addicts Anonymous www.saa-recovery.org
5. COSA (Codependents of Sex Addicts) www.cosa-recovery.org
6. Sexual Recovery Anonymous www.sexualrecovery.org
According to the SAA website, “the essence of all addiction is the addicts experience of powerlessness over a compulsive behavior, resulting in their lives becoming unmanageable”. Sex Addiction interferes with a person’s life on a lot of different levels: financially, physically, socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Often times sex addicts find it impossible to maintain real intimacy with a person they are in a relationship with, despite desperately wanting to. They might find themselves unable to have sex with their partner, and only excited when engaged in their rituals and obsession. Many addicts are in denial about their problem because of the immense shame that they feel. If the addict is in a relationship, it’s usually the partner that feels inadequate, frustrated and confused; they know something is wrong but they don’t know what. The Sex Addict is living a double life and may find themselves at the strip club and not know how they got there, or in the video store looking for porn all weekend long. The addict has a ‘love affair’ with their addiction, which leads to negative consequences, loneliness, lack of respect for oneself and others, and ultimately despair, shame and hopelessness. In extreme cases, sex addiction can lead to arrests, and life threatening disease and STD’s. Intervention and therapy is crucial. If you see yourself or your partner in the above description, contact a therapist who understands and can help you with your addiction.
Below is a Self-Assessment test that I’ve gotten from the SAA website. If you do see yourself in the questions below, I suggest going to the SAA website and checking out a meeting.
*taken from the SAA website*
A Useful Tool for Self-Assessment
Answer these twelve questions to assess whether you may have a problem with sexual addiction.
1. Do you keep secrets about your sexual or romantic activities from those important to you? Do you lead a double life?
2. Have your needs driven you to have sex in places or situations or with people you would not normally choose?
3. Do you find yourself looking for sexually arousing articles or scenes in newspapers, magazines, or other media?
4. Do you find that romantic or sexual fantasies interfere with your relationships or are preventing you from facing problems?
5. Do you frequently want to get away from a sex partner after having sex? Do you frequently feel remorse, shame, or guilt after a sexual encounter?
6. Do you feel shame about your body or your sexuality, such that you avoid touching your body or engaging in sexual relationships? Do you fear that you have no sexual feelings, that you are asexual?
7. Does each new relationship continue to have the same destructive patterns which prompted you to leave the last relationship?
8. Is it taking more variety and frequency of sexual and romantic activities than previously to bring the same levels of excitement and relief?
9. Have you ever been arrested or are you in danger of being arrested because of your practices of voyeurism, exhibitionism, prostitution, sex with minors, indecent phone calls, etc.?
10. Does your pursuit of sex or romantic relationships interfere with your spiritual beliefs or development?
11. Do your sexual activities include the risk, threat, or reality of disease, pregnancy, coercion, or violence?
12. Has your sexual or romantic behavior ever left you feeling hopeless, alienated from others, or suicidal?
2. Don't Call it Love: Recovery from Sex Addiction by Patrick Carnes
3. Sex and Love Addiction Treatment and Recovery by Eric Griffin-Shelley
4. Oversexed and Under Loved: A recovery Guide to Sex Addiction by Douglas Rubin
5. Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sex Addiction by Patrick Carnes
6. Facing the Shadow by Patrick Carnes
7. Sex Addiction by Ralph H. Earle
8. Women, Sex and Addiction by Charlotte Kasl
9. Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men by Robert Weiss LCSW