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Many different things can become addictive, and that includes sex and love.
What is sex addiction?
Sex addiction is described as any sexual activity that feels out of control.
It could involve sex with a partner, but it may also mean activities such as viewing pornography, masturbation, visiting prostitutes, or using sex chat lines.
For many people, these habits don’t cause them a problem. But sex addicts are unable to control these urges and actions, despite the problems they may cause in their relationships, finances and professional lives.
In most cases the habit has started in life as a coping strategy and developed into an addiction. Your therapist at Talk in the Bay will usually use a combination of Schema therapy and CBT to help your problems with addictive behaviours.
What are the issues for partners?
Finding out that your partner is a sex or pornography addict is devastating for most partners. Not only do partners experience the betrayal and deceit that often accompanies an affair, but they may also have to face a future with a partner living in recovery from addiction. Most partners have absolutely no idea that their partner is an addict until it is either disclosed or discovered, so shock is the first and most intense emotion. Along with that are feelings of anger, shame, self-doubt, loss and fear.
How do you know if your partner is a sex addict?
It’s impossible to know if someone is a sex addict without a thorough assessment but warning signs include increasing secrecy, isolation, moodiness and avoidance of couple, family and social responsibilities. There may be increased irritability, tiredness, depression and anxiety and some couples notice an impact on their sex life such as erectile difficulties or avoiding sex. But do remember there are many explanations for all of these behaviours so it’s important not to jump to conclusions. However, if you know your partner has struggled with addictions in the past and you also know that they use pornography – it may be worth asking if their pornography use has increased or become problem for them.
What is love addiction?
Love addicts become dependent on the emotional stability provided by romantic partners. They often have low self-esteem and lack self-identity, and their addiction can result in obsessive, controlling behaviour.
The cause of love addictions and sex addictions is often rooted in childhood or adolescence. Early trauma, neglect or depression may be factors.
The consequences of sex addiction and love addiction are varied. Sex addicts and love addicts will typically have long-term relationship and intimacy problems, but the addiction can also affect them financially, professionally, physically and socially.
The recovery process for sex addicts and love addicts is similar to that of substance addictions. It involves identifying and changing behaviour that’s painful and damaging.
At Talk in the bay we can offer you a combination of Schema therapy and CBT strategies to help you deal with and recover from the any addictive behaviours