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Understanding Sex Addiction

One of the many conditions that can both accompany other addictions and function as an addiction on its own is sex addiction. Whereas we usually associate addiction with substances such as drugs and alcohol, there are many behaviors that can become similarly addictive and destructive in a person’s life. Gambling, gaming, spending, shoplifting and overeating are all examples. Sex addiction, often referred to as love and sex addiction, is when a person’s relationship with sex and romance has become unhealthy, obsessive, impulsive and compulsive. When we struggle with sex addiction, our natural impulses for love and sex are overtaken by a neediness, a desperation, a compulsive need to return to a feeling of being high. Our thoughts are dominated by our sexual relationships, and we find it hard to focus on anything else. Our lives can become totally consumed by our reckless and dangerous behaviors. Our health can be derailed by our sexual patterns.

Very often our addictions stem from the trauma we haven’t resolved within ourselves. Sex addiction is no different. Sometimes our traumatic experiences were sexual in nature, causing us to have a dysfunctional relationship with sex based on fear, mistrust, shame and sadness. Sometimes our trauma can be totally unrelated, but our unresolved pain manifests in a sexual way. For example, the abandonment we felt at the loss of a loved one can cause us to compulsively try to relieve that pain through having sex.

With sex addiction, we often confuse sex for love and vice versa. In a healthy relationship, sex can be a mutual expression of our love and a reflection of it. In unhealthy relationships based on addiction, we have a hard time processing or clarifying our thoughts and feelings, including our definitions of love, respect and trust. We don’t know how to define, let alone embody, a healthy partnership. Often what results is a lot of confusion and turmoil. We’re filled with neediness and longing. Our relationships are based on codependence. We form attachments rather than unions. We feel as though there is a void within us that we try to fill through being loved, needed and wanted by another person. We can become just as addicted to the euphoric feelings of love as we are to the physical act of sex, and both can become the driving forces behind our behavior.

Sex addiction is one of the many co-occurring conditions we treat at Enlightened Solutions. You’re not alone. There is help available to you. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.

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