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For most people, an addiction always involves drugs or alcohol. However, addiction is an illness that targets an individual’s brain and can include attraction to anything or anyone. Addiction to love and sex is a common manifestation of 33illnesses, and just because it does not involve any harmful substance does not make it any less destructive for the sufferer or their loved ones. Classified as a process addiction, sex, and love addiction is quite common but is often overlooked because of a lack of awareness.

Sex addiction may manifest in different forms but is used to describe a situation where a person individual in any out-of-control sexual activity. Those affected by this addiction often feel guilt and shame around their addiction; however, the fear of being judged or mocked stops them from getting help. As with any type of addiction, they cannot get enough of this activity and often engage in extreme and risky behaviors to satisfy themselves.

Sex addiction signifies a real disorder and often carries serious consequences for the sufferer and their loved ones. It usually manifests in different activities, such as excessively watching porn and masturbating or keeping multiple partners simultaneously. While these activities tend to be harmless when done in moderation and safely, those with a sex addiction often develop an intense obsession with them, often to the point where their sexual activity starts affecting their everyday life.

Sex addiction can devastate all aspects of an individual’s life, including their career, finances, and relationships. In particular, partners and spouses find sex addiction the most difficult to cope with, as it generates feelings of betrayal, mistrust, and jealousy. It can also be quite painful to be close to someone with a sex addiction. In general, the sufferers keep the addiction to their partners a secret for as long as possible. However, doing so can only delay the treatment and make matters worse.

Individuals who suffer from love addiction experience an overwhelming need to feel important and loved, often to their detriment along with the detriment of the one they love. Such people are willing to go to extraordinary lengths in search of love or to please their partners, even if it compromises their own well-being and needs. The affected individuals may develop an obsession with being in love and may establish numerous relationships or continue to stay in abusive relationships as they struggle to manage on their own. Over time, their love addiction leads to severe consequences as the victim cannot find or maintain a healthy balance in any relationship.

Some experts consider love addiction as an attachment disorder in which the afflicted individual becomes dependent on the attention they receive from a romantic partner. Similar to any other addiction, the crux of the problem lies in the individual’s mind. Those affected by love addiction experience cripplingly low self-esteem and consider themselves worthless if they are not a part of an active relationship. They might be willing to tolerate harmful behaviors from their partners as they truly believe they deserve it and prefer to live alone. Unfortunately, many who suffer from love addiction do not realize that they suffer from an illness for which help is available.

Admitting if you or a loved one is suffering from love and relationship addiction and seeking help can be extremely difficult. Due to its stigma, the condition continues to grow, causing the sufferer to feel depressed, anxious, and worthless. To seek help for this issue, it is imperative to understand the common sex love addiction symptoms to identify it in time.

Signs of a Sex Addict

  • Engaging with multiple sexual partners at the same time
  • Engaging in risky sexual behavior
  • Needing more sexual activity or more extreme forms of sexual activity to feel the same pleasure
  • Trying to stop but constantly failing
  • Obsessively thinking about sex
  • Neglecting financial and personal responsibilities due to increased interest in sexual activity
  • Repetitively engaging in sexual activity despite acknowledging the problems it is causing at home or in other areas of life
  • Inability to be intimate with a partner because it does not lead to the desired level of pleasure

Signs of a Love Addict

  • Experiencing a constant need to be in a relationship
  • Constantly moving from one relationship to another to find  love
  • Falling in love with a partner without really knowing them
  • Never feeling satisfied within a relationship
  • Staying in an abusive relationship simply for the sake of being in a relationship
  • Becoming overly reliant and obsessed with a partner
  • Developing from severe depression and other destructive behaviors following a breaking up
  • Neglecting personal and family needs to be with a partner
  • Making personal sacrifices to please a partner
  • Withdrawing from friends and neglecting finances and other personal responsibilities when with a partner
  • Feeling possessive and jealous when a partner talks to other people or spends time with them

As with all other types of addictions, sex and love addictions are likely to affect anyone. Nevertheless, some people might be more predisposed to developing them than others. Such people have certain contributing factors that make them at more risk of developing these addictions. Some of these factors include:

Family History

Sex and love addiction mainly occurs due to learned behaviors. A child brought up in a household where one or both parents are love addicts are automatically likely to believe that this behavior is normal and pursue it in the future.

Hormones

Some individuals tend to have a higher level of hormones than others which directly affects their sex drive. These high levels of hormones may compel them to engage in excessive or intense sexual activity, and such people may constantly find themselves thinking about sex and seeking gratification from it.

Traumatic Experiences

People who have suffered physical, sexual, or physical abuse in childhood or during their initial relationships are at a higher risk of developing sex and love addiction. Such people base their future relationships on these traumatic experiences and use them to visualize what a relationship should look like. Furthermore, low self-worth and self-esteem can also drive an individual to seek out sex and love with the wrong people in the wrong places.

Previous Bad Relationships

Individuals who have previously suffered in bad relationships may feel obsessed with the idea of being in love. They may tend to seek out multiple relationships out of desperation to feel loved. Sometimes, they may even stay too long in an unkind or unloving relationship, believing that this is all they deserve.

Mentioned below are some common tips to overcome sex and love addictions.

Educate Yourself

Try to learn as much as possible about your addiction and discover why you might be having it. By doing so, you will acquire a stronger sense of self, understand who you are and what you want to be, and be able to resist the temptations of a new romance, relationship, or hookup.

Find Perspective

If you find your attention grabbed by a sexual or romantic possibility, try not to make it your highest priority. Try diverting your attention to your social and family commitments, ensure you fulfill all your work first, and lead your life as you were before this new partner came along. Consider speaking with a professional if the impulse is strong enough to control your day.

Value Yourself

A common reason why people get into love addiction is to seek validation from their romantic partners. Try breaking this cycle by understanding that you do not need any approval from others. Any validation must come from you; the more you value yourself, the more others will respect and admire you.

Seek Professional Therapy

If the problem is too severe to handle, do not be afraid to seek professional help. A relationship therapist or counselor can guide you best about how to manage this underlying problem by unmasking the underlying causes triggering these addictions. Working with a therapist can uncover any deep-rooted issues that might make these addictions worse.

Join Family Support Groups

Those nearest to a person with sex or love addiction may often blame themselves or go through a range of emotions, such as guilt, depression, frustration, anger, or despair. Others may generally struggle to cope with difficult emotions and feel influential regarding how to deal with the situation. If you are one of these people whose loved ones are battling a sex and love addiction, remember that there are many family support groups that involve families in the treatment process to greatly increase the prospects of recovery for everyone.

Never Look Back

Once you have successfully broken the cycle of addiction, develop a strong belief in your ability. Even if you slip back into the old behaviors at some point, do not belittle yourself or call yourself an addict. Instead, reframe the entire situation and consider it a slip-up and get back to recovery. Keep good distractions in your hands, such as an exercise program, plans with friends, or a good book, to keep your mind engaged and change your behaviors.

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