Sex and love addiction are both mental disorders often characterized by an impaired ability to engage in healthy emotional intimacy. Any men or women suffering from either disorder commonly have obsessive compulsions and thoughts, leading to unhealthy behaviors. Both types of addictions are diagnosed and measured by the negative impact on the person engaging in problematic behaviors and others around them.
A sex or love addiction can negatively impact your health, career, personal relationships, and even your ability to function responsibly in your life.
What is Love and Sex Addiction?
If you are confused about whether you or someone you know might be a sex or love addict, the details below can help provide some distinctions.
Love addiction is loving someone with an unexplained intensity, to the degree that it is not in the best interest either of yourself or to the other person. Generally, love addicts are preoccupied with a particular person to the point of obsession, pushing aside their wants and needs to satisfy the other person’s wants and needs. As a result, it creates a very unhealthy dependence where the other person’s desires are habitually met by the love addict while ignoring the latter’s needs.
On the other hand, sex addiction is in various ways similar to relationship and love addiction. However, the most significant difference is that you may become compulsively focused on sex rather than the relationship you have or your partner. The pursuit of sexual activities and highly objectified sexual delusions take over and may control your thinking, eventually creating various consequences.
Another significant distinction between love addicts and sex addicts is that they commonly use the lure of romance to attract sexual partners easily. Love addicts, on the other hand, do the opposite, using the allure of sex to attract or keep their romantic partner.
What are the symptoms of sex and love addiction?
There’s substantial controversy about what criteria constitute sex or love addiction. One characteristic might be the secrecy of the behavior. One becomes skilled at hiding behavior, gradually getting better at keeping the condition a secret from your partner, spouse, and even family members.
But sometimes, all symptoms are very noticeable and present. You are looking at a sex and love addiction if the signs below are showing up.
Love addiction behaviors
- Placing the responsibility of your emotional well-being on other people
- Clinging to an idealized relationship regardless of the different reality
- Returning time and again to a destructive and abusive relationship
- Yearning for attention from different relationships
- Seeking new sources of attention
- Missing out on significant commitments (with work, family, or elsewhere)
- Mistaking romantic, sexual intensity for love or lasting intimacy
Sex addiction behaviors
- Excessive masturbation and excessive use of pornography
- Engaging with multiple sexual partners
- Obsessive, chronic sexual thoughts and fantasies
- Interactions with prostitutes
- Preoccupation with having sex, allowing it to interfere with daily life, work, productivity, and so on
- Feeling remorse or guilt after sex
- Lying to cover behaviors
- Inability to control or stop the behavior
There are several speculations and theories as to why love and sexual addictions occur. Some of these directly involve abstracting sex addiction as a mere form of impulse control or obsessive relationship disorder. This type of addiction requires treatment from medical professionals experienced in the field.
What Are the Different Types of Sexual Addictions?
There are no different categories, but sexual addictions come in various forms, including the ones listed below:
These people turn to porn obsessively or compulsively, watching it at inappropriate places and times.
A person obtains sexual pleasure by forcing the other person to engage in sexual activities. This category includes rape and pedophilia.
It involves touching somebody in sexual gestures without their consent.
S&M is where addicts are either a sadist or masochist. A sadist is someone sexually aroused by causing pain to their partner. Masochists are people who gain arousal by having pain inflicted on them.
Sex addicts are exhibitionists often turned on by exposing their private parts or genitals to others, usually in public.
Sex for Trade/ Paid Sex
This type of sexual addiction is when the addict takes payment in exchange for sex.
Is Porn Addiction the Same as Sex Addiction?
As with any addiction, there are many tell-tale signs that you or someone you know might have a problem. With sex addiction, the person consistently thinks about sex, acting upon urges despite the potential consequences. This compulsive sexual behavior comes with overuse or misuse of sexuality, including everything from fetishes to pornography and masturbation.
Porn viewing/addiction, though not a substance, can usually produce similar brain responses. If porn viewing or addiction includes orgasm and masturbation, the hormonal and chemical reaction is more powerful and complex. Hence, the desire to repeat the behavior will become far more substantial.
While those who suffer from compulsive sexual behavior disorder will do everything to fulfill their wild fantasies, thoughts, and urges, others seek sex from other people. Hence, some other people might prefer lesser personal means of pornography. And because of this difference, others view porn addiction and sex addiction as separate disorders.
There are several obvious similarities and overlapping areas between the two. It is even most likely possible to struggle with both sex and porn addiction-like behaviors simultaneously. Then again, they’re not the same thing.
With sex addiction, there’s a more substantial interpersonal component – another person to satisfy the sexual needs. On the other hand, people addicted to pornography are more likely to be introverted, not needing someone to satisfy them.
If you or someone you know has a love or sex addiction or is less expressive in their desired sexual behavior, withdrawal symptoms might occur. The symptoms might include mood swings, anxiety, restlessness, depression, or other symptoms. Withdrawal might give way to relapse if not prevented. Know firsthand that it is difficult to recover from any form of addiction without seeking professional help.
It might be in your best interest to visit the nearest addiction treatment center in Simi Valley. Talk to your doctor or an addiction specialist for guidance and additional resources. They will help you determine some of the underlying factors feeding or maintaining porn or sex addiction. These people are professionals who can teach appropriate coping with feelings, distinguishing behaviors, and filtering thoughts.
Restore Health and Wellness offers addiction counseling for specific addiction types and addiction treatment in California. If you are seeking help for yourself or for your loved one, please contact us immediately. You can visit us at 6918 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303. You can also give us a call at (818) 405-8656.