Sex and love addictions

Sex and love addictions
are different sides of the same coin.

Sex addiction
is really referring to behaviours:

compulsive masturbation,
use of internet pornography,

a whole host of ritualised
sexual behaviours.

Love addiction is more
a psychological or emotional style,

harking back to childhood, the handsome
prince and living happily ever after,

where again someone,
more commonly a woman,

repeatedly behaves in relationships

in a pattern that ends up
being very self-destructive.

I was in a relationship for eight years.

We tried, I think, over 16 times
getting back together,

separating, getting back together,

each time hoping it would be better.

And that got so painful,

I eventually got to a situation

where I thought I had to get
some kind of psychological help

and also find other people who have been
through the same kind of trauma.

It's easy to be almost scoffing
of this disorder,

but we're increasingly realising
the extent of it.

And in terms of consequences,

these sorts of behaviours
destroy relationships.

So people, as with any addiction,
start losing social relationships,

professional work relationships

and, in some instances,
obviously can get in trouble legally,

depending on the nature of things.

Financially, if the sexual addiction
takes people into prostitution...

For example, in my own situation,

really not being able to function
at work at all,

really bad dreams,
severe, suicidal depression.

Now, some people might experience that
when a relationship ends,

but I would think this is slightly
extreme, and I could at least see that.

I could see this is bizarre,

because this seems to be beyond the
"normal" grief you might experience

if you end a relationship.

The key thing about love addiction

is that the person with it is probably
suffering from very poor sense of self,

so they seek a solution to their
absence of self in someone else.

Such a person is not going to grow

and is probably going to end up
experiencing all sorts of other symptoms

such as depression, trauma and so on.

I think love addiction, basically,

is the belief that unless
I am with somebody, I don't exist.

And also the fact that somebody else
is going to fix me, make me feel OK,

because I feel deep down
so awful about myself.

Addictive behaviour
often covers up other things.

If you remove addictive behaviour,
you still have the other things,

which may be mood disorders, trauma,

emotional issues from the past, all of
which must be faced and addressed.

And that involves therapy.

The key thing would be to find
a counsellor or therapist

who is at least aware of and has some
expertise in sexual addictions,

and a GP might be able to help
with that.

If not, it would be worth contacting
a self-help support group

such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.

Please, please talk to somebody. You are
not alone and there is help out there.

It's hard to admit it,
but once you admit it,

that's a great mark of humility
and you're on your way.