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  • Love, Porn & Sexual Addiction

    Human beings are wired for connection and love; from Shakespeare’s literature and musical plays to Hollywood films, love has existed among humans for thousands of years and has consisted of music lyrics, romantic literature, troubadours’ musicians, love songs, and theater plays. Love provides a sense of meaning to our existence, and without it, you may feel the sting of loneliness.

    Love addiction becomes an obsession with the fantasy of being in love with an irresistible desire to pursue romantic relationships at the cost of their well-being. Codependency may lead you to stay in an unhealthy relationship because you are afraid of being on your own. The craving to feel loved by another and express your love may lead you to extraordinary attempts to please your lover, causing a loss of identity and balance over-managing one’s life.

    Love addiction originates from an attachment style condition in which you may become reliant on the attention of a romantic partner to the detriment of your career and negatively impact other areas of your life. It is common to experience anxiety, depression, low self-worth, and low self-esteem, believing that you can only be worthy if you are in a relationship.

    Characteristics of Love Addiction

    • Feeling that you cannot be alone. You must be in a relationship
    • Falling head over heels in love with a partner without taking the time to get to know their core values and who they are as a person
    • Being involved in serial relationships one after the other
    • Codependency and obsession around your partner and relationship
    • Staying in a relationship where you are emotionally, verbally, or physically mistreated because you would rather stay than leave.
    • Break-Ups are emotionally challenging and devastating
    • Neglecting your wants, desires, and needs only to please your partner
    • Unable to maintain a work-life balance and failing in other areas
    • Being envious, jealous, and insecure when your partner spends time with family and friends

    Signs of Love Addiction

    Requiring to be in love to find happiness

    Idealizing and romanticizing the partner overlooking red flags

    Challenging relationships experiencing the same pattern

    Distorted attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors about love

    Compulsive obsessiveness regarding love and partner

    Passions, desires, excitement, and codependency on partner

    Craving to fall in love multiple times and not feeling satisfied

    Often there is unrequited love from the partner

    Unable to tolerate being alone

    Relationships often collapse, and the cycle repeats itself

    Symptoms of Love Addiction

    Does not recognize the difference between true love and an obsession, codependency, and enmeshment with the partner

    Lack of boundaries in establishing a healthy relationship

    Diving right into a relationship quickly before really getting to know partner

    Abandonment and rejection fears of not being able to be alone

    Tolerates emotional, verbal, and physical abuse to stay in a relationship

    Obsession with relationship partner at the cost of career and well-being

    Often the partner is avoidant, emotionally unavailable, disconnected, detached, and possibly in a marriage or a committed relationship

    Break-ups cause immense emotional pain and suffering

    Risk Factors of Love Addiction

    Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)

    Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA)

    Childhood emotional, physical abuse, and neglect

    Mental health issues including anxiety and depression

    Lack of care, nurture, and love as a child

    Anxious and Insecure attachment style

    Abandonment and codependency

    Low self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence

    Sex Addiction

    A compulsive sexual activity negatively influences areas of your life, creating havoc and interfering with interpersonal relationships. Even though you may have good intentions and would like to stop – you may find yourself unable to do so, causing guilt and shameful feelings.

    Signs & Symptoms

    • Compulsive sexual activities and stimulation are the primary focus
    • Multiple sexual partners, sex workers, prostitutes, one-night stands
    • Excessive use of internet pornography, webcams, and cybersex
    • Excessive masturbation and unable to control oneself
    • Repetitive affairs and infidelity even though you love your partner
    • High-risk sexual behaviors jeopardize your health
    • Sexual cravings that cannot be controlled lasting for six months
    • Neglecting responsibilities in favor of sexual rendezvous
    • Challenges with emotional connection and intimacy with the partner

     

    Love, Porn, and Sex Addiction recovery involves CBT cognitive behavioral therapy, examining childhood and adolescent trauma, maladaptive beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and establishing healthy adaptive coping skills for emotional self-regulation and establishing awareness and mindfulness grounding. We can collaborate to create a treatment plan that will address the core issues and bring healing and recovery in creating the best version of yourself.

     

    References

    AASECT Position on sexual addiction. (n.d.).

    https://www.aasect.org/position-sex-addiction

    George, M., et al. (2018). Psychosocial intervention for sexual addiction.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5844164/

    Hero, M. (2018). What is sexual addiction?

    https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-sexual-addiction/

    Emamzadeh, A. (2019). What is love addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-new-home/201902/what-is-love-addiction

    Earp, B. D., Wudarczyk, O. A., Foddy, B., & Savulescu, J. (2017). Addicted to love: What is love addiction, and when should it be treated?. Philosophy, psychiatry, & psychology: PPP, 24(1), 77–92. https://doi.org/10.1353/ppp.2017.0011

    Hall, J. (2020). Love addict behaviors, signs, and symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.loveaddictionhelp.com/14-signs-love-addict