Understanding Sex and Love Addiction Before Its Too late
I have heard of some therapists telling their patients that there is no such thing as sex or love addiction. There is no specific diagnosis in the diagnostic manual therapists uses to submit to insurance companies; however, the vast majority of clinical experts in the field of addictions, like myself here in Orange County, have for decades been hearing stories from their patients about their struggles with sex and love addictions. Some common stories are about struggles with pornography, internet sex, phone sex, prostitution, affairs, and compulsive masturbation. And it appears to me (and other clinicians I talk with) that over the years with the wide use of the internet that sex addiction is on the rise here in Orange County and around the country. People have more access to more pornographic images, other sex addicts, prostitutes, etc…than ever before.
People with sex and love addictions threaten their well-being, health, spirit, jobs, standing in the community, financial situation, reputation, and/or personal relationships. They don’t always threaten all the aspects of their lives, but often threaten more than one area. For many, life or aspects of life become unmanageable. The drive for romantic/flirting/sexual/sexualizing pursuits not only are destructive, but they also keep them from growing, developing and authentically participating in life.
If you are wondering if you are a sex or love addict, here are some key questions:
- Do you engage in sex/sexual activities/sexualizing/romance at inappropriate times, inappropriate places and/or with inappropriate people regardless of the potential consequences?
- Do you find yourself unable to stop even though it is detrimental to you and/or loved ones?
- Do you feel that you are not “really alive” unless you are engaging in compulsive masturbation, sexualizing, flirting, romancing, sex, etc…?
In my work as a therapist with sex and love addicts, I work together with my clients on identifying and meeting his/her abstinence and recovery goals. Each individual’s abstinence and recovery are unique because every sex and love addict acts out differently. We find boundaries together to define and clarify what kinds of acts of love and sex further enhance life and what behaviors are destructive. The goal is not to eliminate sexual pleasure or emotional intimacy from one’s life, but rather to find healthy and enriching forms in which to express these important and valuable human instincts.
If you would like further help from a therapist, please contact me. I understand that sex and love addiction is a very private matter, but it is important to understand that it is a very serious issue that can be addressed effectively in therapy/counseling.