Sex Compulsion

Sex and love addiction is believed to be a progressive illness which cannot be cured but which, like many illnesses, can be arrested. It may take several forms. Including (but not limited to) a compulsive need for sex, extreme dependency on one person (or many), and/or a chronic preoccupation with romance, intrigue or fantasy.

Sex and love addiction may also take the form of a compulsive avoidance of giving or receiving social, sexual, or emotional nourishment. This avoidance of intimacy is known as anorexia. Obsessive compulsive patterns exist in which relationships or sexual activities have become increasingly destructive to career, family and sense of self-respect. Sex and love addiction leads to ever worsening consequences if it continues unchecked. The reality of having this addiction must be identified and accepted and the notion that it can be controlled alone successfully on the basis of will must be surrendered. Admitting personal powerlessness over this affliction, results in cessation of addictive behaviour. In S.A. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (S.L.A.A.) recommends that sex and love addicts turn to guidance from a Power greater than themselves, make restitution for harm done to others, and reconstruct their lives physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

How can someone tell who is a sex and love addict?

Only the individual can tell if he or she is physically, mentally, or emotionally addicted to sex and/or love. Going to several meetings will allow them to tell if they can identify with other sex and love addicts. Answering their 40 Questions for Self Diagnosis will help to evaluate sexual activities, romantic behaviour, emotional involvements and avoidance behaviour.

Psychological perspective

Love addicts are characteristically familiar with desperate hopes and seemingly unending fears. Fearing rejection, pain, unfamiliar experiences, and having little faith in their ability or right to inspire love, they wait, wish, and hope for love, perhaps their least familiar experience.

Addictive sexuality is like most other compulsive behaviours: a potentially destructive twist on a normal life-enhancing activity. Defining sex addiction depends less on the behaviour itself than on the person’s motivation.

Sex addicts display a lack of the ability to control or postpone sexual feelings and actions. The need for arousal often replaces the need for intimacy. Eventually, thrill seeking becomes more important than family, career, even personal health and safety.

As sexual preoccupation increases in terms of energy and time, the sex addict follows a routine or ritual leading to acting out on desires which is then followed by feelings of denial then shame, despair and confusion.

It may be helpful to examine the definition of addiction more closely. Addiction is characterized by the repeated, compulsive seeking or use of a substance or activity despite adverse social, psychological and/or physical consequences. Addiction is often (but not always) accompanied by physical dependence, a withdrawal syndrome and tolerance. According to S.L.A.A., physical dependence is defined as a physiological state of adaptation to a substance, the absence of which produces symptoms and signs of withdrawal.

Withdrawal syndrome consists of a predictable group of signs and symptoms resulting from abrupt removal of, or a rapid decrease in the regular dosage of, a psychoactive substance or activity; the syndrome is often characterized by over activity of the physiologic functions that were suppressed by the drug and/or depression of the functions that were stimulated by the object of addiction.

Tolerance is a state in which a drug or activity produces a diminishing biologic or behavioural response; in other words, higher doses or in the case of sex addicts, riskier behaviour is needed to produce the same effect that the user experienced initially.


For love addicts, love:

  • Is all consuming and obsessive
  • Is inhibited
  • Avoids risk or change
  • Lacks true intimacy
  • Is manipulative, strikes deals
  • Is dependent and parasitic
  • Demands the loved one’s devotion

Sexual addictions usually are revealed in stages:

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