Treating Sex & Love Addiction/ Co-dependence
Love addiction, sex addiction and co-dependency are some of the most frequently misunderstood conditions. At their root, these conditions have very little to do with love, sex or obsessive relationships with another person, but are used as a means of soothing or blocking out difficult or intolerable feelings.
Love addicts typically invest a large amount of time and effort towards the other person. They value themselves poorly and tend to over-value the love object. Slowly their ability to care for themselves, to give appropriate time and attention to their own lives, diminishes.
People develop love addiction often due to a past history of abandonment from their primary care givers. Adult love addicts usually recognised as children that their most precious needs for validation, love and connection with one or both parents were not met. This affects their self dramatically in adult life. It can result in a conscious fear of abandonment and unconscious fear of intimacy. To a love addict, intensity in a relationship is often mistaken for intimacy.
Sex addiction has been described as: "engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behaviour acted out despite increasing negative consequence to selfand others".
Many sex addicts are actually addicted to pornography and masturbation. Some sex addicts form multiple relationships, hire prostitutes or escorts. Many engage in high risk sexual behaviour as the addiction escalates. Work life and family life is increasingly compromised as compulsive sexual behaviour becomes more extreme.
Sex addiction, like love addiction or other forms of compulsive behaviour, seems to have its roots in childhood. Children who experienced physical or emotional neglect grow into adults who have difficulty in regulating themselves, or self-soothe. Most addicts, whether using drink, drugs, food, love or sex to soothe themselves, are usually chronically dysregulated, turning to substances or behaviours which will give them temporary relief from anxiety and distress.