Sex and love addiction develops when normal intimate relationships gradually becoming destructive, leading to unhealthy patterns of relating to others. Sex and love are integral parts of what it means to be human, but when normal levels of intimacy malfunction, it can cause a range of emotional and psychological problems. Sex and love addiction is typically characterised by:
- Destructive sexual behaviours such as being unable to resist sexual urges, or having a fixation with certain sexual behaviours and fantasies
- Developing an obsession with a particular individual and the feeling of being ‘in love’
Whilst sex and love are normal aspects of relationships, in sex and love addiction, these behaviours and emotions become damaging and dysfunctional, having an adverse impact on your quality of life, performance at work and, not to mention, your relationships with others. The fact that love and sexuality are constantly being portrayed in the media, and we now have access to dating apps and other readily available sexual material through digital channels, means that the culture of love and sex, and the treatment of associated addictions is constantly evolving.
Damaging sexual behaviours
Sex addiction typically causes conventional feelings and acts of intimacy to malfunction. This results in people developing damaging sexual behaviours which may include excessive sexual relations with other partners outside of your marriage or relationship, increasingly risky and exhibitionist sexual behaviours, and even engaging with paid sex workers to obtain your ‘fix’. People with sex addiction also tend to experience intense feelings of guilt and shame after each sexual encounter.
Love addiction, which may also be referred to as ‘relationship/romance addiction’, or ‘obsessive love’, differs from sex addiction in that it centres on the emotional aspects of a relationship as opposed to sexual activity. Love addicts typically have an intense need to be in a relationship at all costs and are addicted to the rush of new romance. Love addiction can cause people to become dependent on the affection and attention of another person to the extent that they feel as though they cannot cope without that person. In a similar way to substance addiction, people with love addiction can experience intense cravings for a person and feelings of extreme euphoria and happiness when they are in the person’s presence. Similarly, when the love addict isn’t with the person they crave, they can also experience emotional withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression and irritability.
Sex and love addiction can have an adverse impact on multiple areas of your life. However, the good news is that if you are struggling with this destructive illness, there is specialist help available. Our Life Works experts have extensive experience in helping people to overcome sex and love addiction and are committed to helping you every step of the way towards tackling your symptoms and getting back on track.
We understand that seeking help for your sex and love addiction can be daunting and overwhelming, especially considering the ‘taboo’ nature of this disorder. As such, we are pleased to offer a free addiction assessment at Life Works in Surrey. This allows you to discuss your compulsive sexual and emotional behaviours in confidence with a member of our team, explore the treatment options that are available to you, and begin to develop an understanding of how we can help you to overcome your challenges.
Sex addiction treatment methods
We deliver a whole range of evidence-based treatment methods to tackle your sex and love addiction. Through intensive group and individual therapy, you will be empowered to overcome your sex and love addiction symptoms, identify the root cause of your unhealthy sexual and emotional behaviours, and take steps towards the happy and fulfilling life that you deserve.
At Life Works, you will be placed at the centre of your rehabilitation and recovery journey, meaning that you will be empowered to achieve the best possible post-treatment outcomes for you. Our beautiful centre, complete with expansive private grounds, offers a calming sanctuary in which to relax and focus on your health and recovery.
Untreated sex and love addiction can become increasingly severe over time, and cause untold devastation in all areas of your life. Repeatedly engaging in these compulsive behaviours may also lead you to develop other addictions including alcohol and drug addictions and other compulsive behaviours such as gambling, internet (including accessing pornography in an excessive manner) and shopping addictions. Therefore, the most crucial step if you think you’re struggling with sex and love addiction, is to seek help in a timely manner and start your journey towards wellbeing.
Sex and love addiction treatment at Life Works in Woking
Treatment for sex and love addiction at Life Works takes place as part of our 28-day residential addiction treatment programme. We have found residential treatment to be particularly effective for sex and love addiction. Many sex and love addicts seek help because their relationships are at breaking point – for some, especially sex addicts, this can be as a result of their partner discovering that they have been unfaithful or that they have engaged with paid sex workers. Therefore, not only does residential treatment remove you from the negative influences that you might have in your normal day-to-day life, it also gives you a chance to spend some time apart from what may have become a toxic relationship, thus giving both parties a chance to reflect and ultimately recover.
During addiction treatment at Life Works, you will enter into an intensive programme of group and individual therapy, during which, you will have the chance to explore the underlying causes and triggers for your damaging behaviours and learn strategies to overcome your addiction. Therapy also aims to help you to improve your sense of self-esteem and self-worth, which can often be very negative in sex and love addicts.
In addition, our exceptional family programme can be extremely helpful for sex and love addicts, as it provides the opportunity for you to work through your issues with individuals who may have been adversely affected by your sexual and emotional compulsions.
Our addiction treatment programme for sex and love addiction is underpinned by the renowned 12-Step addiction treatment philosophy, which was first pioneered by the organisation Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This abstinence-based model enables our clients to replace destructive, compulsive sexual and emotional behaviours with healthier ways of loving and relating. Clients will also have the opportunity to participate in 12-Step fellowship groups such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA).
Our sex and love addiction treatment programme consists of:
- Free addiction assessment - book your appointment today
- Structured group therapy and individual 1:1 therapy programmes
- Access to 12-Step support groups
- Free aftercare for 12 months, following treatment
For more information on the sex and love addiction treatment that we offer at Life Works, as well as the type of therapy that is involved, please visit our approach to addiction treatment page.
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