Love and sex addiction has become more widely acknowledged and accepted in the mainstream discussion of addiction. Love and sex addiction develops when we use sex, relationships, love and affection in the same ways we would use any addictive substance or behavior – when they become compulsions rather than healthy expressions of our sexuality and desire for a connection with another person. Addiction causes us to develop a dependence on a drug or substance in order to feel better about ourselves, ease our pain and soothe our anxiety. Our dependence causes us to be needy and desperate, making our behaviors compulsive and toxic.
Love and sex addiction, just like any other addiction, can cause us to feel so ashamed of ourselves, so embarrassed, so sad and so low that we become depressed. We can grapple with crippling insecurity and low self-esteem as a result of our addiction. Because sexuality is still such a taboo subject, issues with sex and sexuality can be particularly stigmatized. We can feel shunned, rejected and judged by our loved ones and by society as a whole. We can feel disconnected from other people because we perceive our problem to be abnormal, wrong and morally reprehensible. We feel like bad people. We feel shameful. These thoughts and feelings can contribute to our anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. In addition, we can find ourselves trying to find some relief from our problem through other addictions. We use other behaviors such as gambling, shoplifting or gaming as distractions from the pain we’re experiencing with our love and sex addiction. We can turn to drugs and alcohol to try to numb the pain. We can find ourselves feeling addicted to a person or relationship that gives us the attention and validation we’re craving. Our fears of abandonment and inadequacy can contribute to our neediness so much so that we become addicted to needing another person to make us feel valued and loved.
When we are feeling depressed, we can find ourselves feeling like sex, affection and romance are the solution to our problem. The high of sex and loving feelings feels so much better than the pain of our other addictions and our depression. It is so easy to become dependent, needy, obsessive and compulsive with a partner or with relationships in general. These things can compound and worsen our addictions and mental health issues, creating a vicious cycle of escapism, self-destructiveness and self-sabotage.
We understand addiction and recovery, and we’re here to help you create a new, healthy and happy life for yourself in recovery. Call 888-570-7154 today to get the support you deserve.