Sex and love addiction
The making and breaking of intimate relationships is central to the human condition and integral to our humanity, while love and sexuality are displayed across all corners of the media in the form of television, movies, adult films and pop culture magazines. The rise of dating apps and increasingly accessible sexual material through digital channels means the culture of sex and the treatment of associated addictions is constantly evolving.
At Priory, we provide a number of treatment options to help with sex and love addiction. This allows us to create a bespoke treatment programme which may include form of behavioural therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) alongside group therapy, with the aim of helping you have a healthier outlook on romantic connections. Treatment for sex and love addiction can take place as part of our 28-day Addiction Treatment Programme, with the length and type of treatment that you receive, dependent on your unique condition and the severity of your addiction.
Free addiction assessment at your nearest hospital
Initially, a free and confidential addiction assessment with a highly experienced sex addiction therapist at your nearest Priory hospital gives you the opportunity to further understand the condition and how severely it is impacting your life.
What is the difference between sex addiction and love addiction?
Sex and love addiction is characterised by sexual behavioural problems which involve a fixation with sexual urges, behaviours and fantasies, or preoccupation with a particular partner which interferes with your everyday life to the extent that your relationships and work life may be adversely affected.
If you are suffering from sex addiction, conventional feelings of intimacy malfunction, and you get trapped in patterns of relating which are damaging and destructive for yourself and others, including repeated sexual relations with other partners outside of a marriage or relationship, as well as feelings of intense guilt and sadness after having a sexual experience.
Love addiction, also known as co-dependency, or relationship/romance addiction, differs from sex addiction in that it is characterised by symptoms and patterns of behaviour similar to that of a substance addiction. This may involve intense cravings for a person and feelings of euphoria when you are spending time with them, which make way for withdrawal symptoms when you are not in their presence.
Common themes pervading through both sex and love addiction include obsessive or intrusive thoughts similar to those experienced if you have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), only in this instance, it would involve preoccupation with sexual activity or a particular person respectively.
Treatment for sex and love addiction
The ultimate goal for any sex and love addiction treatment isn’t to deprive you of any form of intimate relationship; much like someone with an eating disorder cannot be expected to stop eating. Moreover, our evidence-based treatment strategies combine to give you the best chance of learning to develop and maintain healthy romantic connections and relationships which may not have been possible in the past.
Treatment at Priory for sex addiction and co-dependency shares much the same approach as with treatment methods for other forms of addiction such as compulsive gambling and substance abuse problems. This means focusing on a change in your thoughts and behaviours in order to achieve a desired level of abstinence, which can be defined differently from person-to-person.
While addiction to alcohol or drugs often requires medically assisted detoxification and ongoing sobriety free from using the substance in question at all, recovery from sex and love addiction doesn’t mean avoiding romantic relationships altogether. Effective treatment means reaching a stage where sexual and romantic activity is engaged only in moderation and does not interfere with your mental and emotional wellbeing.
This page was reviewed by Stephanie Chick (FDAP) in July 2018, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in July 2020. To view all Priory sex and love addiction specialists, please click here.
Book a FREE Confidential Assessment at your Nearest Priory Hospital Today.