incredible-marketing Arrow

When addiction comes to mind, most people think of drugs or alcohol. Many of us have a friend or family member who has struggled with substance abuse and have seen its impact firsthand. But as we learn more about addiction and the mind, it’s become clear that people can become addicted to things other than drugs or alcohol.

You might be surprised to learn that this includes sex and love. Although somewhat controversial, a sex and love addiction can be just as devastating as chemical dependency, despite often being mistaken for a heightened sexual appetite or romantic passion. Sex and love addictions are complex conditions that stem from deep attachment or emotional issues that make it difficult to form healthy, meaningful relationships with others. The resulting feelings of frustration, unfulfillment and shame can have a lasting impact on the health and wellness of sex and love addicts, who often need specialized treatment to get better.

At The Guest House, we recognize sex and love addiction as a serious disorder and help those affected learn how to overcome a sexual or emotional dependency. Our comprehensive program targets the underlying cause of an unhealthy preoccupation with sex or love while addressing issues like anxiety, depression or substance abuse that often accompany this type of addiction. Our goal is to spark healing from within, so clients can let go of damaging behaviors and build strong relationships for a happier, more fulfilling life.

What Is Sex and Love Addiction?

Sex and love are a natural part of life. We’re all human, and it’s normal to want a physical relationship or crave intimacy with a romantic partner. This makes it difficult for many to understand an addiction to sex or love, which is often confused with lust or promiscuity. In reality, sex and love addiction is far more complicated than this and have more to do with obsessive behaviors that satisfy an emotional need or provide an escape from reality.

Although they manifest differently, both sex and love addiction are intimacy disorders that have developed to mask an emotional wound. Sex addiction is more focused on sexual encounters or specific sex acts, while love addiction is centered on relationships and romance. The symptoms of either disorder can make it difficult to lead a fulfilling, productive life and negatively impact the ability to have healthy relationships. sex and love addiction can also lead to an avoidance of real intimacy and emotional bonding (intimacy anorexia), where addicts avoid spending time with their partners and even withhold love or sex.

The following traits are associated with a sex and love addiction, and even displaying just one of these can be damaging to one’s sexual, emotional or romantic health.

The drive to act out these behaviors can have a serious effect on an individual’s health, wellness and self-esteem, especially if they involve increased risk-taking, abusive relationships or drug use. Other consequences may include sexually transmitted infections (STIs), legal problems or an unwanted pregnancy, all of which are detrimental to those affected and their partners, spouses or families.

Similar to drug or alcohol use, these behaviors create a “high” by triggering the release of the pleasure chemical dopamine. As an individual seeks to recreate this feeling, a cycle of yearning and emotional dependency can begin that is difficult to break without professional help — but with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

How Are Sex and Love Addiction Treated?

As with any other addiction, working with qualified professionals is crucial to achieving lasting recovery. Sex and love addiction often stem from abuse, neglect or abandonment experienced in childhood, but specialized treatment can help you address these issues and learn new, healthier ways of relating to others.

At The Guest House, we provide compassionate, holistic treatment for sex and love addiction in a non-judgmental setting that allows you to explore the roots of your intimacy disorder and begin healing from within. Our therapeutic approach combines both conventional and alternative practices designed to help you develop healthy boundaries and feel complete on your own, without relying on others to fulfill your emotional needs. Some of the techniques we use include:

Your own recovery journey will be unique to you, but the overall goal is to restore your emotional, romantic and sexual health so that you can enjoy meaningful connections with others. Before you can nurture healthy relationships built on trust, honesty and respect, however, it’s important that you learn to love yourself first — so our focus is on providing the support and care you need throughout your recovery to find fulfillment from within and rediscover hope and happiness in your personal life.