What are the Behaviors that indicate possible Sexual Addiction?

  • Multiple anonymous sexual partners over a long period of time
  • Compulsive, escalating use of pornography over a long period of time
  • Frequent, compulsive masturbation
  • Multiple extramarital affairs or compulsive cheating on intimate sexual partners
  • Compulsively engaging in high risk, unsafe sex
  • Prostitution or compulsive use of prostitutes, sexual massage & strip clubs
  • Phone or cybersex that is compulsive and repeated over a long period of time
  • Sexual harassment
  • Voyeurism or exhibitionism
  • Molestation or rape
  • Leading a secret life due to sexual activity

What is Love and Romance Addiction?

Love and romance addicts constantly search for someone outside themselves to provide the emotional stability they lack. They experience obsessive and compulsive thinking, feeling and behaviors around their love interest. They usually have intense emotional feelings about the relationship including lust, hate, fear and anger, but often really fear true intimacy while being terrified of abandonment. They give an inordinate amount of time and thought to the relationship or person to whom they are addicted. Frequently they have an unrealistic desire for unconditional love. They neglect self-care and value themselves less than the relationship or the “loved one”.

The love and romance addict often feels rejected and victimized by their partner. Eventually they see everything their partner does as negative. The love addict feels abused. It is common for a love and romance addict to partner with someone who is avoidant of love and commitment…often a sex addict. It is common for an avoidant sex addict to partner with a love and romance addict. In other situations, the sex addict is really addicted to romance, love and seduction. When love, romance and sex are sought to numb emotional pain, escape loneliness or boredom, partner choice is distorted.

What are Common Characteristics of Love and Romance Addicts?

  • Returning to a painful, unmanageable relationship when you promise yourself you will not
  • Inability to leave an abusive relationship
  • Feeling panicked, depressed or desperate when you are not in a relationship
  • Falling in love with someone you have not met, but know of through online dating or chat rooms
  • Mistaking intense sexual experiences for love
  • Using sex to find or keep love

Love and romance addicts are male and female, straight and gay. They fear being alone, but equally fear being “stuck” in a committed relationship. They are looking for the “ideal relationship” that will satisfy all their needs for sexuality and unconditional love and attention.

There are many books written on this topic:

Co-Dependent No More by Melody Beatty

Addiction to Love by Susan Peabody

Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody

Using these texts along with individual therapy and counseling to address any childhood trauma can help you find true intimacy and a healthy sexual relationship. As a Certified Trauma and Addiction Therapist I am trained to help partners of sex addicts, love and romance addicts and anyone suffering with an intimacy disorder. For more information on this topic investigate the following website: http://loveaddicts.org/kindsofloveaddicts.html