Are Sex and Love Addiction Real?

Addiction can affect anyone, no matter what age, gender, race, religion or education. Sex and Love addiction is a very common addiction, but because of the shame and guilt associated with it, very few seek treatment, and therefore very few recover. Most people assume that addiction always involves alcohol  or drugs ; the reality is that addiction is an illness of the individual’s brain and that it is possible for a sufferer to become addicted to almost anything…or anyone. Addiction to sex or love are common manifestations of the illness of addiction; it can be equally as destructive and harmful to the individual sufferer and their loved ones, as a substance addiction can be. Sex and Love addiction are classed as process addictions; in simple terms this means that an individual becomes addicted to a person, activity or behaviour. The correct treatment can be hard to find, especially on the NHS and is often nowhere near as intensive as it needs to be for the individual to make a full and lasting recovery. Oasis Bradford take Sex and Love addiction very seriously; we provide a completely non judgemental environment, that is safe and secure and a programme designed to specifically tackle the individuals issues that are underpinning their addiction to sex or love. Recovery from Sex and Love addiction, just as with any other addiction, is entirely possible with the correct treatment and support. If you are worried that you or a loved one may be suffering from this particular addiction, you have come to the right place; here we explain more about how they most commonly manifest in a sufferer and how we can help the individual and the family to recover.

Sex Addiction

Sex addiction can present in many different forms, but basically is a broad term used to describe any out of control sexual activity. Those affected often feel deep shame and guilt around their addiction. Fear of being mocked or judged often delays them in seeking help. As with any addiction, they simply cannot get enough of the activity they are addicted to and often resort to more risky and extreme behaviours in order to try and satisfy their obsessive and compulsive needs as an addict.

In today’s society we are taught to keep our sex lives private, and there is often a stigma attached to those who do not conform to what is considered a “normal” sex life. Many that do not conform are not necessarily addicts but have a freer way of thinking or are more experimental. When it comes to sex, opinions vary wildly as each individual’s personal experience is different. As long as sex, is healthy, loving and kind and does not harm the individual or others, there is no problem. Addicts have no choice in the matter, their mind compels them to carry on with their often destructive and harmful behaviours, regardless of the consequences to themselves and to others. Addiction is a very selfish and harmful illness to all involved. Being addicted to sex is very painful for the individual sufferer; the only release they find from their obsessive thought patterns is to to indulge in the behaviour that they continually obsess over.

Sex addiction is a real disorder and often carries very serious consequences to the individual and to their loved ones. The various ways in which Sex addictions manifests include:

  • Excessive use of porn
  • Excessive masturbation
  • Numerous sexual partners
  • Hooking up with numerous different sexual partners who are strangers, just for the sake of having sex
  • Having numerous affairs whilst committed to another person
  • Using prostitutes
  • Using more extreme forms of sex, pornography or masturbation to the point of putting their own life at risk or breaking their own moral code repeatedly
  • Excessive use of sex chat lines and sex webcam’s

While some of these activities are mostly harmless when done in moderation, safely and whilst not in a committed monogamous relationship, those with a sex addiction will become obsessed to the point where their sexual activity affects their everyday life. Sex addiction can have a devastating impact on all aspects of the person’s life, including their personal relationships, mental health, social life, career and finances.

In particular, spouses and partners find sex addiction the most difficult to cope with; for them it brings up strong feelings of betrayal, resentment, jealousy and mistrust. It can be extremely painful being close to someone with a sex addiction. Usually the sufferer will keep the addiction a secret for as long as they possibly can. They understand the harm and pain it will cause for a partner to find out; yet they are still unable to stop themselves from doing it and by becoming more reckless in their behaviour as the addiction progresses, their partner usually finds out.

Sex addiction is characterised by an out of control sexual activity that impacts on other areas of the individual’s life. It can take the sex addict to a point where they have caused so much destruction, loss and damage to themselves and others that they want to take their own life rather than carry on as they are. Despite wanting to stop and having suffered negative consequences, they are compelled to continue in their destructive and sometimes deviant behaviours. The addiction, centers in the euphoric effects that the brain produces whilst planning and engaging in the activity. The addict will go to any lengths to get this euphoric high, often disregarding their own well-being and the well being of others in the process. As time goes on and the addiction progresses, they will find more extreme forms and measures of achieving this high, as they have become tolerant to the original level of their addiction and no long find that it satisfies their internal craving for more.

Love Addiction

Those that suffer from love addiction have an overwhelming need to feel loved, often to their own detriment and to the detriment of those that love and care for them. They lack love for themselves and without that external affirmation and love, will feel worthless, desperate, empty, lonely and without any purpose in their lives. Those addicted, will go to extraordinary lengths to search out love or please their partners, even if it means compromising their own needs, safety and wellbeing. Love addiction is a very serious illness and often carries traits of Codependency . They become addicted to falling in love and receiving love from others. Those that are affected may become obsessed with the idea of being in love, they may have numerous relationships or stay in destructive relationships as they have great difficulty being on their own. Over time, love addiction causes serious consequences to the individual; they are unable to find a balance or maintain a healthy relationship for any reasonable period of time. This also impacts on their family, especially if they have children that are subjected to numerous new relationships or abusive and dysfunctional relationships.

Love addiction is an attachment disorder in which the sufferer becomes dependent on the attention of a romantic partner. Much like any other addiction, the crux of the problem centers in the individual’s mind. Those affected, often suffer from cripplingly low self-esteem and believe that they are worthless if they are not in a relationship. They may well tolerate destructive, abusive or harmful behaviour from their partner, as they believe that is all they deserve, and to them it is preferable to being on their own. Many that suffer from love addiction, do not even realise it is a recognised illness and that there is treatment and help available.

Oasis Bradford offer a highly effective treatment programme for those suffering from Love addiction, that treats the root causes of the addiction within the individual, that frees them to form healthy relationships; firstly with themselves and then with others in the future.

Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction

Sex and Love addiction, whilst often classed as one, are two very different addictions; Sex addiction involves pleasure with no emotional attachment, whilst Love addiction is all about pleasure through emotional attachment. It can be very difficult and frightening to admit that you or a loved one are suffering from a sex or love addiction and need help. Sex and love addiction is a growing problem and causes the sufferer to feel worthless, ashamed, depressed and anxious. Heres are examples of the most common characteristics, that may help you to decide if you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to sex or love that requires professional treatment in order to successfully overcome:

Characteristics of a Sex Addict:

Engaging with multiple sexual partners

  • Needing more sexual activity or more extreme forms of sexual activity to feel the same pleasure
  • Engaging in risky and reckless sexual behaviour
  • Trying to stop and wanting to stop but being unable to
  • Neglecting personal, social and financial responsibilities in favour of sexual activity
  • Obsessively thinking about sex and craving sex
  • Being unable to be intimate with a partner because it does not produce the desired level of pleasure that they crave, or it induces feelings of guilt if they are acting out, outside of the relationship
  • Continuing to engage in sexual activity despite it causing problems at home or in other areas of the sufferer’s life.

Characteristics of a love addict:

  • Feeling a constant need to beloved and in a relationship
  • Committing to and falling in love with a partner without really knowing them first
  • Constantly moving from one relationship to another in search of the “perfect” love
  • Never feeling satisfied within a relationship and always craving more love and more attention
  • Becoming obsessed with and overly reliant on a partner (Codependency)
  • Staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of being in a relationship (Codependency)
  • Suffering from severe depression and destructive behaviours after breaking up with a partner and finding it impossible to move on until the next partner
  • Making personal sacrifices in order to please a partner (Codependency)
  • Neglecting their own needs and needs of family in order to be with a partner (Codependency)
  • Isolating from friends, neglecting personal responsibilities and finances when with a partner
  • Being secretive with friends and family around relationships for fear of disapproval or being challenged
  • Being jealous and possessive when a partner talks to, or spends time with other people (Codependency)

Causes of a Sex or Love Addiction

As with all addictions, sex and love addictions can affect anyone. Nevertheless, some people are more predisposed to developing an addiction than others. Certain contributing factors or genetics can mean a person is more at risk of developing an addiction. Oasis Bradford treat the root causes of an individual’s addiction through medical and therapeutic means in order to achieve a full and permanent recovery. We aim, through our personalised treatment plans, to rewire the individual’s thinking to a more balanced and healthier frame of mind.

The following factors can contribute to an individual being at higher risk of developing a sex or love addiction:

  • Family history–Sex and love addictions can be learned behaviours, and if a child is brought up in a home where one partner is a love addict, that child may go on to believe that this behaviour is normal and so continue the cycle.
  • Hormones–Some individuals have higher hormone levels than others; this can affect their sex drive. Those with high levels of sex hormones may be compelled to engage in excessive sexual activity, as all they can think about is sex and seeking gratification.
  • Traumatic experiences– Those who have suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood or during their first encounters with relationships, may be more prone to developing a sex or love addiction. Their traumatic experience(s) is all they have to go on in terms of what a “normal” relationship should look like. Low self esteem and self worth can drive the individual to seeking out love and sex in the wrong places and with the wrong people.
  • Previous bad relationships– Individuals whom have suffered previously in a bad relationship in the past, may feel unworthy or obsessed with the idea of being in love. They may seek out numerous relationships, desperate to feel loved; or they may stay too long in unloving and unkind relationships, feeling that is all they deserve and that is what they are used to. They have no idea what a kind and loving relationship should look like. By carrying the unprocessed and unresolved baggage of their past bad experience(s) they will struggle to form healthy relationships with others.

Oasis Bradford Sex and Love Addiction Treatment Programme

We offer a non-judgemental and nurturing inpatient environment that promotes recovery and assists the individual in having their sanity restored. We understand the causes of love and sex addiction and how complex it can be. We offer a highly effective treatment programme to those that suffer from it. Our elite team of qualified Doctors ,Nurses, Counsellors, Therapists and Support Workers are highly trained and skilled in treating all forms of love and sex addiction, as well as the compulsive and destructive behaviours that accompany it

Sometimes Sex or Love addiction can be accompanied by another addiction, such as to alcohol  , drugs  or Codependency. Where this is the case, or where there is a co occurring illness or dual diagnosis  present such as Anxiety , Depression or PTSD; we ensure that all conditions presenting are treated simultaneously and in full. Where there is an alcohol  or drug  dependency present, whether that be illicit or prescription drugs , we will ensure that the individual is detoxed safely with the assistance of a full medical detox and our 24/7 nursing and medical care.

Oasis Bradford use a variety of highly effective, evidence based addiction therapies. This includes therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy , Dialectical Behavioural Therapy , Individual Therapy  and 12 Step Therapy  to assist in the changing of the mindset of the individual. For an addict, this shift in thinking is vital to achieve, if they are to stay in long term recovery.

Addiction is medically classed as a “chronic relapsing brain disease”, those of you who are close to an addict, or are an addict trying to stay in recovery but failing, will relate very much to this. Addiction only ever gets progressively worse over time; so it is important to seek help as soon as possible.

For any addiction to receive the correct level of therapy required to establish a firm foundation for recovery to progress, we recommend a minimum of 4 to 8 weeks inpatient treatment. Where there is more than one addiction present or a co occurring illness present, longer may be required. During this time, we will also support the family and significant others in their own healing process through our Family Recovery Programme .

For more information on how we can help you as an individual, please call and speak to a member of our team or chat to us LIVE online now!


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Call Now 0203 733 5467

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    21A Bolling Road
    Bradford, West Yorkshire
    BD4 7BG
    United Kingdom
  • Tel. 0203 733 5467
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