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Heal Sex and Love Addiction and Porn Addiction with Sex Addiction Counseling

Understanding Sex and Love Addiction + Porn Addiction

Being sexually empowered also means being sexually responsible. Taking inventory of when your relationship to sex or love is causing problems in your life. Sex addiction, porn addiction, and love/relationship addiction are terms used to describe a preoccupation with, and compulsive behaviors related to sex and/or love and romantic relationships. They can be characterized as intimacy disorders, and often leave a person feeling out of control, unable and unable to stop, despite negative consequences in their life (i.e., health, finances, relationships, career, etc.). Sex addiction counseling can help you break free from the shackles of sex and love addiction, and reclaim an empowered a healthy and empowered sex life.

Sex Addiction & Hypersexuality

Sex Addiction, referred to by healthcare professionals as Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder in the International Classification of Diseases – 11 (ICD-11), is a condition in which person struggles to control their thoughts and behaviors related to sex. Those who struggle with sex addiction, often feel as if they are unable to stop their compulsive thoughts and find themselves acting out sexually, even if they want to stop. People with sex addiction can experience shame regarding the sexual compulsions, especially if it results in chronic infidelity. It is important to note enjoying sex, engaging in it frequently, or participating in kink, are not indications of sex addiction.

Some key criteria for sex addiction include:

  • Experiencing negative consequences in life, as a result of sexual behavior
  • An inability to stop some or all sexual behavior, despite a desire to refrain
  • A need for more frequent, or more extreme sexual thoughts or behavior
  • An experience of physical, emotional, or cognitive withdrawal symptoms

The other side of sexual addiction is Sexual Avoidance. Sexual avoidance, or sexual anorexia, entails a fear or disgust for being sexually intimate with romantic partners, and often leads to isolation, anxiety, shame, confusion, and depression. Different from Asexuality, sexual anorexia represents a compulsive set of thoughts and active restriction of sexual intimacy. It is not uncommon for people with a sex addiction to experience periods of sexual anorexia as well.

Signs of Porn Addiction

Watching porn is not inherently bad. Like sex addiction, porn addiction is a behavioral addiction. It is categorized by a person’s compulsive relationship to watching pornography and (usually) masturbation. Though not yet recognized in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it is considered a Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder in the ICD-11. The signs of porn addiction are characterized first by an inability to refrain from the repetitive impulse to view porn. Compulsive masturbation often accompanies compulsive porn use.

For many, porn addiction, or compulsive pornography use can result in negative implications in other areas of life. This can include relationships, sexual dysfunction, physical health, professional success, hobbies and social interests, etc.

Viewing pornography compulsively is often born out of using porn to cope with uncomfortable emotions, escaping into fantasy, and can result in feeling disinterested in sex with partners in real life or or lack of arousal unless porn is present.

Similar to sex addiction, many people who suffer from porn addiction also often struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, stress, etc., but with recovery they can begin to feel more secure, active in their lives, sexually satisfied with partners, and can re-establish a healthy sex life.

Relationship + Love Addiction

Love and relationship addictions can develop when someone is compulsive in their feelings of euphoria and fantasy around relationships and love, or even the idea of it. Like many other addictions, there is a cycle that love addicts often find themselves in.

Love addiction usually looks like engaging in patterns of intense obsession with a love interest, whether actual or desired, and staying in toxic or unhealthy relationships (trauma bond). The preoccupation with a fantasy about the idealized partner, the relationship, or themselves, prevents the love addicted person from seeing the reality of the situation.

Many who struggle with love addiction often experience frequent feelings of abandonment, jealousy, rejection, and loneliness, which can be very painful.

Someone in a love addiction cycle might also find themself in a relationship with someone who maintains a love avoidant cycle. A love avoidant cycle is one governed by a fear of becoming engulfed in a relationship. People in a love avoidant cycle are often shut down emotionally.

For both the love addict and the love avoidant, this dynamic can be painful and difficult to identify and manage, without help from a mental health professional.

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The Best Sex Addiction Counseling for Compulsive Sexual Behaviors

When beginning sex addiction treatment, it can be helpful to start starting your work with a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT). CSATs are uniquely trained to identify and treat the presenting and underlying issues of those struggling with compulsive sexual thoughts and behaviors.

Sex addiction counseling can help you understand the complexities of compulsive sexual behaviors and get control. Assessing for co-occurring substance use disorders or addictions, mental health concerns, past trauma, etc. This can help bring context to why you may struggle with sex addiction or hypersexual disorder, or help you halt the signs of porn addiction.

A Certified Sex Addiction Therapist can provide insight into what coping strategies can better serve their patient and how to combat triggers and urges to act out. CSATs can also provide additional resources that can help one better understand hypersexuality, whether it’s reading materials, videos, support groups, or anything else that is appropriate for one’s treatment and recovery.

The Importance Of A Non-Judgmental, Inclusive Therapist

At Modern Intimacy, we believe in fostering a space of non-judgment, and developing a space where your values are respected and honored. Every person has a unique relationship to sexuality, and we celebrate your path with you.

We are a team of sex-positive providers who value an inclusive diversity of all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, and expereinces and validate what is both inside and outside the traditional lines.
We will never tell you what you can or cannot do, who you can or cannot love, or otherwise shame your relationship to sex or love. Our mission is to help you define what healthy means to you, and to help you align your path with your values.

 

Sex addiction, hypersexuality, sexual anorexia, porn addiction, or love addiction can impact people of all walks of life, and do not discriminate. If you are struggling with compulsive sexual or relational thoughts and behaviors, or recognize the signs of porn addiction, a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist or Certified Sex Therapist who belongs to the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) can help.

They can help you identify whether or not a problem exists, and if so, create a treatment plan for sex addiction counseling that is beneficial for your specific needs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other models of sex addiction counseling are effective and non-shaming. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation now to get started.

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