Picture: Stock/Andreas Rentz/Getty
Picture: Stock/Andreas Rentz/Getty

According to the NHS and relationship counselling service Relate, sex and love addiction are two sides of the same coin:

Sex addiction:

Sex addiction is described as any sexual activity that feels out of control.

Love addiction:

Love addicts become dependent on the emotional stability provided by romantic partners. They often have low self-esteem and lack self-identity, and their addiction can result in obsessive behaviour.

This form of addiction is often misunderstood and though it is an ambiguous topic in medical terms, it results in thousands of affected people who end up attending sobriety-style centres, with a Twelve Step Program akin to Alcoholics Anonymous in order to recover.

Three former sex addicts recently spoke to News.com.au about the moment they knew they needed help:

Zoe:

As a result of putting myself in progressively dangerous situations, I’ve been raped, had unprotected sex and got pregnant, and had unprotected sex with people I knew had STDs.

In one relationship I spent $20,000 on things just because my partner wanted to.

Tom:

I used prostitutes and erectile dysfunction medication as a kind of ‘peak experience.’

Picture:Spencer Platt/Getty

Pornography has long been criticised as providing unrealistic expectations of sexual relationships and is believe to have a detrimental effect to psycho-sexual development.

At school I’d hide magazines and obsess over when I could look at them. The adrenaline of acquiring and hiding pornography was a potent aspect of the addiction.

An NSPCC ChildLine survey concluded that a tenth of 12- and 13-year-olds may be addicted to pornography.

I didn’t realise the marriage had actually propped me up for 15 years and kept me functional. I had to leave the marriage to hit rock bottom.

That’s when I really descended into hell.

Libby:

The more someone rejected me, the more it turned me on, but sleeping with them screwed my self-esteem. I came out of every relationship more damaged and bitter each time. It was a revelation to me that in a healthy relationship you don’t have to chase someone to get them to like you.

If you would like more information on sex and love addictions, you can visit Relate, an organisation which specialises in advise and care.

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