Intimacy Related Addictions
Intimacy is at the core of loving human relationships. It is about becoming close and sharing and it is natural for all humans to crave intimacy. When lust takes over our thinking, however, it destroys our ability to have true love and intimacy with others.
Our normal needs for love, affection and intimacy can become unhealthy when:
- Sex becomes a substitute for intimacy.
- Sexual experiences, fantasies and romantic intensity are mistaken for love.
- “Love” and sex become obsessions.
- Lust replaces love and substitutes for relational closeness.
- Sex is used to escape negative feelings and low self-esteem.
- Intimacy is withheld to control and manipulate.
Love and Romance Addiction
An extreme variation of codependency is “love addiction.” Love addiction is where people become addicted to the feeling of being in love and create compulsively focused relationships that have dramatic highs and lows. Love addicts receive a sense of purpose and worth by the fantasy that another person will “complete” them.
- Love addicts commonly and repeatedly form an addictive relationship with emotionally unavailable partners who are unable to form commitments.
- Confusing sexual attraction with love at first sight.
- A disproportionate amount of time and attention is spent on relationships.
- Love addicts want to be treasured by another and are always disappointed.
- Have very unrealistic expectations and a high need for drama.
- They will go to great lengths to get partners to fulfill a big fantasy they have developed and get angry when their fantasy doesn’t happen in reality.
- They neglect to care for or value self while in relationship.
- Preoccupied with romantic fantasies about the lover or fears about the relationship.
- Impatient about the relationship and want a “happy ending” right away.
Pornography is sexually explicit pictures, writing, magazines, movies, books, web sites, or other material whose primary purpose is to generate sexual arousal. Pornography addiction is when an individual overuses or abuses pornographic materials in a habitual way, usually to the point of interference in their daily life. Viewing pornography is often accompanied by self-gratification.
Sexual addictions often have roots in childhood sexual misconduct, abuse, or abandonment after which sexual release is often used as a way of self-comforting.
Common Characteristics of Porn Addiction
- Obsession and increasing focus on pornographic materials.
- A decrease in time spent attending to personal responsibilities and relationships.
- Increasing time spent in self-satisfying sexual behaviors.
- Use of drugs or alcohol to heighten sexual experiences.
- Use of drugs or alcohol to enable viewing of riskier material.
- Using pornography to escape reality.
- Becoming more distant from your spouse/partner.
- Neglecting other important work.
- Taking greater risks to procure ‘forbidden’ images.
- Increasing “secretive” time for masturbation and to conceal the amount of time spent viewing pornographic material.
Compulsive sexual behaviors are also known as hypersexuality, nymphomania, or sexual addiction. Sexual addiction occurs when someone has an unusually high sex drive and is obsessed with thoughts about sex.
The obsession progresses into distorted thinking and rationalization of behaviors to the point of harming personal relationships and interfering with work.
This kind of addiction is progressive and usually is associated with increasingly risky and perverse sexual activities and decreasing levels of emotional bonding with sex partners.
Sex addiction progresses from basic sexual activities to increasingly risky behaviors such as:
- Sex with Objects
- Anonymous sex
- Group sex
- Chat Sex, Cybersex, Phone Sex
Advanced sex addiction can lead to ‘Offending Behaviors’ in which unwilling victims are created out of sexual acts like voyeurism, molestation, incest, pedophilia or rape.
Sex addicts tend to gain little satisfaction from sexual encounters and are unable to have emotionally intimate relationships.