For millions of people, sex is love. This description resonates with people who identify themselves as codependent, love addicts, sex addicts, relationship addicts. Sex is love. In order to feel love, feel something that feels like love, or pretend that there is love, people use sex. Unfortunately, it never sticks. Love can be expressed through sex just as a sex can be an expression as love. Sex and love can also be completely separate from one another. Sex doesn’t mean love and love doesn’t always mean sex. Sometimes, however, the confusion can be detrimental and cause an addictive process that ends up painful for everyone involved.
Sex addiction and love addiction are described as process addictions. Sex and love are not chemical substances, but they do cause chemical reactions in the brain. Both sex and love create a production of dopamine, the neurochemical for pleasure. They also produce oxytocin, often called the love hormone. Sex feels good and love feels good as well. People who develop a sex and love addiction, or a sex addiction through a love addiction, get addicted to the good feelings created by sexual activity and feelings of love real or perceived. Most often, they have experienced a deep pain in their life, which might be attributed to sex, but most likely attributed to love. They were abandoned, rejected, neglected, or abused. The trauma they have experienced in their life has brought them to a place where they feel they need the sexual interactions and the feeling of love in order to survive.
Without the constant engagement of love and sex, they feel lost and empty. Process addictions form by inspiring an addiction to the process of finding, participating in and sustaining a process as long as possible. Without that process in their lives, like sex and love, they are forced to confront their feelings of pain, discomfort, and trauma. Sex and love feel better than their reality. The lack of love is made better by sex. The lack of sex is made better by love. The cycle is relentless.
The cycle is relentless but there is hope. If you are struggling with a process addiction like love or sex addiction, treatment is available. Avalon By The Sea is a trusted primary mental health facility, serving as one of Southern California’s few certified facilities. For a confidential assessment and more information, call us today: 888-337-2602