Sex addiction is emerging as an issue in many addiction treatment centres in Ireland. For a long time it has been ignored. But as more people enter into the recovery phase of drug addiction, sexual compulsivity begins to emerge as the next challenge for the person to over come. Maybe it was the first problem but was masked by drug and alcohol addiction. When it does emerge, it can associated with varying degrees of shame, guilt  and self hate.

Sexual addiction is a compulsive mood altering behaviour used to avoid painful feelings of loneliness, low confidence and self esteem. Developing self awareness can be challenging and a slow process. It is normal to feel some level of anxiety about sex, especially in Ireland. Ireland’s sexual history has been recently influenced by the Catholic Church and its moral teaching on Sex. I feel that the Church as demonised the human body. The physical body became synonymous with sin. Teachings reinforced this stoic approach to the body. It wasn’t ok to feel desire, passion, anger, and even love. Love became conceptual rather than sensual. Generations of suppression led to an increase in emotional and sexual abuse.

The internet age increased access to pornography, sexual dating and further demeaning of the human person in new forms of sexual exploitation of minors and minorities. The Internet has brought many good things that have also helped people to grow and develop their sexual identities and experiences.

Sexual addiction can involve sexual compulsion with porn and seeking partners for sex without any desire for a meaningful relationship. Eventually there is a loss of control despite negative consequences and the inability to stop. Sexual addiction can damage meaningful relationships. It can have an effect on your work and ability to concentrate on meaningful activities and can affect your mood.

Patrick Carnes is the expert on Sexual Addiction and he describes the Cycle of Sexual Addiction; 1) pre-occupation, 2) ritualisation, 3) compulsive sexual behaviour and 4) despair.

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous – Ireland

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, or S.L.A.A., is a Twelve Step Fellowship of men and women who help each other to stay sober from sex and love addiction.We offer the same help to anyone who knows, or thinks, they have a problem with sex addiction, love addiction, romantic obsession, co-dependent relationships, fantasy addiction and/or sexual, social and emotional anorexia, and who wants to do something about it. You are welcome here. Since we in S.L.A.A. are all addicts ourselves, we have a special understanding of each other and the disease. We know what the illness feels like, and we have learned how  to recover from it using the 12 Steps of S.L.A.A.

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition-oriented Fellowship based on the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. The only qualification for S.L.A.A. membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction. S.L.A.A. is supported entirely through the contributions of its membership and is free to all who need it.

How do I know if I have a sexual addition? Download this self questionnaire. Click here.
Recently I interviewed Austin Prior, former assistant clinical director at The Ruthland Centre, where we discussed Sex Addiction along with other behavioural addictions such as food or over spending (shopping addiction!).