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addiction


The opposite of low libido is excessive sexual need.  The judgement of 'excessive' is subjective and it will vary from person to person, from culture to culture.  However, there are some clear ways to gauge if addiction, as such, is present.

First, a brief word on the nature of addiction.  Some people are naturally more prone to addiction than others and it's possible to be addicted to almost anything, not only 'bad' things.  Sex and love are highly desirable and positive gifts, and yet many, many addicts are hooked on these rather than on drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.  Love/sex addiction is just as destructive to quality of life and, because of its nature, far more subtle and therefore difficult to see.  It is always the addiction that causes the problem, not the substance or the person or the activity.  Alcohol, gambling, sex are all fine in their right perspective.  It's only when they get out of hand that they become problems.

The two characteristics of addictive behaviour are when we need a certain behaviour, person or thing to make us feel good about ourselves, and when we no longer have a choice in whether we do it or have it.  If the addiction controls us, rather than the other way round, we think about it, do it, need it to the exclusion of everything else.

When clients, and students, ask me how to tell if they're sex-addicted or if they simply like a lot of sex, the answer is clear — they're addicted if they only feel valuable when they're having sex, and if they can't stop thinking about it and/or doing it to the point where they're out of control.  For example, one woman told me she'd lost her job because she thought about sex all the time.  I think it would be fair to say she was a sex addict!

The 'cure' is the same for all addictions.  You have to look at why you're addicted in the first place.  When you fix yourself, your addiction will naturally moderate and become manageable.  I always thought I was not an addictive personality because I've always been able to smoke and drink at will, but I became addicted to work and to stress over the years.  Maybe we're all capable of addiction, but it shows up in different areas of life for different people.  When I realised my addictions were literally making me sick, I made a conscious decision to change my habits, and it worked — but only after I changed my attitudes and many of my belief systems, such as those pertaining to ideas about work and my self-worth.

 


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