Explore our Dictionary

Sex and Love Addiction

Although these are not part of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), there are varying treatment centers which are treating love addiction and/or sex addiction for all different ages. There are also treatment programs for adolescents who have issues related to sexual abuse, pornography addiction and related compulsive behaviors. These addictions are sometimes referred to as Compulsive sexual behaviors (CSBs) or hypersexuality or hypersexual disorder.


These disorders are characterized by the inability to set healthy boundaries with regard to emotional and/or sexual attachment. Individuals suffering from love or sex addiction compulsively engage in emotional and/or sexual behaviors as a way to deal with inner issues regarding a fear of abandonment or loneliness or a confusion between love and neediness. For the sex or love addict, these behaviors become destructive to the individual’s physical, social, and emotional well being and often lead to significant consequences such as divorce, legal trouble, or financial difficulty. In the case of children and adolescents the behaviors affect academics, family and peer relationships, especially where isolation and unhealthy relationships with electronics exist.


Submitted by: Cosette Rae, MSW, LICSW, ACSW, CDWF
CEO, Founding Member, Program Director, reSTART