Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction

© 1990 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

1. Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.

2. Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.

3. Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.

4. We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.

5. We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.

6. We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing care, and support.

7. We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.

8. We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.

9. We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.

10. We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.

11. To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.

12. We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.

40 Questions for Self Diagnosis

© 1990 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

1. Have you ever tried to control how much sex to have or how often you would see someone?

2. Do you find yourself unable to stop seeing a specific person even though you know that seeing this person is destructive to you?

3. Do you feel that you don’t want anyone to know about your sexual or romantic activities? Do you feel you need to hide these activities from others – friends, family, co-workers, counselors, etc.?

4. Do you get “high” from sex and/or romance? Do you crash?

5. Have you had sex at inappropriate times, in inappropriate places, and/or with inappropriate people?

6. Do you make promises to yourself or rules for yourself concerning your sexual or romantic behavior that you find you cannot follow?

7. Have you had or do you have sex with someone you don’t (didn’t) want to have sex with?

8. Do you believe that sex and/or a relationship will make your life bearable?

9. Have you ever felt that you had to have sex?

10. Do you believe that someone can “fix” you?

11. Do you keep a list, written or otherwise, of the number of partners you’ve had?

12. Do you feel desperation or uneasiness when you are away from your lover or sexual partner?

13. Have you lost count of the number of sexual partners you’ve had?

14. Do you feel desperate about your need for a lover, sexual fix, or future mate?

15. Have you or do you have sex regardless of the consequences (e.g. the threat of being caught, the risk of contracting herpes, gonorrhea, AIDS, etc.)?

16. Do you find that you have a pattern of repeating bad relationships?

17. Do you feel that your only (or major) value in a relationship is your ability to perform sexually, or provide an emotional fix?

18. Do you feel like a lifeless puppet unless there is someone around with whom you can flirt? Do you feel that you’re not “really alive” unless you are with your sexual / romantic partner?

19. Do you feel entitled to sex?

20. Do you find yourself in a relationship that you cannot leave?

21. Have you ever threatened your financial stability or standing in the community by pursuing a sexual partner?

22. Do you believe that the problems in your “love life” result from not having enough of, or the right kind of sex? Or from continuing to remain with the “wrong” person?

23. Have you ever had a serious relationship threatened or destroyed because of outside sexual activity?

24. Do you feel that life would have no meaning without a love relationship or without sex? Do you feel that you would have no identity if you were not someone’s lover?

25. Do you find yourself flirting or sexualizing with someone even if you do not mean to?

26. Does your sexual and/or romantic behavior affect your reputation?

27. Do you have sex and/or “relationships” to try to deal with, or escape from life’s problems?

28. Do you feel uncomfortable about your masturbation because of the frequency with which you masturbate, the fantasies you engage in, the props you use, and/or the places in which you do it?

29. Do you engage in the practices of voyeurism, exhibitionism, etc., in ways that bring discomfort and pain?

30. Do you find yourself needing greater and greater variety and energy in your sexual or romantic activities just to achieve an “acceptable” level of physical and emotional relief?

31. Do you need to have sex, or “fall in love” in order to feel like a “real man” or a “real woman”?

32. Do you feel that your sexual and romantic behavior is about as rewarding as hijacking a revolving door? Are you jaded?

33. Are you unable to concentrate on other areas of your life because of thoughts or feelings you are having about another person or about sex?

34. Do you find yourself obsessing about a specific person or sexual act even though these thoughts bring pain, craving or discomfort?

35. Have you ever wished you could stop or control your sexual and romantic activities for a given period of time? Have you ever wished you could be less emotionally dependent?

36. Do you find the pain in your life increasing no matter what you do? Are you afraid that deep down you are unacceptable?

37. Do you feel that you lack dignity and wholeness?

38. Do you feel that your sexual and/or romantic life affects your spiritual life in a negative way?

39. Do you feel that your life is unmanageable because of your sexual and/or romantic behavior or your excessive dependency needs?

40. Have you ever thought that there might be more you could do with your life if you were not so driven by sexual and romantic pursuits?


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