What Is Sex And Love Addicts Anonymous? 

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) is a 12-step group dedicated to helping people who suffer from sex and love addiction. Established in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1976, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous was created by a former Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) member who had a history of being unfaithful in his marriage. According to the organization, the only qualification for membership is a desire to stop acting on a pattern of sex and love addiction.

The Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous website reports that the program is appropriate for “anyone who suffers from an addictive compulsion to engage in or avoid sex, love, or emotional attachment.” The program uses the 12 steps and 12 traditions modified from Alcoholics Anonymous to help its members to overcome temptation.

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The members of SLAA are motivated to identify their “bottom-line behaviors,” or in other words, behaviors that they want to avoid to live a more wholesome life. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous defines bottom-line behaviors as those that are sexual in nature, regardless of initial impulse, that the individual cannot control. These behaviors may result in the decline of mental, physical, emotional, and moral fortitude of the individual and others. Known to change over time, these behaviors can include excessive masturbation, one-night stands, casual sex, cheating on a spouse, avoidance of intimacy or emotional attachment, or obsessions with unavailable or abusive partners

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous use 8 core documents as a basis for the program. The publications, in order of importance, are as follows: 

  1. Twelve Steps
  2. Twelve Traditions
  3. Twelve Concepts
  4. S.L.A.A. Preamble
  5. Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction
  6. 40 Questions for Self-Diagnosis
  7. Signs of Recovery
  8. Twelve Recommended Guidelines for Dealing with the Media

What Is The Goal Of Sex And Love Addicts Anonymous?

Members of SLAA who actively engage in their recovery will learn to maintain a healthy, committed relationship. While the main objective is to understand and work through the motives behind these undesirable behaviors, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous also aims to assist participants overcome what they call “sexual anorexia.” In the context of the sex and love addiction space, “sexual anorexia” can take the form of social, emotional, or sexual avoidance.

Someone who suffers from sex and love anorexia has essentially distanced themselves from experiencing love and may exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Refraining from intimate or personal relationships for many years.
  • Difficulty being emotionally close to their partners.
  • Lacking close or meaningful relationships.
  • Keeping a distance from others.
  • Feeling overstimulated in social environments.
  • Feeling a sense of dread when making phone calls.
  • Keeping a distance from family and friends, yet engaging in superficial relationships.

What Is A Sex And Love Addicts Anonymous Meeting Like?

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meetings run similarly to AA meetings. To maintain anonymity, members typically only use their first names. Depending on the theme or goal of the meeting (i.e., newcomer, guest speaker, step study, etc.), the structure and format varies.

Some meetings may be open and encourage family and friends of the person seeking recovery to attend, while others are closed for members only. Regardless, these meetings give recovering individuals a chance to share their hope, courage, and knowledge with others looking to heal from sex and love addiction.

The camaraderie and peer support fostered in these meetings are crucial to overall healing and recovery. Like in AA, members can obtain a sponsor and learn how to work through the 12 steps. After some time and demonstrated growth, they can become a sponsor themselves.

Currently, there are 1,219 registered meetings and 76 registered inter-groups in 56 countries around the world. Though spiritual, the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous organization is not affiliated with any religion or religious organizations and thus encourages individuals of every faith to join and attend their programs. To ensure widespread accessibility, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous does not require any fees from attendants.

Do You Need Support For A Sex Or Love Addiction?

If you or someone you love is struggling with a sex or love addiction, there are resources available to you. Beyond support groups, individuals can pursue online therapy for sex or love addiction treatment. Online therapy provides individuals with the opportunity to explore what circumstances or beliefs may be contributing to their sex or love addiction. Learn more about your online therapy options today.