Even though Robert Palmer made is seem super swanky to be addicted to love, with all those interchangeable women wiggling around while playing air guitar, it is probably a bit more complicated than wearing sweet shades and bopping pseudo-rhythmically to the beat. In a way I feel like we are all co-dependent love/sex addicts, but the question is to what degree. There are some people who are ultimately controlled by their relationship to the “other,” and that becomes the defining element to their sense of self.
Intimacy is an integral part of the human condition. Regardless if you are celibate for a while to deal with a sex/love addiction, eventually you are going to need connection in your life. With many of the other addictions people have, abstaining from the source is an actual possibility. If you are an alcoholic, you can deal with your addiction by never drinking again. Same with hard drugs – you don’t need to have heroine to live, and you can exist with out snorting cocaine every morning even if your day is more boring.
When someone identifies as a sex and love addict, it means essentially they have to deny themselves relationships until they can exhibit healthier patterns. Yet how are you going to know that your sex and love addiction is healed until you allow yourself to fall in love again? That would be like saying to a meth head, “why don’t you try some meth and see if you still want to abuse it.” This affliction is so nuanced because the exposure to sex and love continual and maybe even unavoidable.
When sex and love becomes a toxic influence in your life, then how do you manage they ways in which you relate to people? Do you always have to be guarded or afraid to trust yourself around the hit of human affection? It seems like such a challenging existence because the path to recovery is so much more multifaceted then staying away from your vice for eternity. That is why I wanted to talk to Bridget Barkan about her experience as the “Love Junkie” – an identity that has shaped her personal relationships, yet that she has transformed into her art.