She said: “It was literally the first thing I thought about when I woke, I just couldn’t get it off my mind.
“At its worst, even having sex five times a day wasn’t enough. It was giving me the instant hit and five minutes later I wanted it again.”
The 37-year-old said the compulsion surfaced in 2014, two years after she was diagnosed with depression, and eventually made her partner suspicious.
She recalled: “At first he was fine with it but after a few months he started to raise questions about why and where it was coming from. He accused me of having an affair. He thought I must have been feeling guilty and that’s why I wanted sex with him.”
Rebecca, originally of Tadcaster, North Yorks, but now living in France, told the BBC: “I felt everything reminded me of it. My whole body was craving it.
“I stayed at home because I felt ashamed. It felt very uncomfortable to be around other people.
“I had to make many lifestyle changes in order to get over the depression and the addiction.”
The World Health Organisation is expected to add sex addiction to its list of recognised diseases next year.
Relationship experts want it treated on the NHS.
Characteristics of sex and love addiction
- Becoming sexually or emotionally involved with people you don't know well
- Staying in and returning to destructive relationships
- Compulsively jumping from one relationship to the next or sleeping with/being involved with more than one person at a time
- Confusing sexual attraction with love
- Feeling that you're not good enough when you're alone
- Sexualising stress/guilt/lonliness/anger/shame
- Using sex to manipulate others
- Getting caught up in romantic or sexual fantasies
- Attaching yourself to people who are emotionally unavailable
- Avoiding physicial/sexual/emotional intimacy for fear of being vulnerable
A survey showed almost one in three seeking help were 26 to 35 and 91 per cent of the total were male.
The Department of Health said: “People who think they may have a sex addiction can seek advice and help via NHS Choices, which includes contacts at Relate, Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and ATSAC.”
- If you're concerned about yourself, or your partner, visit www.relate.org.uk or ring Relate on 0300 100 1234.
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