The dependencies could be purely mental

Bondage, dependence, addiction to relationships

Definition of terms

The term bondage originally comes from Legal language and denotes a relationship of particular dependence. Already in the first development phase of serfdom (9th century to the end of the 12th century) body and land rule flowed together, with the serfs who were tied to the ground (land holdings) from the serfs who were free in the protection of the Landlords had issued, must be distinguished. The slaves (semi-free) tied to the clod were considered an accessory to the farm. The dependency also included personal services and military services of the entire family of the serf (hand and tension services). The bondage was finally eliminated in the 19th century with the liberation of the peasants. She was z. B. not repealed until 1861.

Bondage, love addiction, relationship addiction or simply addiction is a topic with a wide range, because addictions arise in every relationship and to a certain extent even belong to our ideal of love. For example, statements like "I do everything for you", "I am nothing without you" are the highest declarations of love and yet contain the possibility of self-abandonment. From a social point of view, dependency is a desirable moment, as it stabilizes relationships and often contributes to the stability of partnerships. Therefore, some forms of bondage are also interpreted as "normal" romantic love by those affected. Subservience arises in a longer period processin which one's own will is gradually and increasingly lost. For the person concerned, this can usually only be recognized late and can often only be managed through external intervention or therapeutic assistance. Even sects and other groups can take advantage of inexperience and the need for security to create bondage.

Even the first phase of being in love often resembles an addiction

Scientists who showed subjects in love with pictures of the people they were in love with were able to show that the processes that can be observed in different regions of the brain are very similar to those of addicts. The proverbial one Intoxication of being in love can therefore be compared with that of a drug addict. During the fall in love, a particularly strong activity can be observed in the reward system of the brain of people in love, and above all Dopamine, that is, the chemical messenger that creates positive feelings is responsible. The processes in the reward system lead to similar ones in lovers Symptoms As with some addicts: euphoria, palpitations, sweats, insomnia, emotional dependence, highly focused attention, obsessive thinking about the person concerned, feelings of increased energy. In parallel to the increased activity in the reward system, the researchers also observed lower activity in the prefrontal cortex in lovers, which is then involved in cognitive activities when it comes to planning, weighing and making well-considered decisions. During an acute phase of being in love it is obviously very difficult to make realistic judgments ("love is blind"). Incidentally, it is similar Lovesickness often also the withdrawal symptoms of an addict (Alps, 2013). Researchers have studied how much lovesickness and Separation pain affect the physical well-being, because intense feelings such as longing and love can irritate the control circuits of the body. These studies have shown that similar brain areas are activated in people with lovesickness as in drug addicts. Even if conversations bring relief in such situations, the pain of separation, for example in a circle of friends, is not very effective, but only distracting yourself and suppressing the sadness is also not a solution. Finding the right balance here is difficult for some people, although in the end the past time alone can help, through which those affected gain distance.

Definition of bondage

Under Bondage one generally understands the emotional bond with other people to the extent that personal freedom and human dignity are given up. The will of the ruling person (s) can control the submitting person insofar as the boundaries of law and morality are disregarded. In the case of bondage, one cannot generally speak of perpetrators and victims, because there are people who cling to their partner or a group and are completely fixated on them. As a rule, they have hardly any social contacts and their self-confidence is fed exclusively from the fixation on the mostly idealized partner, which can also put a lot of strain on them. This form of bondage is usually not sexually pronounced, but generally related to living together with the partner or group.

It is typical of a bondage relationship that it not mutual Rather, the slave subordinates himself almost slavishly to the partner, which the latter often takes advantage of. Most of the time, these relationships are not entered into with the intention of exploiting them, but rather develop insidiously due to the personality constellation of the respective partner. The slave idealized the honored person and the relationship in a way that often remains incomprehensible to outsiders, especially since they experience the one-sidedness. Another characteristic of bondage relationships is that indifference the revered person, which inevitably leads to rejection and humiliation, which the deaf lover accepts as inevitable and apparently inexorable. Part of the situation of the submissive person is that he himself no longer solve on their own can and remains helpless in the psychological dependence on another person or a group.

Subservience can also express itself in the task of sexual self-determination and in this form it becomes easy with masochism (see below) confused. Sexual bondage, a term chosen by Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing in 1892 to denote the fact that a person can have an unusually high degree of dependency and dependence on another person with whom he is in sexual intercourse. The sexually subservient subordinates himself or herself to the partner unconditionally. "Classic" examples of sexual bondage are found in older men who love a much younger woman, whom they are often superior to in terms of social status and financial possibilities. Nevertheless, they totally submit to their partner in their passion and not infrequently allow themselves to be exploited.

With regard to sexual relations, too, if the connections are to have a certain duration, a certain degree of dependence of one part on the other, or of both on one another, is absolutely necessary. Law and custom have also created typical forms for this relationship, which change over time, but are decisive for the question of whether, in a concrete relationship, individual psychic properties have caused a deviation from the normal degree of dependence. (...) People of weak will, who also in other relationships easily get into no longer legitimate dependency, naturally become the more easily the victim of the encroachments of the other part in the sexual relationship. Fear of losing the comrade, the wish to keep him always satisfied, amiable, and inclined to sexual intercourse, are here the motives of the subjugated party. An unusual degree of being in love on the one hand, which - especially in women - by no means always means just an unusual degree of sensuality, and weakness of character on the other hand are the simple elements of the unusual process. The motive of the other part is egoism, which finds free space. Here, too, what law and custom prescribe is changing, but always the criterion and measure of the unusual phenomena. Only what is done and tolerated by the dependent part beyond the duties that are considered normal, from a special inner drive, is the phenomenon that concerns us here.
Such phenomena, then, which, in the performance and tolerance, go beyond the measure of what is considered normal due to the psychological peculiarity of the controlled part, form the great area of ​​appearance of sexual dependence. Let us call this phenomenon "sexual bondage" for short, because it has the character of bondage. The will of the ruling party commands that of the subjugated party, like that of the master over the slave. (...) The manifestations of sexual identity are manifold in their forms, and the number of cases is extremely large. We find men who have fallen into sexual bondage at every step in life.
As numerous as the examples of male bondage are, every halfway impartial observer of life must admit that they lag far behind in the number and weight of cases against female bondage. This is easy to explain. For a man love is almost always just an episode; he also has many important interests; for women, on the other hand, it is the main content of life, up to the birth of children almost always the first, after this often the first, always at least the second. (...)
Sexual bondage is not a perversion, it is nothing pathological, the elements from which it arises, love and weakness of will, are not perverse, only their mutual strength relationship produces the abnormal result that contradicts one's own interests, often customs and laws, so much. The motive from which the subjugated part acts here and endures tyranny is the normal drive to a person of the opposite sex, the satisfaction of which is the price of his bondage. The acts of the subjugated party, in which sexual bondage is expressed, are made on the orders of the ruling party, in order to serve its greed, etc. They have no independent purpose at all for the subjugated part; for him they are only a means of attaining or preserving the ultimate end, the possession of the ruling party. Finally, bondage is a consequence of love for a particular individual; it only occurs when this love has awakened.
(Krafft-Ebing 1892)

But with bondage one can also get in emotional addiction be meant, in which the sexuality is not in the foreground. The motive for the subjugating part is one's own egoism and the ability to determine one's own scope and rules. The motive for the subordinate part is seen as the wish to experience the other as amiable and ready for sexuality.

In such dependency relationships, the autonomy of decisions is severely restricted for both partners, since the apparently determining partner is also dependent on the bondage of the other. Subservience can occasionally go as far as the loss of any independent will and to the endurance of the heaviest sacrifices.

Relationships in which women are sexually subservient to their partner are often of physical violence embossed. This also shows that bondage is originally related to neglect of one's own person. The prerequisite for bondage behavior is always that one cannot draw love and recognition out of oneself, but is fixated on another person who gives them or from whom the slave can only imagine receiving them.

Such a degree of sexual bondage is in fact indispensable for maintaining cultural marriage and for keeping the polygamous tendencies that threaten it. (...) Accordingly, bondage is incomparably more frequent and more intense in women than in men, but in the latter it is at least more common in our times than in antiquity. Wherever we were able to study sexual bondage in men, it proved to be the success of overcoming psychological impotence by a particular woman to whom the man in question remained tied from then on. Many conspicuous marriages and many a tragic fate - even far-reaching concerns seem to find their explanation in this process.
Sigmund Freud: The taboo of virginity (1918).

See also Sexual abuse of children and adolescents

In the public eye, dependency appears to be one in the relationship Women issue to be. The relevant literature is also written almost exclusively from the women's point of view! But it's mostly a taboo subject. In a time in which, on the one hand, the autonomy of the individual is of great importance, on the other hand, the relationship between two people, the family is stylized as the last place of security and closeness, it is difficult to publicly fail in both respects confess. And this is especially true for men. It is even more difficult for them to admit their addiction and talk about it. It contradicts the image of men in our society. According to the experts, men are just as often and painfully dependent in relationships as women. A man may say that he is sexually dependent on his partner, but he cannot admit that he needs the closeness and security of his partner in order to be able to live. This probably has to do primarily with the domestic care and emotional affection of a woman, as men were used to from their mother. Out of the awareness of their own helplessness when alone, men often react aggressively, they then turn against the woman they actually need and become hurtful or even violent. Women often react with autoaggression or suffer quietly at first until they eventually harm and destroy themselves.

Men often only perceive their dependency when the partner has already said goodbye - and separations are more and more often the result of women. Then the men fight for the relationship and often go to counseling centers for years, even though the woman has already separated. Women are - even today - economically dependent, especially when there are children. Some men are dependent on emotional and domestic care from a woman from childhood. Women more often react in their dependency rather with silent suffering and self-harm up to self-destruction. Aggressive men, on the other hand: Although otherwise peaceful, they hit the very person they claim to love most in the whole world. This is how they hide their helplessness and dependency.

In the psychotherapy bondage is treated similarly to other addictive behavior patterns. Sexually bonded people are uncomfortable to express themselves about their problem and therefore only look when the level of suffering is very high, Help with other people or therapists. Sexual bondage is usually difficult to treat, as the causes usually lie in experiences from early childhood (see below), so those affected can hardly escape from this addiction-like relationship without professional help, such as conversation psychotherapy. In rare cases, when both partners want to change their relationship, couples therapy is an option, however, the submissive people face the almost impossible dilemma of wanting to free themselves from the dependency without finally breaking away from the partner.

The anthropologist Helen E. Fisher of Rutgers University (New York) has used brain scans to show that people who have just been abandoned by their partner have similar withdrawal symptoms as drug addicts in withdrawal. Affected people react when they see a picture of the lost partner, for example, with violent reactions such as emotional outbursts, the increased need for closeness, up to physical pain and deep despair. Considered love as an addiction also explains why some people find a breakup so difficult to cope with that they perish as a result of it or, after a breakup, display extreme behavior such as stalking or aggression. The brain circuit for love has probably evolved in the form of directing the pairing energy towards only one person. If you now leave this one partner, you have lost a profit that was achieved with great effort, whereby certain regions under the cortex - one of the oldest brain areas - are activated in order to win back the lost one.


The classic image of the dependent man is in that Novel "Lolita" Drawn by Wladimir Wladimirowitsch Nabokow (1899-1977, American writer of Russian origin), where Lolita is the name of a girl who, considering her age, is still almost a child, but is already physically developed and at the same time appears innocent and refined, naive and seductive. The title of the novel "Lolita" became a synonym for a nanny in many languages. The novel, scandalous and sensational at the time, satirically examined sexual norms and behavior in the USA.

Possible causes of bondage

The addiction-like behavior of servants is often triggered by early childhood experiences that have solidified over time, which is why the way out of it is rather difficult, especially since sexual bondage can also manifest itself very differently.

The Psychoanalysis has indicated that the extent and the Experiences of early childhood attachments, the associated fears and fantasies live on in the unconscious and have a strong influence on later life as an adult, especially on their love relationships. Positive and negative experiences, but also conflicts that occur in the earlier phases of development, have a formative influence, because these problems represent the earliest archetypes of such fundamental human situations as dependence on others and experience of authority. It is plausible to assume that the behavior of the parents towards the child during these developmental phases plays a fundamental role in how relationships of dependency, obedience and subordination are experienced. It must be noted, however, that the child reacts not only to objective reality, but also to subjective, fantastic distortions of reality, which also represent positively intended educational efforts in experience in a completely different way.

Wilhelm Reich, the "father" of all body psychotherapies, assumed that the origin of bondage lies in the suppression of sexual needs, in that it leads to a general weakening of the emotional functions, especially willpower and self-confidence. Once these two functions have been weakened, the door is opened to humiliation by others. Sexually bonded people actually often seek affection and affection through sexuality, and despite their usually numerous negative experiences, are under one Repetition compulsion and go into the same nightmare again and again, with the desperate desire to finally gain the longed-for affection and thereby to deny their old experiences.

Some backgrounds and causes

  • Repetition of the situation in one's own family of origin.
  • The wish and the hope to bring negative experiences (not only in childhood, e.g. also in a failed marriage, etc.) to a "happy ending" in retrospect.
  • Lack of self-love.
  • Avoiding taking responsibility for yourself.
  • To be able to experience one's own happiness only through the happiness of the partner. Fear of being alone.
  • Fear of being hurt by being abandoned.
  • Better to endure new pain than deal with old injuries.

Key words on the manifestations of dependence

  • The search for a partner who is emotionally unreachable.
  • Persisting in a relationship that is just an illusion.
  • Damaging oneself in order to conform to the ideal of one's partner.
  • Endure humiliation and insults so as not to lose the partner.
  • The self-destructive behavior is repeated over and over again.
  • The creation of a happy relationship / family is strived for up to self-abandonment.
  • Feelings of guilt make separation impossible.

Differences between women and men

  • Men often only notice their dependency when their partner has already said goodbye. (And the separations come more and more often from the women).
  • Then the men fight for the relationship and go to counseling centers, even though the woman has already separated - often for years.
  • Women are often - even today - economically dependent, especially when there are children.
  • Men are dependent on emotional and domestic care from women - from childhood.
  • In their addiction, women react more often with silent suffering and self-harm up to and including self-destruction.
  • Aggressive men, on the other hand: Although otherwise peaceful, they hit the very person they claim to love most in the whole world. This is how they hide their helplessness and dependency.

Although sadomasochistic relationships considered to be at risk of subjection because they sometimes get into relationships in which they can be abused, these practices have little in common with sexual bondage. The slave always takes on the role of the slave (bottom) and lets himself be consciously humiliated and humiliated by the dominant (top) in order to obtain sexual satisfaction from it. Masochists and sexually bonded subjects submit to their partner and sometimes even allow severe physical pain to be inflicted, but masochists like to submit and gain pleasure from it. In contrast to sexually bonded people, they determine the rules and duration of the game. Because addiction is part of the game, sadomasochists find it harder to tell when the line has been crossed. The decisive difference between sadomasochism and bondage lies in the conscious and voluntary decision of the masochists, whereby there is no "emergency brake" of the safe-word in bondage. Sadomasochists can get into relationships in which they are abused. Since many of them live in isolation and there are few clearly defined role models for sadomasochistic relationships, it can be more difficult for them to identify abuse. Sadomasochists might believe that certain forms of abuse, especially in the passive role, "just belong" and that the lawlessness they experience must also apply to the rest of the relationship. Especially 24/7 relationships (24 hours a day, seven days a week) run the risk of becoming sexually obedient. Also in the area of prostitution There are scenarios of bondage, which reflect both the traditional social and economic dependence of women and the tendency to exploit female sexuality. Children as dependent persons are also often sexually exploited.

source (02-10-10)

Sex addiction

According to a study by Sabine Grüsser (Berlin University Hospital Charité) - she examined the addictive nature of sexual disorders by subjecting 80 supposedly addicts and 80 sexually inconspicuous subjects to several psychological tests. It has been shown that sex addicts lose control of their behavior, need higher and higher doses, and show withdrawal symptoms. Sex addiction is thus similar to other addictions to psychotropic substances such as cannabis, heroin and cocaine. According to various estimates, there are up to 500,000 sex addicts in Germany.

Nymphomania and the Don Juan Complex

Sex addiction occurs regardless of sexual orientation, i.e. it affects both heterosexuality and homosexuality. Almost all types of sexuality can also be affected. It is characterized by the addictive experience of sexual activities and the loss of control, i.e. the person affected is no longer able to control and regulate their behavior. This limited or lack of self-control has the effect, for example, that sexual temptation situations cannot be resisted, although this is often associated with negative effects for the person concerned. The addicts are usually aware of these. Mostly these are sexual activities that are detached from a deeper emotional relationship with a partner and which are therefore pursued secretly. Women With nymphomania are constantly on the lookout for sexual satisfaction, but most of the time they are unable to experience orgasm. They often do not find an inner bond with the respective partner and are forced to constantly look for new relationships in order to achieve sexual fulfillment. Pathological nymphomania is rather rare. In the 19th century, any woman who had sexual intercourse outside of marriage or who masturbated was still accused of nymphomania. Even today girls or women who live out their sexuality take the initiative when looking for a partner are mistakenly called nymphomaniac or love-mad. In the past, nymphomania was viewed as an organic disease and treated accordingly, for example by placing ice packs on the genitals, applying leeches or removing the clitoris or ovaries. At Men one speaks of sex addiction Donjuanism, Don Juan Complex or Satyriasis.

Both pathological forms are now referred to as sex addiction. This desire or behavior can also manifest itself in the uncontrolled use of sexual contact means such as pornography, telephone sex or excessive masturbation. In the FRG is above all the Online sex addiction common, predominantly a phenomenon among male internet users. Some "sex addicts" aim for orgasms several times a day without actually achieving satisfaction. Sex addiction, like other addictions, usually begins insidiously, whereby personal freedom is increasingly restricted so that family, work and sex-free social contacts are completely neglected.

The causes for sex addiction lie in the emotional as well as the social area, in childhood, in personal development and in rare cases also in the disposition. Some see the cause in one hypersexualized childhood (for example caused by abuse). This "hypersexuality" can prevent the person concerned from having a really satisfying life. Inner conflicts, feelings of inferiority, disturbed emotional relationships and the compulsive search for closeness can promote sex addiction In spite of the numerous sexual contacts, the isolation persists and the pressure of suffering arises. In order to break out of this vicious circle, professional help from psychotherapists is essential in most cases.

If there is any doubt as to whether there is a sex addiction, the first step is a psychotherapeutic one anamnese displayed. Especially if there is an obsessive, life-determining desire for sex and an inability to enter into emotional ties, a specialist should clarify this. Central topics of the therapy are the (sexual) life and family history, the clarification of possible abuse, the role of the addictive substance sex, the ability to deal with feelings, the gain of positive self-awareness and self-esteem. In therapy, the person affected should find a new relationship with himself and, based on this, be able to live better, healthier relationships with others again.

consequences Sex addiction is often shame, feelings of guilt and depression, whereby the loneliness of those affected remains great and is often accompanied by hopelessness, which can increase to suicidality.

The consequences of sex addicting behavior also include Partnership problemsthat lead from the impairment of the partnership or separation to the loss of the ability to form relationships. Sex addiction can be very costly. In that case, debts can make the situation even more difficult. Health problems caused by sexually transmitted diseases can also be part of the damage picture, as can legal consequences, such as those resulting from the criminal environment.


Alps, Nicole (2013). From brain research: In love again. Time to Life newsletter dated February 6, 2013.

Krafft-Ebing, Richard v. (1892). Comments on "sexual bondage" and masochism. Psychiatry Yearbooks, pp. 199-211. Leipzig: Deuticke. (00-04-27) (01-07-21) Partnerschaft/ facta/hoerigkeit.htm (02-08-19) (02-08-19) (03-01-04) (07-09-09)

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