Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Truth About Infidelity (part 2) - So You Think You're A Sex Addict?

There appears to be an epidemic among the numerous celebrities identifying as sex addicts.  It has become commonplace for those caught having affairs to apologize, call themselves a sex addict, and go to rehab.  But what many don't know is the severity of such a diagnosis.  Making light of a diagnosable mental disorder by people who simply lack self-control is a slap in the face to the 3-5% of people in the U.S. who meet the criteria for sexual compulsion disorders (better known as sex addition). 

 What is sex addiction?

"The behavior of a person who has an unusually intense sex drive or an obsession with sex.  Sex and the thought of sex tend to dominate the sex addict's thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships" 

Sex addicts will attempt to justify their behavior through irrational means, making excuses and denying responsibility.  They engage in risky behaviors (unprotected sex, prostitution, exhibitionism, voyeurism), have the potential for breaking laws, and their behaviors get progressively worse.  Most sex addicts do not get sexual gratification from their behaviors. 

Other behaviors associated with sex addition:

  -excessive use of pornography/strip clubs
  -multiple partners
     (mostly anonymous one-night stands)
  -compulsive masturbation
  -phone/computer sex
  -obsessive dating through dating sites/want ads
  -sexual harrassment

Can it be treated?

Yes.  Sex addition is very similar to other addictions with regard to physiological, environmental, and emotional factors.  Addicts will participate in 12-step programs, individual and family therapy, behavioral therapies, and medication to treat their behavior.  

Do you think you may be a sex addict? Take the Male Sex Addiction Test or the Female Sex Addiction Test.  These tests do not diagnose sex addiction, but can be tools to determine if you need help.  

Need to find a therapist in your area?



  1. I have concerns about labeling sex addition as an illness. Then it becomes an excuse that may be deferred to to explain inappropriate behaviors or just plain selfishness. So the excuse is, "I am sick, i need some help." The reality is, even with other more acceptable addictions, such as substance abuse, that change will onyl come when the person gets tired enough to want something different. Other than that, then it is just a never ending cycle.

  2. I agree and the people using it to explain selfish behavior is sickening. Since I conducted therapy in a psychiatric unit, I can tell you that sex addition is real. Hearing the abuse histories and sexual behavior of some patients would make most people sick and/or cry. I cannot understand why anyone would use that. They obviously do not understand what they are admitting.