Is there really such a thing as Sexual Addiction? Is Sex Addiction an uncontrollable, inbred, genetic disorder that cannot be reversed or cured? Is Sex Addiction a psychological disorder brought about by childhood trauma or abuse? Or, are Sex Addicts simply self-centered, immature and immoral jerks; individuals who lack impulse control and who seek pleasurable experiences without considering the consequences?
Ask ten counselors or psychiatrists and you will probably get at least that many answers. The major 12 step groups for Sex Addicts have varying but similar views that Sex Addiction is an incurable disease. SLAA states: “We in S.L.A.A. believe that sex and love addiction is a progressive illness which cannot be cured but which, like many illnesses, can be arrested.” SAA and SCA hold similar views.
This would lead one to believe that these groups feel that Sex Addiction is a permanent affliction, but it gives no insight into the question of whether or not Sex Addiction, or, for that matter, any of the other non-chemical addictions such as gambling, overeating, shopping, etc., are inborn or learned. Because we tend to see addictions cluster in families, we can use the argument that it must be inherent. But, looking at it from another view, we can also argue that the similar family dynamics are responsible for the similar behaviors of the family.
Whether Sex Addiction is a true medical disorder, predisposed at birth, or if it is a psychological disorder brought about by childhood trauma or life experiences, or a moral issue requiring self control, will-power and prayer is really a mote question. Does it really matter? To me, all that matters is that Sexual Addiction is a serious problem in our society that is negatively impacting marriages, families and relationships. There is no doubt that a serious arm of Sexual Addiction, pedophilia, permanently damages it’s victims. But, not to be ignored, is the damage all forms of Sexual Addiction reign upon it’s victims.
Whatever your belief is about the validity of the term, Sexual Addiction is a disease that needs to be addressed by the medical profession. Research into various types of treatment and counseling is vital, but more important is education of the public about this disease. The term Sex Addiction is starting to lose it’s shock value thanks to serious media coverage and hopefully continued efforts toward treatment, therapy and education will help us to overcome this problem.
It is not I who became addicted, it is my body.
Jean Cocteau (1889–1963), French author, filmmaker.