Sex Addiction–Fact or Fiction?

question-markIs 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.

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Responses

  1. Based on the most recent article in Psychology Today, the writer would have everyone believe that sex addiction is a self control issue. Listening to society, it’s the addiction that everyone wants. Be it a compulsion or an addiction, the effects on the addict and their loved ones are the same. Unlike alchohol or drugs, that clearly numb the addict to make them not feel pain, they don’t usually feel better after the fact. Sex addicts use sex or parts there of to mask their pain, but the ultimate outcome takes place in the pleasure sensors. In other words, if something feels good, you keep doing it. My personal belief is it is a complusion that turns into an addiction over time and with more and more anger, resentment and pain piled on top. Like all addictions, you have to get to the root of the anger, resentment and pain to overcome that which ultimately hurts you.

  2. I believe “sex addiction” is the unhelathy use of sex to cope with the normal ( and sometimes) abnormal stress found in everyday life. The addicts never learned the healthy emotional tools to cope with life in a healthy way, and the reason you see this behavior ‘clustered in families” is no surprise; we learn our life skills from our families of origin !
    We are not “powerless” over our personal behavior. No one is unless they have a serious, underlying personality disorder ( which is much more rare than general addiction).
    People can learn new skills, even coping and emotional skills all throughout their lives.
    People who are dysfunctional in their behavior CAN LEARN NEW BEHAVIOR. That isn’t to say it is easy, quick or the norm, but with sincerity and a dedication to change, it can be, and is, done.
    Think of a person who violently hits a child in anger. We see that type of behavior often clustered in families. They see it as a “normal” way to react/behave to a child who is disobedient. Would we say they are “powerless” over their behavior? Would we say they had an “inherent, inborn” or some type of genetic predispostion to violently hitting children? Of course not! And we would cetainly take the victims out of the line of fire and expect the misbehaving adults to not only enroll in parenting classes teaching them new life skills, but to immediately put those new skills to work and terminate the offensive behavior.
    The dysfunctional behavior found in sex addiction needs to be viewed the same way. For everyone’s sake.