We hear much about sex addiction in the modern world. It’s an overused and little understood area of addiction. Make no mistake, humans can develop addictive behaviors that are directed at almost any risk/reward behavior and sex is no exception. Like with many addictions, people get caught in the idea of volume and frequency as the diagnostic indicator but the truth isn’t so much in how much or how often, but in the impairment. Without impairment, there is no diagnosis. With sex as an addictive behavior, context is a large piece of the puzzle and boundaries are very individual. If one’s religion believes sex outside of marriage is wrong, then there is impairment for a single person who engages in sex. This isn’t the case for most people. Taken out of a religious context, sex outside marriage can be seen as a normal, health experience. A newly divorced man’s current sexual activity would be impairing if he were still married. The standard is ever changing and so it is very difficult to diagnose and treat.
Isn’t “sex addiction” just an excuse for cheaters and liars?
As with any addiction there is a massive behavioral element to it. Many, if not all, addicted people can magnify the “disease” concept to their benefit and sex addicts are no exception. That doesn’t mean the illness isn’t real, it is, but it is also something that can be manipulated to the benefit of the individual. Sometimes old people rely too heavily on their walker because it serves them in gaining sympathy and attention. It doesn’t mean they don’t need the walker.
There is help, hope, treatment and success with sex addiction. Like any other addiction, it is highly unlikely it will correct based on a promise. There are many treatment centers that have sex addiction tracts and some that specializes exclusively in the treatment of sexual behaviors. It’s an uncomfortable road for many people to walk and as with any addiction, very hard on the family. Often times, sex addiction is intertwined with other addictions so selecting the best treatment is a critical piece of the puzzle.
You can see more on sex addiction in this interview: