About Sex Addiction
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Over the last year and a half, a certain affliction has gotten a bum rap. This affliction affects thousands and destroys marriages and families. This affliction is as private as confession and yet has been splashed on the front page of every news paper, magazine, monologue, comedy routine and blog throughout the globe. Is it the scourge of HIV/AIDS, which has reached a pandemic level in Africa? No. Is it cancers of every type that can ravage both young and old? No. Is it meth or crack or alcohol, which has shown to have no discrimination on who they attract? No. It is sex addiction and before you shake your head and smirk, yes Virginia, there is a sex addiction.
Sex addiction is as real as the DTs (delirium tremens- a severe form of alcohol withdrawals). Sure, by diagnostic definition, the identified patient does not go through physical withdrawal symptoms like alcohol or heroine, however, the psychological withdrawal from sex is every bit as painful. A sex addict is not just a famous person trying to avoid responsibility for cheating on their spouse. A sex addict is a person who, according to the DSMTR, has a ‘Sexual Disorder Otherwise Specified, which now includes: “distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by the individual only as things to be used.” (Other examples include: compulsive fixation on an unattainable partner, compulsive masturbation, compulsive love relationships, and compulsive sexuality in a relationship’.
You aren’t alone if you think sex addiction is not real. Even the committee that edits the Diagnostic Statistical Manual won’t put it into the new edition out in 2013. They felt that the ‘phenomenon was not at the point of addiction’. Well committee peeps, I think you need to leave the board room a little and see what’s going on out there. Whether we call it hypersexuality or sexual addiction, we are seeing a tremendous upheaval in what is considered ‘normal’ sexual behavior. You see, as psychological professionals, we don’t judge a person’s sanity strictly on their behaviors but on a statistical model of discernible factors. For example, if a person complains of being sad, they are not automatically labeled depressed. The person must exhibit other symptoms to have the diagnosis of Major Depression that would address at least four other things such as appetite (eating too much/too little), sleep (sleeping too much/too little), lost interest in things, tired, agitated, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal ideations. Hypersexuality or sex addiction would be the same with different symptoms (obviously).
A sex addict has difficulty resisting sex in any form whether it is actual intercourse or masturbation or even pornography. A sex addict tries to control the urges but can’t. They try to stop engaging in behaviors that are hurting them either physically or emotionally but can’t. They need to increase the intensity of the act because they just don’t get off like they use to which means multiple partners or hours of specialized porn or riskier behaviors. A sex addict will become distressed, restless and anxious when avoiding the behaviors. A sex addict will ultimately engage in sexual behavior and endanger their lives, careers, marriages and families. When you read this does this sound like Tiger or Jesse or any other celeb that has mentioned sex addiction? Of course it does!
We can pretend to be callous and say things like ‘a poor guy cheats on his wife and he’s an asshole. When a rich guy does it, he’s a sex addict.’ The reality is that even rich people become addicts. Destroying your family is not easy or fun regardless of your socio-economic status. Aside from your family, it is so difficult to return to normal when you are engaged in sex addiction. Unlike alcohol, sex is a normal part of an adult life. It is unrealistic to give up sex cold turkey like cigarettes. We need to learn to conduct our lives with integrity especially sexually. Pornography is available everywhere. We cannot escape it. As I mentioned yesterday, porn is a virus that takes root in your psyche and messes you up. Hell, Tiger even had porn films on his laptop and phone! So when he wasn’t doing a waitress he was watching it. Tell me that isn’t an addiction!
If you are still not convinced, do me a little favor. Stop looking at porn for a month. Tell me how that goes.