7 thoughts on “PART ONE: Should Sexual Addiction Become A Legitimate Mental Health Diagnosis?

  • April 12, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Any behavior which interferes with the pursuit of healthy living, if it provides sufficient positive reinforcement can be called an addiction. People jokingly speak of being chocoholics or workaholics. But these are the result of choices which become habitual, they have little in common with alcohol, cocaine, heroin and other addictions.

    How about an addiction to money? Shall we propose a DSM category for those whose life focus is the acquisition of money?

    The author of this article is in the business of creating his market. Making people believe that they are addicted and cannot control their “disorder” or themselves without addiction counseling.

    They would never end up in DSM X, if there was not a sex addition recovery industry which sees it as a market.

    Somewhere between William Glasser and Albert Ellis, these “addicts” can find the better answer.

  • April 12, 2012 at 11:40 am

    One more time: What research? What studies?

    You wrote…

    “Pre-Internet sexual addiction research in the 1980s suggested that approximately 3 to 5 percent of the adult population struggled [with sex addiction….More recent studies indicate that sexual addiction is both escalating and simultaneously becoming more evenly distributed among men and women.”

    Please, some cites to the research? Otherwise it’s hard to take seriously what you’re writing about here. (And by research, I’m obviously not taking about assertions by sex addiction luminaries like Patrick Carnes in speeches, books, and articles. Research means solid survey data, at a minimum.)

    • April 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Answer to “What research? What studies?”:

      Attend any one of hundreds of self-help groups for sex addiction (e.g., SAA,SLAA,SA,SCA) and you’ll have the answer. If you want “solid survey data,” design an appropriate survey and randomly distribute to the general population. Only one problem, of course. Are you going to pay for it?

      • May 4, 2012 at 12:48 am

        I have no doubt that hundreds of 12-step SA, SAA, SLAA etc. rooms are filled. We are a nation of 300 million people. One one-hundredth of one-percent would be 30,000 folks. That could fill a thousand meetings a week with 30 people each.But Weiss who wrote of the three-to-five percent of the adult populace number as being sex addicted. Without any backup, one has to think that number — around the population of the state of Michigan! — is simply a sensational statistic that gets attention but has no backup.

  • April 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    There’s two real questions here.

    One is, is sexual addiction a ‘thing’? Your blogpost comprehensively documents that it is. There’s thousands of people who get maximum shame and minimum pleasure out of their sexual activity, and they don’t feel able to stop. Patrick Carnes first wrote about people with these issues in 1976 – a long time before anyone tried to ‘create a market’ for them.

    Two is, should the diagnosis be “Sexual Addiction”? It’s very fair to compare this kind of compulsive behavior to biological addiction, since the behavior and recovery patterns are so similar. On the other hand, using ‘addiction’ in the absence of physiological addiction waters down the meaning of the word. There’s also dozens of behaviors that fit into the ‘addictive’ pattern. The research out there suggests anything that pushes the pleasure button in the brain can become compulsive if you use it to avoid your emotions.

    A diagnosis of “sexual addiction” would necessitate diagnoses of “gambling addiction”, “shopping addiction”, “gaming addiction” and “internet addiction”. They all involve using potentially self-destructive behavior to cope with dysphoria and agitation. Why not lump them together into a diagnosis of “Compulsive Behavior Disorder”?

  • April 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    “We men we have our predilection
    We’ll cheat if given half a chance.
    There ain’t such thing as sex-addiction.
    We’re just horny bastards
    And we can’t keep it in our pants.

    It’s perfectly normal, perfectly natural.”

    Artist: Voltaire
    Song: It’s Normal for A Man
    Album: Hate Lives in a Small Town

  • April 17, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Attending the APA in Philadelphia soon and will check on the latest DSM news.


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