Hypersexual Disorders

Can Women be Sex Addicts?

From what the media tells us, sexual addiction is a strictly male problem - or least that is all we seem to hear. Men cheating on their wives, men seeing prostitutes, men going to strip clubs, massage parlours and of course, male politicians sexting online.

Does this mean that there are no female sex addicts? If there are women out there who are acting out with sex, where are they and why don’t we hear more about them?

The news media gives endless examples of famous husbands who betray their wives in ways that often result in public humiliation for them both (Clinton, Sanford, Tiger, Weiner, etc.). But what about women who ‘act out’ with sex and romance? While we know that women act out additively with food, drugs, alcohol, gambling spending and caretaking, the truth is that there is little to no research on female sex and relationship addiction.

Intimacy & Fidelity

Infidelity in the Age of the Internet

In the not so distant past, it was whispering couples hiding in dark smoky bars, lipstick stained collars and clandestine motel room romps that made up the concrete realities of relationship infidelity. But in today’s world of online confidential chat, private web browsing, instant messaging and endless porn, not to mention mobile 'apps' that locate available sex partners as readily as a decent Italian restaurant, simply defining what makes someone a cheater has have become a lot harder to pin down.

Not to mention the fact that the act of cheating today is a lot easier to deny than in the past. The husband or mate today who is spending more time and energy intimately communing with strangers at the other end of a web cam than attending to the needs of loved-ones or family, can accurately say when facing a hurt and unhappy spouse, “How could you say I’m cheating when I’ve never even met her (or him)? Besides they’re thousands of miles away so stop giving me a hard time!”

The anxious or angry feelings of a partner who just discovered that her spouse is spending 2-3 hours daily looking at porn can easily be pushed aside with statements like, “Well it’s just a guy thing” or “My dad looked at magazines and I look online, what’s the difference? That’s just what guys do.”


Virtual Sex? It’s Already Here

Looking beyond the sad mess of Former Congressman Weiner’s recent sexting scandal, today’s as yet under-the-radar, but evolving sexnologies are about to make texing nudie pics to strangers as old-school as focusing a 35-mm camera.

Last fall while researching the effect of social network and smart-phone technologies on sexual addiction, I came across what appear to be some of the first products specifically designed and mass-produced for purchasers to engage in virtual sex. Called

Sex Addiction Treatment

Sex Rehab for Weiner? How Sexual Addiction Treatment Works

As reports that “Congressman Anthony Weiner heads to rehab” continue to dominate headlines (and the Twitter-sphere), I am receiving an increasing number of media calls asking to explain exactly how sex addiction treatment works.  While many believe that “Men In Power” heading to rehab is a blatant attempt to “help their image” or somehow excuse their bad behavior, I can promise you that rehab isn’t intended to serve either of those purposes.

Pre- Rehab: Crisis (in this case “Weinergate”)

The initial need for any addiction treatment - whether sex, gambling, food, drug or sex rehab - is most often born out of a crisis. For those attending sexual addiction treatment the crisis tends to be related to their profound betrayal of primary relationships, but problems can also center on health, work, legal or financial issues that have come about due to their sexual behavior problem. Sometimes a crisis is created to get someone to go into rehab and this is called an Intervention.


Sex, Affairs, Sexting and Scandals: How Smart Men End Up Doing Really Stupid Things

As if the past few weeks hadn’t served up enough tales of savvy, political figures behaving badly, now we have a real weiner-roast of a story. Following in the wake of Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer, Marc Sanford, Chris Lee, Larry Craig, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, married Congressman Anthony Weiner’s admission of his recent Calvin-clad sex-tweets sent to several woman, none of whom who happened to be his new wife, offers up yet another example of how far a man can fall in pursuit of a sexual high.

And here, as in previous high profile cases the same questions arise:

Hypersexual Disorders

Should Sexual Addiction be in the DSM V?

What do you think?

Just as concrete and predictable diagnostic criteria help medical professionals determine whether your burning stomach pain is a case of chili-induced heartburn or appendicitis, so do categories of well-researched mental health symptoms provide the scientific underpinning for the identification of psychiatric and emotional disorders. New mental health diagnosis are not arbitrarily determined, but come about as consistent sets of reliable sample data are codified through years of repeatable clinical research and study.

This is the science of diagnosis.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM, renewed or revised in sporadic 10 to 20 year increments is, as every trained psychotherapist knows, the diagnostic ‘bible’ of mental health. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) through their various working groups and committees will deliver a shiny new DSM 5, the formal guide that will differentiate and re-standardize our definition of mental health for at least a decade to come.

Like it or not, there is no single work more important to the daily practice of mental health diagnosis and treatment in America than the DSM. Though some clinicians consider the book demeaning as it purports to apply broad labels to the behavior of individual human beings, the DSM remains the authoritative guide to mental health diagnosis and its influence cannot be underestimated. The codification and language of the upcoming DSM 5 will come to establish not only what is considered mental health from pathology, but will also help determine and recategorize our systems of insurance reimbursement and legal casework along with the content and organization of counseling psychology education for a generation to come.

Hypersexual Disorders

Is Claiming You’re a Sex Addict Just an Excuse for Bad Behavior?

As powerful, international figures Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Arnold Schwarzenegger deal with the fallout of their various sexual exploits -  ranging from sexual assault to chronic infidelity – the question “is it just bad behavior or a real disorder” often comes barreling to the forefront.

Another common thought is: sex addiction sounds like the kind of problem most guys would love to have.

Well, here is the truth about living with shame, secrecy, narcissism, and other words that accompany the behavior of someone with sexual addiction and intimacy disorders: for the sex addict is about as much fun as alcoholism is for the alcoholic. Many adults enjoy drinking now and then; and while some people drink socially, others drink a bit at the end of the day to relax and some even get drunk once in a while (New Years, etc). For these people, which means most drinkers, drinking alcohol is both fun and optional.

But there are others for whom drinking is neither fun nor optional: people who have no control over where their first drink will lead them AND who have a history of negative consequences related to past alcohol abuse. We call those people alcoholics, and for them (estimated at 6-8% of the population) alcohol is not a good thing. These individuals have to be very careful and persistent about not drinking because, if they start, alcohol will eventually destroy their lives.

Sex Addiction, Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn: Understanding Men in Power Who Sexually Act Out

Yesterday International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with a criminal sexual act and attempted rape. Today Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a child with a housekeeper/maid during the course of his marriage with Maria Shriver – causing their separation. This revelation along with his past history of Schwarzenegger’s privately admitted, but publicly dismissed “groping of multiple women” paints a picture of yet another man in an influential political and public role who clearly suffers from a highly concerning sexual and intimacy disorder – most likely sex addiction.

This latest scandal again raises questions about why some men in powerful positions often live out a double life one public and one private that involves impulsive an compulsive sexual behavior. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to


Does Watching Porn Affect Intimate Relationships? (Part Two: Women)

Last week, the topic at hand was on adult male porn use. This week, we'll explore the other side of the spectrum - spousal/partner interest and adult female porn use...

How should women determine how comfortable they are experimenting in the bedroom and when does healthy experimentation become a vehicle for his porn fantasies?

The rule of thumb for the woman is - TRUST YOUR FEELINGS! Most healthy women know if they are doing something sexual just to please a guy - even when it is not their favorite thing (which is not always a bad thing unless it is abusive - if you love someone you may surrender yourself to the will of your spouse and visa versa). But healthy women also know when they are being used by a guy who just wants them to consistently be an object, when is not connected to them at all.