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.


Does Watching Porn Affect Intimate Relationships? (Part One: Men)

There is a documented relationship between the amount of adult male porn use and spousal/partner interest. The more frequently he uses porn and/or the longer the periods of his viewing porn, can cause detachment from his partners, to the point where he is 'dating' porn and his need for a partner dwindles.

Increased and consistent porn use in heterosexual men will cause the following to occur:

1. Reduced interest in sex and physical intimacy with long-term spouse/partner.

2. Increased overall sexual objectification of strangers – checking them out more, seeing them visually more as body parts as individuals with lives/roles, etc.

3. Increased overall view of all females as sexual objects, but not just physically (as above), but also in terms of a lower regard for women as people in general (i.e. he becomes less respectful, less considerate of feelings). A man who is viewing a great deal of porn will show a reduced empathic connection to women.

Hypersexual Disorders

Hypersexuality and The DSM V

There will always be controversy when any form of inherently ‘‘normal’’ human behaviors such as eating, exercise or sexual behavior, become medically ‘‘pathologized’’. To this point, the past 25 years has wrought a troubled and inconsistent history in the attempts of the psychiatric and mental health communities to accurately label and diagnose the problem of “excessive sexual behavior.”

In 1987, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders or DSM-III added the concept of sexual addiction for the first time...

Intimacy & Fidelity

Breaking Up – Without Breaking Apart

Maybe he was a cheater or porn addict. Maybe she never could get over that other boyfriend or worse, was still seeing him. Whatever the reason - ending a relationship where you have become close and attached to each other - is going to hurt.  This is the pain part - the one that makes the joys of life more rewarding and meaningful when they come. So to support your survivorship thru a difficult time, here are some suggested, tried and true rules for surviving a recent break-up.

Post Break-up Rule #1. Box up their stuff, tape the box closed and give the box to a friend - for a while. On the pain continuum, wandering around your home seeing his or her gifts, letters, pictures and stuff everywhere is about the same as bamboo shoved under the fingernails. You are better off putting the relationship reminders away for a while. Make sure you can get these things some point he or she may want some of it returned or you may want some of it later. For now, put the pain provokers away.

Hypersexual Disorders

Compulsive Masturbation and Porn

“Compulsive Masturbation? I just like porn –a lot!”

While many people with sexual problems race to therapy the moment they have serious relationship, legal, work or health problems related to their sexual behavior, the solitary nature of those who compulsively masturbate often leaves their actions less subject to obvious problems. The compulsive masturbator will more often seek out therapy for relief from his depression, loneliness and relationship problems and not necessarily for sexual issues as compulsive masturbation carries some of the most shame, secrecy and isolation of all problem sexual behaviors– in both men and women.

Often avoidant of intimate sexuality and healthy intimacy in adult life and frequently raised with extensive histories of childhood abuse and/or neglect, compulsive masturbators are often the last to seek help as they don’t see or relate to their solo sexual behaviors as being an underlying source of their adult unhappiness. Many attend psycho-therapy for long periods of time unfortunately never discussing (sometimes never being asked to discuss) masturbation, thus their problem remains underground and untreated.

Compulsive masturbators do eventually have negative life consequences caused for example by viewing inappropriate materials i.e. child porn, physical injury or by masturbating in inappropriate places i.e. the workplace or car. However, the most frequent the long-term negative consequence of compulsive masturbation (with or without porn) is a life devoid of closeness, longstanding feelings of detachment, removed from deep emotions and relationship connections. Compulsive masturbators constantly live with hidden, isolation and shame along with an inability to work through the deeper psychological issues that are often the engine driving these addictive sexual behavior patterns.

Hypersexual Disorders

Sex Addiction: The Basics

For most adults, healthy sexuality is an integrated life experience. Sex with partners, with self, or as a part of exploring new relationships is usually a pleasurable act of choice. For sexual addicts, however, sexual behavior can be most often defined by words such as driven, compulsive and hidden.

Unlike healthy sex that is integrated into relationships, sexual addicts use sex as a means to cope, to handle boredom, anxiety and other powerful feelings or as a way to feel important, wanted or powerful.

Addiction is addiction, whether substance-based (alcohol or other drugs) or process based (gambling, overeating or sex). Here are several areas in which an addiction to sex mirrors the problems experienced when one suffers from alcoholism and drug addiction: