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Sex addiction – is it real or merely a pop-culture diagnosis? The experts can’t yet agree on what to call it but they can agree that a whole lot of people suffer from a loss of control over their sexual behaviors and that this loss of control can cause some pretty significant real world problems. Learn more about sexual compulsions – the warning signs of a problem, the likely consequences of this ‘addiction’ and the treatments that work to help people take back control.

Sexual compulsion can destroy intimacy, but recovery is very possible

Some experts say it’s not real – others say that not only is sexual addiction real, but that as many as 15 million Americans may suffer from the disorder.

It’s a debate that’s come into the mainstream, thanks in part to the very public indiscretions of people like Tiger Woods and David Duchovny; and most experts will agree that whatever you want to label it, some people do have difficulty controlling their sexual impulses and this sexual compulsivity can lead to a great deal of personal and familial pain.

  • Are you preoccupied with sex?
  • Do you keep sexual secrets?
  • Do you engage in serial sexual acts without intimacy?
  • Do your sexual acts cause you or those close to you harm?
  • Can you control your sexual impulses?

If you lack control over your sexual acts and your behaviors cause you personal pain you can get treatment. With treatment and effort, you can learn control instead of compulsion and intimacy and trust instead of secrecy and lies. Treatment works and it can help you retake control over your life!

Is Sex Addiction a Real Disorder?

Problematic or compulsive sexual behaviors are, for some people, very real and these behaviors can lead to great social, relationship and even legal problems, but whether or not these behaviors are best classified as a form of addiction remains under considerable debate.

The American Psychological Association (APA) does not yet classify sex addiction as a disorder, but it is proposing the addition of the term, hypersexuality, for inclusion into the 2013 manual of disorders, the DSM-V.1

Psychologists working on the identification of new disorders say that although they know that some people do seem to lack control over the sexual behaviors, it’s not yet clear whether such people suffer from some form of compulsive or impulse control disorder, an addiction of sorts, or from behaviors that stem from another mental disorder entirely.

Although there is yet consensus on the origins and as such, naming of problematic sexual behaviors, few experts deny that some people do suffer from difficulties controlling their sexual behaviors, and that this inability to control sexual behaviors can (and often does) lead to significant harms.

Because sex addiction is the most widely used term to describe this problematic sexual behavior, prior to clarification from the APA we will use this term as an umbrella term to describe uncontrolled and compulsive sexual behaviors.

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Page last updated Jun 24, 2011

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