Do you feel that you are struggling with sexual addiction or porn addiction? Many people who reach out to me feel that they are locked in the struggle of their lives over reclaiming a healthy relationship to their own sexuality.
Unbeknownst to the general public, sexual health professionals are fighting among themselves about whether or not “sexual addiction” exists. Many are casting aspersions on people who don’t agree with them, and throwing competing study results at each other. Insults are flying back and forth. Sad to say, it isn’t very civil.
Some sex therapists are worried that in a generally sex negative society like ours, the disparaging label of being a sex addict will be used on people who just want to enjoy and explore their sexuality. Others are worried that the label will be used to stigmatize gays.
This skirmish also existed within the psychiatric community, and after much back and forth, no diagnosis of sexual addiction was added to the DSM (American psychiatry’s system of characterizing mental illness) during the current revision.
Recently, the “team” that believes in the reality of sexual addiction got a new and powerful endorsement. The world’s most widely used medical diagnostic manual, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) contains a new diagnosis in 2018: Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder.
Personally, I have long believed that compulsive sexual behavior exists, and that it affects people very much the way as an addiction to alcohol or heroin does. The first time I was quoted in the media about sexual addiction was way back 1998, in The Los Angeles Times.
I respect treatment methods that actively address what is sometimes called “Out of Control Sexual Behavior” by sex therapists who don’t believe sexual addiction exists. Mostly, I want to make sure that people who really are troubled by their out-of-control sexual behavior find their way to a professional who won’t ignore the problem and who will help them assess and address behavior that is becoming harmful.
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