Is Sex Addiction Real?

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I am a Board Certified Sexologist and a Certified Sex Therapist. For many of you this means very little, other than I am licensed and certified to treat couples and individuals with sexual “issues.”

But what does this really mean and why is it important for someone who thinks they have a “sex addiction”?

I have a PhD doctorate degree in Sexology. I have years and years of post graduate training in sexual behavior, dysfunction, pathology and sexual health. I have been supervised, and done research, written a dissertation.

Why is this relevant?

Because working with people who struggle with sexual behaviors and difficult symptoms and consequences can be complex. Sex and the discussion of sex can trigger emotions in everyone, including the therapist, and create long term complications for the individual in therapy.

Sexuality and all of the areas related to our erotic life are affected by our physical health, our family history, our emotional well being, our psychological stressors and given our current cultural climate, our sexual choices are also influenced by law makers and by politics.

Right now we are at a turning point in our sexual history. AASECT, The American Association of Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the Certifying body for Certified Sex Therapists in this country, has just released a position statement saying that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the label of “Sex Addiction,” a label that has come into the public discourse when athletes like Tiger Woods are accused of being sex addicted, or when Anthony Weiner goes to rehab for sexting. AASECT believes that Sex Addiction is an oversimplified concept and a label given too quickly to too many.

The DSM, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, the bible for diagnoses for psychologists and psychiatrists, does not recognize Sex Addiction as a psychiatric diagnosis.Therefore, Sex Addiction cannot be given as a primary diagnosis. It is not the correct name for sexual problems, and in fact, may pathologize sexuality, in some cases, unnecessarily.

AASECT released their statement to protect those who might be labeled too quickly and perhaps treated incorrectly for sexual behaviors that are out of the norm. Where most therapists agree that out of control sexuality can be problematic in a myriad of ways, not everyone agrees that sex addiction is a real addiction, like a drug addiction to cocaine or heroin.

However, “problematic sexual behavior is very real,” they say in their press release. Read more and view the full release at Huffingtonpost.

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