Poll: Sex addiction - Illness or convenient excuse?

Posted by Ria, 12 Jul

sex addiction“A difference between an addict and a recovering addict is that one hides his behavior, while the other can't stop talking about it.” Can you imagine having a conversation with someone who can’t stop talking about their perverted sexual desires and experiences? AW-KWARD!!!!!!! Apparently, at the sex-addict meetings, those who run meetings have a designated timer who asks the person who is sharing to stop talking after 3 to 4 minutes. The addicts' need to spill stories about their sexual desires and fighting them is quite overwhelming.

Awkwardness of those moments aside, do you even see sex addiction as a “REAL” disease?

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In a recent poll on the site, we asked members of this site about their thoughts on sex addiction. And just as my opinion goes, majority (66%) felt “It is just a convenient excuse for infidelity”, 21% think the line between immorality and illness is too blurry. Only 13% see it as a real disease.

I know I am on the majority side but do you want to tell me life coach/writer/former model Neil Melinkovich has been in Sex Addicts Anonymous for more than 20 years just so he can have a convenient excuse for his rather colorful sex life? Well, according to a story he told John Cloud of the Time magazine, sometime in 1987…

... he made a quick detour from picking up his girlfriend at the Los Angeles airport so he could purchase a service from a prostitute. Afterward, he noticed what he thought was red lipstick on himself. It turned out to be blood from the woman's mouth. He washed in a gas-station bathroom, met his girlfriend at the airport and then, in the grip of his insatiability, had unprotected sex with her as soon as they got home — in the same bed he said he had used to entertain three other women in the days before.

Does the above story paint a picture of someone with a blameless disorder or someone who just gets a kick out of being promiscuous then blames it on some disorder?

See when you look at it, some of the people who finally admit to sex addiction have risked a lot just so they can satisfy their sexual urges – husbands who have serial affairs, men who are overly enthusiastic about porn, women who’d stop at nothing to masturbate… This is what makes me think that maybe the line between mere immorality and illness a bit blurry. I mean why would one risk all just to get off?

Debates on whether to add sexual addiction to the list of other mental disorders have been going on. According to the proposed definition by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), “…you have an illness if you spend so much time pursuing intercourse or masturbation as to interfere with your job or other important activities… "repetitively engaging" in sexual behaviors when you are anxious, depressed or stressed would be considered a major warning sign for the disorder.”

But this is where it all gets confusing: Here is a couple in a committed relationship who have sex say... more than two times a day; and this does not interfere with their jobs. Is that too much? Are they putting too much emphasis on sex? Plus who hasn't (more than enough times) looked for a shoulder to lean on when depressed or stressed and ended up having sex? Does this mean majority of us are headed in the direction of sex addiction?

The brain chemistry of sex addiction is not an easy phenomenon to understand… even Science can’t help us here.

“Your sexuality — your orientation, your level of desire, what you consider romantic satisfaction (orgasm, love, validation, all of the above) — is a complex amalgam that involves your brain's hormonal system, its frontal-lobe reward system and its limbic system, which controls mood. Genes regulate these neural pathways, meaning that sexuality is partly heritable, but the environment in which you develop sexually can affect how those genes are expressed.”

So does hyper-sexual behavior qualify as an illness? For now, that question is unanswerable.

1 responses to "Poll: Sex addiction - Illness or convenient excuse? "

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  1.   SugahRush says:
    Posted: 20 Jul 11

    So does hyper-sexual behavior qualify as an illness? For now, that question is unanswerable. ***************************************************************** If THIS is your question....your REAL question, it's answerable. No. Hyper-sexual behavior does not qualify as an illness. The exception would be, a pre-existing condition, impairment or deficiency with physical, chemical or genetic origins. Studies of alcoholism (as opposed to "irresponsible or heavy drinkers"), reveal a possible genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Those suffering from Bipolar Disorder and/or related issues, often show cyclical hypersexual behavior during manic phases. For the most part, we don't understand all of the physicochemical properties of addictions. We’re still learning. We should, however, have SOME understanding of ourselves and take responsibility for our "behavior"---yes, even illness caused misbehavior. For example, if a person has a cold, flu, yeast infection, etc, it's good citizenship for him/her to protect others from the illness. This is done by seeking help; taking meds and limiting contact with others. If one has a TREATABLE STD (Chlamydia, syphilis, etc), he/she should seek treatment, take meds and avoid infecting an unsuspecting partner. If a person has HIV/AIDS, Herpes or Hepatitis or other incurable yet transmittable disease/illness, he/she MUST TAKE THE HARD AND HIGH ROAD TO PROTECT OTHERS. How????? Embrace celibacy (the SAFEST SEX); alert your potential partners; or even find a partner who understands or even shares your challenges and, if you must, make a life---a beautiful life--with that person. (It sounds odd, but remember, 'THERE REALLY MAY BE SOMEONE FOR EVERYONE!!!) For those with any addiction, treatment is a must. Counseling is also a must and continually taking prescribed medications--"even if you feel better or have it all under control". The key component of an addiction is the preoccupation with SELF. Trading SELFISHNESS for SELFLESSNESS is the hardest part of any addiction. I tell my kids, however, "THE JOB DOESN'T HAVE TO GET EASIER, IT JUST HAS TO GET DONE!! There's a world out there counting on YOU (addiction & misbehavior--OR NOT) to be responsible. <3

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