Monday, April 5, 2010
Is Sexual Addiction Real?
Tiger Woods, Jessie James, Michael Douglas,Wilt Chamberlain (remember him?) are just a few of the celebs who admit to being plagued with "sexual addiction". With rehab centers springing up all over, it would appear this condition is on the rise. But is there really a disorder called "sexual addiction" or is it just bad behavior that finally gets caught? Is sexual addiction equivalent to alcohol dependency or is it just an excuse to be unfaithful?
Experts who treat sexual addiction say it is a compulsive need to seek out and follow a certain type of sexual behavior. Acting out sexually is something the person does to avoid dealing with something else...a coping mechanism that is out of control. It is not really about sex; it is driven by shame.
OK, stop right there. Is it really an addiction? Does the person experience physical withdrawal symptoms if he isn't watching porn or bedding new women? I can understand that some may have an unhealthy obsession with sex but I'm getting sick of the "medicalization" of selfish or bad behavior.
Can we just admit that most men have strong sex drives from the age of...oh about 13 to 90. Certainly there are people that have not developed self control or the ability to have sincere relationships. Others have money and power that makes them feel the "rules" don't apply to them. Some people have compulsions or boredom or too many drugs or too much travel away from home.
Some men (it is almost always men) may just get adrenaline rush from breaking the rules and most neuro scientists agree that we are hard wired for novelty. Could it just be that desire for novelty has become a compulsion?
I think some "sex addicts" just don't think before they are caught. Remember when Jay Leno asked Hugh Grant, "What were you thinking?" and he replied "I did a bad thing" when he cheated on sexy Elizabeth Hurley. At least he admitted HE did a "bad thing" and not that he needed treatment to help him recover from his affliction.
With all of the attention being given to "sexual addiction", it won't be long before we have an expensive new pharmaceutical drug developed to treat it. That's when we will know that a new disease has truly arrived.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 10:56 PM