When is a Sex Addiction Real?

Some people cheat, juggle many lovers, have multiple relations and watch porn. Could it be just your desire for different appetites or are you a sexual addict? A sex addiction is defined as the inability to cease sexual behaviors even when it damages your life, according to a recent news article.

The number of therapists for sexual addictions has risen worldwide in the past five years from 400 to over 1,000 according to the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals.

IITAP Vice President Tami VerHelst says debate is flaring up over whether compulsive sexual behaviors are really a disorder in themselves or not. Perhaps they are just the result of bad decision making. Hypersexual disorder is being talked about for inclusion in the DSM-V addition to be published in 2013.

Rory Reid, a clinical psychologist and principal investigator says the term addiction is overused for anything that is pleasurable and he thinks the label lacks any empirical evidence from genetics, neuroimaging or studies that assess patterns of tolerance and withdrawal.

The DSM-IV currently has an entry titled "sexual disorder not otherwise specified" and is defined as distress about constant sexual relationships with a string of lovers that exist just to be used. Reid feels the description is limiting and vague.

An adult needs to meet the following four out of five criteria in order to be diagnosed with hypersexual disorder:

  • Use sex to respond to anxiety, boredom or depression
  • Use sex due to stressful life events
  • Spend excessive amounts of time in sexual fantasies
  • Behaviors and urges
  • Unsuccessfully try to reduce or control sexual activities.

These criteria just name a few and four out of five of them must be done during a six month period.

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