Sex Addiction's Surprising Ties to Mental Illness

unmade bedWhen it comes to sex addiction, I'm guilty ... of rolling my eyes every time another celebrity uses it as a defense when he gets caught having an affair:

Boo-hoo, woe is me, I couldn't stop myself! I'm ... a sex addict!

Sure y'are, buddy. Everybody totally buys that excuse.

But it's not really fair for me (or anybody) to dismiss sex addiction as a made-up adultery Get Out of Jail Free card.

Especially considering that the condition is usually caused by an underlying disorder -- and it's tough to treat one without treating the other.

These are just a few of the mental illnesses linked to sex addiction:

Bipolar Disorder High-risk sexual activity can be symptomatic of manic states.

Borderline Personality Disorder Unsafe sex can be "part of a pattern" of self-harming behavior.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Sometimes seen in survivors of childhood sexual abuse, compulsive sexual behavior in these cases is a "subconscious attempt to gain control over their childhood trauma."

Dependent Personality Disorder Also known as "love addiction" (which I personally never heard about before Rachel Uchitel went on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew), love addicts apparently use sex to get "love."

Aspergers Syndrome "Out-of-control" sexual behavior is a common problem for men with Aspergers.

Have you ever known anyone with a sex addiction? Can you make any connections between these conditions and that person?

Do you think sex addiction is a form of mental illness?


Image via thien-kim/Flickr

mental health


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Sarah... SarahLynn0315

This kind of pride in willful ignorance is exactly why the mentally ill in the US are absolutely fucked. It's pathetic.

Michelle Huntley

I was a sexually asssualted child. I have PTSD. And i have a sexual addiction. I has calmed down since I became a mother, but I am not surprised to hear these may be connected.


Oh and the definition of addiction is something which interferes with your everyday life. I could not function if I did not have sex every couple of days, so yes I believe sex can be an addiction.

David Ley Phd

There is a very high comorbidity of "sex addiction" and real mental health conditions - but, sex addiction is a myth. When sex addiction is diagnosed, the real mental health issues are ignored. Further, the label of sex addiction IS often used as a "get out of jail card," used in court to avoid punishment, and used in marriages to avoid consequences for infidelity. My new book, The Myth of Sex Addiction explores all this and more, exposing sex addiction as junk science, that is used to impose morality, and excuse irresponsible behavior.

nonmember avatar GemGirl

A lot of men use sex to avoid dealing with real feelings. When their female partners feel pressured to have sex, it becomes draining because one knows when one's body is being used as an object versus being shared with a mate in a loving manner. Many people will do what this woman did because not being able to say no to someone puts a person in a bind when they become turned off to such a needy partner who uses sex in ways it's not intended.

Lydlou02 Lydlou02

Lol at link between addiction and mental health as "surprising". Really does that surprise anybody?

nonmember avatar Vicki

My ex-partner (big emphasis on the EX) was a sex addict - along with having problems with alcohol, gambling and dope. His problems are too many to go into here. I didn't read anything in either of the two articles about sex addiction being tied in with other addictions.

11-16 of 16 comments First 12