If Sex Addiction Exists Then So Does My Napping Problem


couple looking at fireworksWhenever someone mentions that so and so has a sex addition, I think to myself, That sounds like a load of steaming bullshit. SEX addiction? If we're making excuses for bad behavior, should I go ahead and call myself a "Nap Addict"? Because I totally am.

But still, I wondered, does sexual addiction exist? I'm even more intrigued after meeting a number of women whose partners were sex addicts. Okay, I thought. It's time to sleuth!

Sexual addiction is not a disorder recognized by the holy Bible of Psychology -- the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). There is verbiage proposed in the new edition of the manual to include behavioral addictions, including pornography addiction, Internet addiction, but alas, no nap addiction. Guess I'm out of luck.

Even without the official diagnostic criteria, unlike other behavioral compulsions, sex addiction has a documented, researched history. So why isn't it recognized by the DSM? For one, it's an old book (written in 1994), and the research regarding sexual addiction has been more front-and-center over the last decade. I'd guess that some of the old-school button-up don't-talk-about-sex attitude is also to blame. After all, it SOUNDS like a bullshit diagnosis.

I don't (as racy as it sounds) think it is a bullshit diagnosis, really. I firmly believe that any behavior that is taken to the extreme can be considered pathological. If a disorder, like sex addiction, "causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning" (the reliable words surrounding ALL diagnoses in the DSM), it's probably worth sussing out.

There is a standard treatment, after all, to sex addiction: antidepressants and a 12-Step Program. That, to me, would suggest that the DSM should include some broader categories of addictions.

I still doubt I'll get my "nap addiction," but perhaps some others with pathological, maladaptive behavioral patterns will get an actual diagnosis.

What do YOU think about sex addiction? Is it real?


Image via nathalielaure/Flickr

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lehof... lehoffman

I think it's real in the same way personality disorders are. To me it's more of a classification of the ways people behave. Also, I feel your pain, I was definitely a chronic napper until I upped my coffee intake. I don't know what I'm going to do when I'm pregnant and shouldnt have so much caffeine. 

nonmember avatar Liz

It probably has a lot to do with impulse control. I wouldn't be surprised if people who cheat repeatedly, and cite sex addiction, also have trouble making responsible decisions in other aspects of their lives.

nonmember avatar kkgirl

Sex addiction is all too real to me. It's a painful (both physical and mental) struggle that takes a toll on a relationship. It needs to be recognized as a true compulsive disorder. At the moment, the closest diagnosis is hypersexuality. Most cases start with sexual abuse during childhood. It may sound like an excuse to cheat and indulge in fantasies, but it really is an addiction.

dilly... dillyboysmom

I don't deny it is a real mental illness.  That said, I think that all of these celebrities saying the have sex addictions are full of shit.  Their celebrity affords them having bimbos throw themselves at them, and they avail themselves of the bimbo's offerings.  They're not addicted, they're idiots.

nonmember avatar LauraRB

dillyboysmom - I agree to a point. I think anyone who gains power (which is kind of what celebrity leads to) ends up abusing it and using it (for primeval biological reasons) to get laid. However, I would also point out that it seems that truly talented actors, musicians, artists are already a little damaged, which is prehaps why they are so good at what they do. So maybe that damage also leads to sexual dysfunction...? Who knows. I myself have always believed there is no such thing as addiction, just really weak wills. For every person who is addicted to something, there is another person who was able to completely forgo it, or who did it a couple of times and that was it, or did it habitually and quit, or does it regularly, but doesn't mess up his/her life over it!

nonmember avatar lele

Just because some people (okay, men) use sex addiction as an excuse for bad behavior doesn't mean there is no such thing as sex addiction. According to the book LOVE ADDICT: SEX, ROMANCE AND OTHER DANGEROUS DRUGS by Ethlie Ann Vare, brain scans show that infatuation and orgasm affect the brain EXACTLY THE SAME WAY as smoking crack. Not everyone who tries cocaine will become an addict, but don't tell me there's no such thing as drug addiction!

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