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?

 

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