Let’s admit, when you first heard of sex addiction you thought it was just a name tag cheaters wore to get away with their lack of self-control – in all honesty, it’s still leaning towards that. We hear of famous celebrities who, after getting caught cheating on their spouses cry “Sex addict! I need help…”. We hear of the everyday men and women who can’t help it and ruin relationships and career because of sex, but is it real? Is it an addiction that should get more attention and sympathy? Or is it just an excuse?
Better call in the professionals.
Psychologist David Ley, author of the Myth of Sex Addiction sees sex addiction as an “excuse and a way [of avoiding} responsibility”. He goes on suggesting that this addiction “distracts us from what may be real issues that are coming out in the guise of sex” i.e. underlying problems are causing this irresponsible view of sex as an addiction. What is more interesting is those who claim they are sufferers of this addiciton.
“Half of the people that get called sex addicts are white males who make over $100,000 a year, and they are religious heterosexual males, typically who’ve gotten in trouble for doing something outside of their marriage that they’re not supposed to be doing.” David explains.
Another tick in the Negative column is that sex addiction is not classified as an addiction in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a guide with which doctors diagnose mental and psychological disorders.
However, some experts in the field, such as sexologist Desiree Spierings, are more sympathetic towards this addiction. After treating those suffering from it she has seen firsthand its effect on their day to day lives.
“I guess it’s characterised by these all-consuming thoughts and additionally in engaging in this persistent escalating kind of sexual acts, which then as a consequence really negatively impact other significant areas of one’s life.”
She goes on to explain that ” those who are addicts often they get to a point where they want to stop but can’t,” as opposed to chronic cheaters, who have a choice and can “stop if they want to.”
One things for sure, those who are “suffering” from it say it’s far from the exotic and cool lifestyle you’d imagine.
Jason and Ben both suffer from this addiction and neither of them paint a pleasant picture. Ben describes it as “an itch under the skin, almost what an ice addict or someone would feel… It’s just like you need to get it and scratch it,” while Jason tells of the consistent torment it causes. “There’s sexual thoughts constantly in my mind that I cannot control, that I cannot ease and they never go away.”
Jason continues “that it’s not just something someone will use an excuse for when they might have played up in the wrong way disrespected someone. Each person needs to be dealt with individually with compassion because it’s something they really need help with.”
So, whether it’s a real addiction or just a ploy, we’ve talked about all the good things and the bad things that it may be.
We’ve talked about sex, baby.