Sex as Addiction and the Treatment Thereof
There is much controversy around the use of the term "sex addiction." This article gives a brief overview of the arguments against this term, and then shows some of the aspects as to why sex may indeed be an addiction and how it may be treated. There is certainly a need for further research in this area before anything definitive can be proclaimed, but perhaps the study of behaviours that present as addiction can give us further insight and understanding of exogenous addictions.PDF Version (Printable)
According to the DSM-V Sex Addiction is not a diagnosable condition. Sexual addiction was mentioned in the DSM-III-R, but disappeared in the DSM-IV, threatened a come-back in the DSM-V but has now been discarded. Sex, however, has long been described as addictive. In the late 1800s Freud described masturbation as the “original addiction.” Rado in the 20’s described addiction as “compulsive” and made the reward/pleasure/sex link. We saw words such as nymphomania (Ellis) and the clumsy “Don Juanism”(Stoller). In the 70’s Mac Dougall spoke of “addictive sexuality”. It was originally proposed that sex be included under the heading of addiction in the DSM-5, and then that was discarded and the idea of hyper-sexuality was introduced as a possibility. Eventually none of these proposals was accepted, and so sexual addiction has ceased to exist, according to the DSM, that is.