Is Sex Addiction Real?

Sex addiction. It’s very topical right now. Known by the name ‘hypersexual disorder’ we look at what it is all about.

To be diagnosed with the disorder, a patient would have to chronically experience four of the following five situations:

A: Spending a “great deal of time” consumed by sexual fantasies and urges;

B: Using sexual behaviour to deal with stressful life events (or anxiety, depression, boredom or irritability);

C: Disregarding the “physical and emotional harm” to those involved and

D: Trying but failing to curb the behaviour.

As well, patients must have suffered distress and harm to their everyday life.

Hypersexuality has been around for hundreds of years and causes everything from marital dysfunction and divorce to increased risk of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

The vast majority of those who approach sex-addiction treatment are in a tug of war over the amount of sex in their relationship – which makes them good candidates for couples sex therapy, not a mental disorder diagnosis.

There’s a power struggle going on in the relationship and it’s being played out in the marital bed.

Definitions for hypersexual disorder

Over a period of at least six months, recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behaviour in association with four or more of the following five criteria:

(1) A great deal of time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behaviour.

(2) Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviour in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, irritability).

(3) Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviour in response to stressful life events.

(4) Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviour.

(5) Repetitively engaging in sexual behaviour while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others.

While new guidelines are being crafted for the treatment of hypersexuality post-sexual revolution, it is up to us as individual adults to determine how much is too much sex.

Source: American Psychiatric Association


About Robin Wright-Thurnley

Robin is an Associate Head Coach at Phoenix Relationship Coaching, where he guides clients towards achieving their life goals.