Commonly described as an experience of powerlessness, unmanageable drive, and a basic out-of-control sexual behavior, "sexual addiction" is nothing more than a "learned" sexual behavior expressed in violation of prevailing societal norms and expectations. In our society today it appears to be in vogue to attribute numerous unpopular behaviors to biological and psychological origins. It is an explanation of convenience for something threatening and unpopular, thus unacceptable, thus deviant and not normal . By labeling certain behaviors addictions we run the risk of jeopardizing our self-concept of autonomous beings and we relinquish the control or lack of it to entities outside of ourselves.
It appears that those diagnosed as "sex addicts" are disproportionately men, leading some researchers to hypothesize that the process of socialization along traditional "masculinity ideology" with respect to sex results in men expressing their masculinity through excessive sexual behavior.
There is evidence that "sex addiction" is a mere habit that perhaps has gotten out of ones control. In Pathological Gambling Turning Into Epidemic Peter Freiberg discusses the danger of gambling becoming the newest "addiction" of the year. He explains the motivation to gamble by pointing out vast expansion of gambling institutions and their accessibility for people. In other words, Freiberg claims that some individuals gamble excessively because the opportunity is readily available. One can easily apply the same criterion to sex becoming readily available and even acceptable in the late 60s and throughout 1970s. With the turnaround in US government toward the conservative ideology, rise in religious fundamentalism, and the AIDS epidemic, " make love, not war" became very unpopular. Therefore, the availability of sex is still there, but the stigma attached to it is quite different.
Discusses the evolution of sexual behavior through different eras of acceptability and the consequences of labeling sexual behavior an addiction.
Findings show that male subjects tended to pathologize client viginettes more than female subjects, and highly religious males saw clients as more sexually addicted than did other subjects.
Sex is not an addiction, it is an experience rather than a substance. By definition, sex is not a state of physiological dependence and it does not lead to distress upon abrupt withdrawal. It is not a condition that exists in DSM publications . According to the authors, in our "sex-negative" culture based on Judeo-Christian traditions and currently faced with incurable AIDS, sex for recreation and outside of committed relationship is wrong, thus abnormal, thus a disease.
There is some evidence that points to the possibility that some individuals use sex as means of coping with life stress. If an individual was raised in overprotective environment that was not conducive to self- sufficiency, this individual mig ht resort to excessive and unfullfilling search for closeness by engaging in sexual behaviors with numerous partners.
Addresses pitfalls of 12 step programs sucha s Sex and Love Addiction Anonymous. Assesses dilemma of clinical assessment, problem definition, and intervention.
Presents four models in understanding sexual compulsive behavior. It argues that terminology is often inexact and confusing.