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Jul 30 2010

Sex Addiction or Sexual Compulsion?

Sad_silhouette Let’s start with something we can all agree on. Some people have a hard time controlling their sexual behavior. Some people have sex in ways that damage themselves, and damage others… and they keep doing it anyway. Some people pursue sex — specific sexual activities, or just any kind of sexual pleasure generally — in ways that seriously interfere with their lives: ways that screw up their relationships, or create financial hardship, or even injure their health. And despite this harm, despite the fact that their behavior is making them unhappy, they don’t seem to be able to control themselves, and they keep doing it anyway.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

Does this mean these people are “sex addicts”?

My immediate answer is No.

And my non-immediate answer, my answer after long and careful consideration, is also No.

No, no, no, no, no.

Abso-fucking-lutely not.

The right word for this behavior is “compulsive.” Or “obsessive.” Or “fixated.” Or “self-destructive.” Or “harmful.”

Why?

Why am I so passionately opposed to the very concept of “sex addiction”?

Why am I being such a stickler about this language?

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Thus begins my latest piece on the Blowfish Blog, Sex Addiction or Sexual Compulsion? To find out why I think the concept of “sex addiction” is not only inaccurate, but denigrating and harmful, read the rest of the piece. (And if you feel inspired to comment here, please consider cross-posting your comment to the Blowfish Blog — they like comments there, too.) Enjoy!

2 comments

  1. 1
    Clarisse Thorn

    Have you seen this article from top Bay Area sex counselor Marty Klein? He’s not buying it either.
    http://carnalnation.com/content/51741/98/epidemic-sex-addiction
    (cross-posted at Blowfish)

  2. 2
    Valhar2000

    I haven’t read Dr. Klein’s article yet, but I do know that he opposes the concept of “Sex Addiction”. I believe he thinks of it a red herring that sends therapists down rabbit holes when they should instead be identifying and treating other problems that result in bad sex or bad sexual decision-making.

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