Sex: Sex addiction should be taken seriously

(Creative Commons photo by Flickr user jean_koule)

(Creative Commons photo by Flickr user jean_koule)

Posted by Katherine Marrone on Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 8:34 am.

We all love sex, right?

The validity of a sex addiction seems to be questioned by popular culture. How can we distinguish need from want? Is it possible it could just be a fabrication used by compulsive cheaters as a way to defend their devious ways?

An article by The Atlantic citing the results of a new study conducted by the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that sex addiction — or hypersexual disorder — should be taken seriously. The disease may even be included in the professional guide used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental illnesses — right alongside mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia — when it is updated this May for the first time in 13 years.

The Atlantic describes a person suffering from hypersexual disorder as someone who typically experiences “recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors for at least six consecutive months.” This person’s sexuality is so debilitating to the point of “interfering with their normal life and leading to the possibility of self-harm.”  In short, it would be difficult for someone with hypersexual disorder to keep up a job, maintain relationships or do normal day-to-day activities.

Viewed in this light, the addiction is as sad as any. It can be as life-damaging as an addiction to heroin, alcohol or crystal meth.