6 Behaviors That Should Not Be Blamed On Sex Addiction
Sex addiction is one of the most controversial addictions out there. So controversial that the DSM-5 did not label sex addiction as an addiction in the latest edition of the manual. Considering the DSM-5 reclassified “gambling disorder” as a behavior addiction, many are perplexed as why sex addiction was not classified as an addiction as well.
Sex addiction appears to be a highly controversial issue among both the general public and those who work in the addiction field. One of the main reasons sex addiction is not in the DSM-5 is that empirical research on the addiction remains relatively weak. While sex addiction remains a widespread phenomenon in the media, few studies analyze sex addiction using valid addiction criteria.
Most of all, sex addiction is simply not taken seriously enough. Many scholar challenge sex addiction stating it is a complete myth. These associations occur because of the stigmas consistently associated with sex addiction. There are many moral attacks people have on sex addiction. Some are afraid that is sex addiction is considered a real addiction; it will give people a valid excuse for their behavior and undermined the individual’s responsibility for their actions.
Unfortunately, some people, even therapists, judge and label sexual behaviors that do not mesh with their personal standards. Meanwhile, other people blame their sexual misconduct on have a “sex addiction.” Often, individuals who have been caught cheating, breaking the law, or engaging in embarrassing or upsetting sexual behavior, blame their behavior on sexual addiction. This is an attempt to minimize the judgment and punishment they experience for others.
A recent article outlines six primary behaviors that should NOT be associated with sex addiction.
Being caught red-handed
As mentioned, many people will use sexual addiction to justify their inappropriate actions. While it is possible that individuals who get caught in the act could have a sex addiction, often this is far from the case. A diagnosis of sex addiction is never meant to be an excuse for bad behavior. A proper sex addiction diagnosis is intended to help a person recognize that they have an issue, accept responsibility for their actions and help them behave differently in the future.
Breaking the law
Sex addiction is not an excuse for breaking the law. Sexual offending is unrelated to sexual addiction. Any illegal or non-consensual sexual behavior should not correlate with sex addiction. While it is possible for a person committed a sexual crime to be a sex addict, the offending behavior should not serve as a defining factor. Plenty of individuals who commit sex crimes do not fall into the category of sex addicts. An analogy would be saying every person who commits petty crimes is a drug addict. While this can be true in some cases, the stigma itself is untrue.
Being gay or bisexual
Your sexual preference does not make you a sex addict. Sex addiction is not defined by whom or what turns you on. Sometimes self-loathing people will seek out sex addiction as a means of changing their sexual orientation. Who you are attracted to is your personal sexual orientation. A person should not try to change their orientation through labeling themselves as a sex addict.
Having kinks or fetishes
As we mentioned above, your sexual desires are not correlated to sex addiction. Some sexual attractions may result in shame which can cause a person to feel emotional distress and keep sexual secrets; however this is not a clear indication of sex addiction.
Some drug addiction, particularly stimulant users, become hypersexual when high. Hypersexuality due to drug use should not link to sex addiction. If the hypersexual behavior ceases when the drug use ends, then the diagnosis of sexual addiction is not appropriate. While it is possible that a person with sex addiction uses drugs, the two do not correlate.
Certain psychiatric conditions
Before a person receives a sex addiction diagnosis, clinicians must consider other mental health disorders that could be contributing to the patient’s hypersexuality and impulsive sexual behavior. Often, these behaviors are symptoms of previous mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, OCD and ADHD. With drug use, hypersexual behavior can end when the drug addiction ends. In these cases, a sex addiction diagnosis is not appropriate.
Sex addiction continues to be a complicated addiction that remains blurry for many addiction professions. Still, sex addiction is a reality for those who struggle to overcome it. No one should shy away from opening up about their fears and concerns. If you think you may have a problem, the best step is to seek professional help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.
Author: Shernide Delva