Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sex Addiction - Does it exist?

I received a wonderful inquiry in response to my recent newsletter. It follows:

"Do you really think that there is such a thing as sex addiction (in reference to the Tiger Woods piece)?

I don't. I think it is just something else drummed up by people looking to create clients for themselves. I am of the opinion that when a person has to ingest a substance such as drugs or alcohol in order to feel good, that can be properly defined as an addiction, because a foreign substance has to be ingested to bring on an altered state.

However, we were all born with the built in mechanism to experience sexual pleasure and orgasm. We can access it any time we want and we do not even have to have a partner to have an orgasm. So it is my opinion that activating the sexual pleasure mechanisms within ourselves is a natural ability we were born with, and this is a natural function of our own body, not an addiction.

It is my observation that people who are not comfortable with their own sexuality and their own sexual pleasure take the point of view that people who enjoy their sexuality frequently and without guilt have something wrong with them.

Are you of the opinion that there is such a thing as sex addiction?"

Excellent question. I don't believe in sex addiction in the way it is discussed in common society, but I define addiction differently than the inquirer.

I do believe that if someone pursues sex or is consumed by thoughts of sex to the detriment of his/her functional life - ex: blowing off healthy social relationships and/or business meetings, emptying one's financial resources, etc. - that they probably suffer an addiction. There are people who are sex addicts (find your local meeting of SAA), just as there are people addicted to gambling (also a behavior instead of a chemical), but my understanding is that true sex addiction is relatively rare.

Tiger Woods, for example, does not outwardly appear to be an addict. He appears to have maintained a successful professional life, and a successful personal life until this became public. However...

Does sex fill his every waking thought? Does he barely overcome that uncomfortable condition in order to main the semblance of normalcy? Is it a compulsion such that when he's travelling he must have a woman in his bed every single night? Those are some of the things that would lead me to think "addiction."

Now, the way that society uses the term "sex addict" to refer to anyone who enjoys a lot of sex and allows themselves to have it - that is inaccurate, IMHO.

What are your thoughts on sex addiction?
Where do you draw the line between addiction and a healthy, if non-traditional, sex drive?

M. Makael Newby, 2010 - All Rights Reserved -

1 comment:

  1. There's a great article by Annie Sprinkle on this topic at