Sexual Addiction Is It New Or Is It Just Being Realized That It May Be A Problem?

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

            It seems difficult to understand if sexual addiction is a new concept or something society has recently utilized as a method of dealing with those individuals who don’t know how to tow the mark.

          It seems reasonable that when President John F. Kennedy was having an interesting love affair with Marilyn Monroe and the several other women he was allegedly having sexual affairs with, he could have been considered a sexual addict.  His quote, “If I don’t have a woman for three days, I get terrible headaches.”  Then the legendary President Bill Clinton, who never admitted to his numerous sexual encounters with women who were friends of his or worked for him. Today, President Clinton’s failure to admit that he has a sexual addiction problem would place him in the denial category. The American Psychiatric Association does not formally recognize sex addiction as a mental disorder. According to Kaminer (1998), “Among the experts who treat and study compulsive behaviors and chemical dependencies there is controversy over the meaning of the term addiction and the efficacy of the disease model for a range of supposed addictions, from alcoholism to compulsive gambling.”
So where is society today? Is sexual addiction a real addiction or not? According to PsychCentral:

Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family member’s increases as the disorder progresses. Over time, the addict usually has to intensify the addictive behavior to achieve the same results.

In 1991, Dr. Patrick Carnes wrote a book called, “Don’t Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction.” This book has been said by the sexual addiction experts to be one of those books which came along when it was needed and has helped thousands of individuals with sexual addictions become healthy. Since 1984, Dr. Carnes has owned and operated, “Pine Grove” which is a behavioral health and addiction services. Pine Grove is located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. There are other programs available across the United States that specializes in helping those who suffer from sexual addiction. Most of you have heard of the following individuals who have sought treatment for sexual addiction issues:

Anthony Weiner
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Ben Roethlisberger
David Duchovny
David Lettermen
Elliott Spitzer
Jim McGreevy
John Edwards
Kobe Bryant
Larry Craig
Mark Sanford
Mark Foley
Michael Douglas
Russell Brand
Tiger Woods

A list of politicians and athletes who are only the crème of the crop. Are these men in a league of their own? Apparently, sexual addiction has been around for thousands of years. A sexual desire which has caused the downfall of many men, who simply couldn’t stop flirting with another man’s wife or a woman who threatened the very existence of his/her marriage. The question by an uninterested party may be, “Why?” why would someone who appears to be happily married repeatedly cheat on his or her wife/husband? The answer(s) are not simple and the reasons are even more confusing. Although the APA doesn’t believes that sexual addiction is a mental disorder, there obviously is something happening which makes men and women have multiple relationships with another person, not their wife/husband, but someone they met over the Internet, a chance meeting, pornographic websites, Craigslist, Facebook, MySpace and countless other social media websites.
There is no doubt that men like President John Kennedy were great leaders, but had numerous addiction issues. President Clinton was accused by several women to have been sexually assaulted by him. Was he out of control during his time as the Governor of Arkansas and the President of the United States? Only time will tell. He is still too young to read his final master piece. Over the next couple of weeks, I will address issues surrounding sexual addictions and the affect this addiction has had on so many people. 

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