Sex Addiction 101: Is it a cop out or disease?

Is there really such thing as a sex addiction, or is it just a cop out for guys like Tiger Woods who cheat on their wives?

By Natsumi Oye [Current Events Bureau Chief]

Is there really such thing as a sex addiction, or is it just a cop out for guys like Tiger Woods who cheat on their wives?

Sex addiction and the question of its legitimacy has seen a lot of attention since late last year when news of Woods’ affairs first began to surface. The spotlight has since shimmered on Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, who has three wives and 20 children, the latest child being born out of wedlock, according to the Globe and Mail.

The president “has been slammed as a sex addict like Tiger Woods,” reported last week.

What drives these men in their sexual endeavors? Tiger Woods needed numerous women to fulfill him, and it would seem that Zuma’s three wives weren’t enough to satisfy his needs. Are these men being men, or is it possible that some people are actually addicted to sex?

The L.A. Times recently quoted a nursing professor and sex therapist saying, “In the field of psychiatry, there’s not a clear agreement about whether or not it’s even a diagnosis.”

Those who believe that they are addicted to sex may seek help through much the same means as someone with an alcohol addiction does.

There is a 12-step Sex Addicts Anonymous program (SAA) available to those who want to deal with what they believe to be their addiction.
SAA is operated through the International Services Organization.

Judging by the SAA website though, having a sex addiction isn’t remotely the same thing as having an alcohol addiction.

There are many coherent symptoms for alcoholics. AA outlines some of those symptoms on their website that have to do with social behaviour, methods for obtaining alcohol, and the psychological relationship between the addict and alcohol.

The list of symptoms for sex addicts found on the SAA website consists mainly of things such as feelings of shame, negative consequences and failed attempts to keep promises regarding behaviour. If you are cheating on your spouse, you should feel shame though, and of course there is going to be a negative consequence to that particular action whether it be guilt or getting caught. Does that mean that everyone who cheats is an addict though?

There isn’t a lot of information out there about what a sex addiction really is, if it does legitimately exist, nor is there a lot of information about the types of people who suffer from it.  At this point it seems more like a cop out for people who cheat on their partners.

To say that sex is an addiction minimizes the nature of true addictions such as alcoholism.

There are ways to relieve sexual frustration without cheating on your partner, whereas alcoholism is a much more complex problem.