Sex Addiction is Not a Myth: Article Not to Miss

In a previous post we noted that the Nov/Dec issue of The Therapist Magazine (California Marriage and Family Therapist publication), a group of therapists wrote an article discrediting the work of sex addiction therapists. 

Jan Beauregard, Candice Christensen, and Alexandra Katehakis have published a response that sets the record straight

Here is the “take away” for those too busy to read the entire article:

  1. Neurobiological research supports the view that Sexual Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and certified sexual addiction therapists pursue therapies informed by neurobiological research. 
  2. Sexual Addiction treatment does not define its practice in terms of gender-identity or sexual orientation.
  3. Sexual Addiction treatment is not anchored in 12-Step programs.
  4. The debate on the nature of addiction has generated a body of research that “has engendered a maturation in understanding the role of the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward pathways in both drug and natural (behavioral) addictions”.
  5. Although the DSM has explored a variety of labels for problematic sexual behavior (Sex Addiction, Sexual Addiction, Hypersexuality, Nonparaphilic Compulsive Sexual Disorder, there remains a consistent list of behaviors that point to a disorder:
  • Continuation of behavior despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent social, financial, psychological, or physical problems that are caused or exacerbated by the behavior.
  • Recurring failure to resist sexual impulses to engage in a specific sexual behavior.
  • Preoccupation with the behavior or preparatory activities.
  • Frequent engaging in the behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, domestic, or social obligations.
  • Frequent engaging in the behavior to a greater extent than intended.
  • Inordinate amount of time spent obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences.
  • Giving up or limiting social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the sexual behavior.

The article cites numerous studies that together contribute to an increasingly more complete understanding of how hypersexual activity changes the brain. 

Of significant value to clinicians is the growing consensus forming around a common addiction model: “All addictions, whether substance or process (i.e., gambling, overeating, overspending, or sex), are developmental self-regulation disorders triggered by neurobiological deficits from early relationship (attachment) trauma.”

Of significant value to people who struggle with sexual addiction: The hope for recovery has never been better!