Sex Addiction: The Next Mental Disorder?
Posted March 31, 2010on:
Jesse James is the latest celebrity to check into “sex rehab” after
apparently having affairs during his marriage to actress Sandra Bullock. (File)
Mar 31, 2010 7:11 pm US/Eastern
By KATHRYN BROWN, CBS 2 HD News
NEW YORK (CBS) ―
Sex rehab seems to be the latest craze among celebrities who have been caught cheating. Now, Sandra Bullock’s husband, Jesse James, is said to be in a “treatment facility.”
His reported stint in rehab has people wondering: is sex addiction real or just an excuse invented by people to rationalize their bad behavior?
James checked himself into sex rehab after being linked to raunchy sex-capades with at least four women during his marriage to Bullock.
“It’s the perfect thing they can do for their public image. It shows that they really want to improve what the public perception is of them,” said US Weekly Senior Editor Lindsay Powers.
But the medical community is sharply divided on whether sex addiction – as it’s called – even exists.
Dr. Anne-Renee Testa, a psychologist specializing in relationship issues, said no one is born with a destructive addiction to sex, but that it can develop over time.
“These guys though have a kind of underlying anxiety that makes them do it, that just makes them continue doing it and if they could do it again 24/7 they would,” she said.
Recovering sex addict and psychologist Tim Lee can sympathize firsthand with his patients. He doesn’t doubt the validity of a sex addiction, but he does worry that celebrities scandalized by multiple affairs use the illness as a crutch and trivialize real problems.
“I’m sure some men are just going through the motions to please their spouses, but I think any professional can kind of smell that out,” he said.
The public seemed divided on the issue as well.
“I think its just an excuse,” said midtown Manhattan resident Mary Beth Miles. “I don’t buy it at all.”
“I don’t think it’s a fake disease, I just think he needs to own up to what he’s done,” said Sunnyside resident Denise Patrick.
Sex addiction is not currently listed in the manual of mental disorders, but it is being considered for inclusion in the next edition set to be released in 2012.
The proposed definition stops short of calling it an addiction and would refer to it as “hypersexual disorder” instead.
A recent CBS News/Vanity Fair poll found 33 percent of people surveyed said they do not believe in sex addiction, and 30 percent of those responding said celebrities are simply lying about suffering from the addiction.
For more information on sexual addiction, use the following resources: