It’s Official: Sex Addiction Is No Longer a Legit Medical Disorder

Sorry dudes.

Anthony Weiner
Sorry, Anthony.

For people in public life who get caught committing sexual shenanigans and find themselves—at minimum—pretty embarrassed about it, life just got a little harder. And not in the good way. 

The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, aka AASECT, recently made it official: as far as they’re concerned, sex “addiction” is bullshit. More to the point, they believe that there just isn’t “empirical evidence” that proves uncontrolled sexual impulses amounts to a form of addiction. As far as AASECT is concerned, therapy that treats sexual issues like addiction are poorly “informed by accurate human sexuality knowledge.”

Writing in Playboy, researcher Debra Soh puts a fine point on why constant fooling around or even compulsively yanking it may not be the same as needing that next hit of a drug of choice or being unable to put the bottle down:

From a neuroscientific perspective, drug and alcohol addictions show up as long-term changes to a reliable brain network that is involved in reward, emotion and motivation. There have yet to be any well-designed studies showing that those suffering from excessive sexual behaviors showcase similar changes in their brains, however. While dopamine, arguably the most famous neurotransmitter, often gets singled out and accused of reinforcing the pleasurable aspects of problematic sex, the truth is that the brain releases dopamine in a lot of different contexts—including when monkeys are given a sip of juice or when grad students come across free food at a public event. Labeling the release of dopamine as evidence of sex addiction would then require us to conclude that monkeys can be addicted to juice and graduate students can be addicted to free cookies.  

Soh writes that when a man is hypersexual—fooling around constantly, wanting a larger than average diet of kink or fetish encounters—the problem may be a tendency to feel “feel immense guilt and shame” about what they want. When in fact, wanting multiple partners or some ropes and spanking involved is actually completely within the normal spectrum of human sexuality. 

Rather than concluding addiction is involved, writes Soh, hypersexual people might want to read literature that de-mystifies such needs, like The Myth of Sexual Addiction.

Soh even notes some guys she’s encountered in her research have concluded certain so-called societal norms like monogamy are just not their thing. 

There you go then. Look away from the addiction model and toward getting together a group of open-minded sister wives. It couldn’t hurt.

h/t Playboy