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There is no such thing as "sex addiction"

You’re Addicted to What? | The Humanist


When people refer to themselves or others as “sex addicts,” what are they actually talking about? More than anything, simple narcissistic character structure: the familiar “I guess I thought I could get away with it,” “Deep down, I don’t really believe the rules apply to me,” or “When I hurt, I want relief, and I don’t care so much about breaking promises or hurting others.”

If that sounds like normal people—if that sounds like you—it’s not surprising. Narcissism is a common human condition. So here’s my evaluation of almost everyone who is diagnosed as a sex addict—by themselves, their loved ones, or an addictionologist: it’s someone who is unhappy with the consequences of their sexual choices, but who finds it too emotionally painful to make different choices. You know, the way some of us are with cookies, new sweaters, or watching the Kardashians on TV.

Which is to say, it’s not about the sex. It’s about the immature decision-making.

The rest of the people who are in pain about their sexual decision-making are generally struggling with one or more of the following: compulsivity, impulsivity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. An idiosyncratic response to medication can even be a factor.