Yesha Callahan

Sex Addiction Is Now A Legitimate Mental Disorder

When many people hear the term “sex addiction”, it elicits comments such as, “yeah right” or “they’re just a pervert” and “they just like to sleep around”. But according to a recent study involving 207 patients in several mental health clinics around the country, sex addiction is a legitimate mental disorder.

A team from the University of California, Los Angeles has devised a set of criteria to define ‘hypersexual disorder’ as a new mental health condition. The findings, which were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, will play a role in determining whether hypersexual disorder will be part of the improved fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which has been called the “bible” of psychiatry.

Research psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, Rory Reid, lead a team of doctors and marriage and family counselors in their search to find substantial criteria to help professionals adequately make hypersexual disorder diagnoses.

Professor Rory Reid said, “The criteria for hypersexual disorder that have been proposed, and now tested, will allow researchers and clinicians to study, treat and develop prevention strategies for individuals at risk for developing hypersexual behavior. As with many other mental health disorders, there must also be evidence of personal distress caused by the sexual behaviors that interfere with relationships, work or other important aspects of life.”

Of the 207 patients they examined, 17 per cent had lost a job at least once, 39 per cent had a relationship end, 28 per cent contracted a sexually transmitted infection and 78 per cent had interference with healthy sex.

Reid said, “So an individual meeting the criteria for hypersexual disorder can experience significant challenges and consequences in their life. Our study showed increased hypersexual behaviour was related to greater emotional disturbance, impulsivity and an inability to manage stress.”

He said that hypersexual patients reported excessive masturbation, use of pornography, cyber sex, sex with prostitutes, affairs and multiple anonymous partners. They averaged 15 partners in the previous 12 months.

“It’s not that a lot of people don’t take sexual risks from time to time or use sex on occasion to cope with stress or just escape, but for these patients, it’s a constant pattern that escalates until their desire for sex is controlling every aspect of their lives and they feel powerless in their efforts to change,” he added.

  1. October 23, 2012 - Reply

    Confirming that theirs a lot of very sick people out there.

  2. October 23, 2012 - Reply

    The movie ‘Shame’ really delved into this in a serious way.

  3. October 23, 2012 - Reply

    This is not an addiction, i don’t really believe this. A lot of people who are having sex are abusing themselves and need spiritual help. what happen spiritually in them effects the mind set. if they were to get help then get down to the root which is in the spirit.

  4. October 23, 2012 - Reply

    Everything under the sun these days is a “legitimate” mental disorder far be it for anyone to take personal responsibility.

  5. October 24, 2012 - Reply

    I think most nay-sayers have no real comprehensive understanding of what addiction is and how it operates. You can become an addict to almost anything. It’s not really about the action that you’re doing – eating, playing video games, having sex, exercising – it’s about the way that doing that action makes you feel; how you feel when you aren’t doing it; and the lengths you’ll go to to have that feeling again. This is what separates these things that most of us do and like from the reaching the level of addiction. You may be horny, but do you feel incomplete without sex? Would you shirk your responsibilities to have it? There are real differences in the way a sex addict has, thinks about, and engages in sex than most people – even those with a high sex drive.

    I do think there’s a drive to label certain things mental illnesses that make people less responsible for their behavior (racism comes to mind) – but I don’t think sex addiction is one of them.

  6. November 4, 2012 - Reply

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  7. November 11, 2012 - Reply

    So if dats the case shouldn’t we label homosexuality a sexual disorder too??? I’m just saying cause they don’t have sex. The men abuse the anus and what they do to each others penises a woman can do and women with women bishes you need penetration not that donut rubbing sh*t and a man can handle your clitoris for you and you on a boob is signs of internal issues that says you need to grow up!

  8. November 13, 2012 - Reply

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  9. March 13, 2013 - Reply

    Nancy Drew
    March 13, 2013
    Dr. Reid thinks he should be working with marriage counselors to determine sex disorders? How about adultery, is that a sexual disorder?

    Dr. Reid, the healthy sex specialist and addiction specialist, went to a Society for Sexual Health conference in September 2012 and had an affair with a woman he knew was married.

    This is a man who claims to be a marriage distress specialist who has affairs with married women? Don’t send your wife to him. UCLA wake up!

    The woman he had an affair with was Gretchen Blycker Mason, she is also a “sex addiction and healthy relationship specialist.” What a great pair.

    How do I know? I worked with the woman.

  10. March 22, 2013 - Reply

    Time out

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