Tiger Woods

Good news for Tiger Woods and the rest of his ilk. Sex addiction is on the verge of becoming a formally recognized psychiatric disorder. The American Psychiatric Association is currently in talks to include the "addiction" in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, you know, the official guide that describes all your mental and emotional issues so that doctors can label you as such.

In light of recent celebrity scandals, sex addiction has gotten an awful lot of media attention lately and spurred much debate in the medical community. It will be interesting to see if the addiction (which is categorized by relentless sexual urges outside of one's control) makes it into the manual, or if it's just received by the APA as a trendy weakness. Even more interesting: the myriad of medications, therapies and other treatments that could emerge if it does make the cut. Perhaps the only business bigger than sex itself is the pharmaceutical desire to curb, enhance or otherwise alter it?

Commentarium (2 Comments)

Mar 14 11 - 2:40pm

I don't see what the debate is about. Addictions come from an urge to fill a physical or emotional need - some people become addicted to alcohol because of underlying emotional problems they can't control. Why should an equally powerful physical act like sex be different?

Mar 14 11 - 3:41pm

It's different because sex is not a substance and addiction involves a substance. You can not get addicted to a behavior, semantically. Compulsive behaviors are not the same as addictions, although they're related issues. But any sort of "sex compulsion" is already generally covered by the DSM as-is, because compulsive behavior is already recognized. There's also a social problem with pathologizing sex itself. The problem is not that people compulsively have SEX, the problem is that the behavior is compulsive, period. There's no need to additionally pathologize sex specifically unless we're also going to start making up diagnostic criteria for things like "candy addiction" and "partying addiction." The problem is the underlying compulsive behavior; the specific way it manifests is pretty coincidental to any actual mental illness.