Let’s get real. Sex is fun. At least it can be. So, what is the fuss about? Who doesn’t love sex? And is there such a thing as “too much” sex?
Scholars can’t agree on whether sex addiction is a real thing or not. DSM-5 Hypersexual Behavior Disorder was not included in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-5). But is it in any wonder considering the difference of opinion that exists within the professional community of mental health? Some clinicians adamantly claim that sex addiction theorists have a moral agenda, while oppositely, some theorists and practitioners believe their peers to be borderline negligent and avoidant of those impacted by hypersexual behavior (disorder…again, the jury is still out).
And I am not here to claim any knowledge of your personal life or your sexual appetite. Everyone is different! Sexual behaviors, interests, attraction, desires, emotional needs and wants – all tend to change across a person’s lifespan and can be influenced by both genes and the environment.
But, as a clinician, regardless of diagnosis, if you are a person whose sexual behaviors conflict with personal and professional life, it might be worthwhile to consider support, at the very least, to talk it out. You ask, “how do I know if I have a problem?” Well, let’s get to the basics of the behavior.
What drives your sexual appetite? Is it the act that drives you or the person you are with? Does it sometimes feel like your desire for sex is more of an urge that cannot be satisfied?
And the aftermath, once the sexual adventure or conquest is over, do you feel immediately deflated after following a “high”? Do you find yourself picking up the same STIs over and over again (not including those with the same partner)? What about risk?
If in answering any of these questions, you find yourself cringing, or, your head is shaking NO in a most defiant way, then perhaps it is time to do a check-in with an objective party. And as earlier mentioned, there is a therapist for everyone! If you think that you are riding a slippery slide straight into addiction then check out those who appreciate the works of Patrick Carnes addiction model. Or if you are still not sure and are just wanting to understand your sexual prowess further, then consider working with someone who is AASECT (American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists) certified.
Whatever choice you make, checking in just might save you from some hard life lessons.
Angela Schubert, Ph.D, LPC, CCMHC
Program Director | M.S. Clinical Counseling
Central Methodist University
3201 West 16th Street
Sedalia MO 65301