Larry Mantle |

The growth industry in treating sex addiction (or obsession)

Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times featured a story on how dramatically the field of sex addiction treatment is growing.  It’s not surprising that more people would look into it, given the high-profile rehab stints of Tiger Woods and Jesse James (Sandra Bullock’s estranged husband). However, the high cost involved is a pretty big inhibitor. 

Monday morning on AirTalk, we focused on the boom in sex addiction treatment and whether there even is such a diagnosis.  There isn’t a DSM definition for sex addiction, which leaves therapists and clinics in the position of using their favored methods of treatment, independent of consensus in the field.

One of our guests, Rob Weiss, directs treatment center in West Los Angeles.  He sees the rise in sex addiction as directly related to online access for prostitution, extra-marital relationships, and pornography.

Our other guest, sex therapist Marty Klein, argued that there’s no such thing as sex addiction.  He drew distinctions between substance addiction and behavior addiction, saying that overindulging in behaviors relate to underlying conditions, not the addictive nature of the behavior itself. 

What do you think?  When people create problems in their lives by particular sexual behavior, can it be because they’re addicted, or is it a compulsion that could be directed at anything from television to hand-washing?