Sexual Addiction

The National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity estimated that 6%-8% of Americans (18-24 million people) are sex addicts.

Certain medications have been found to be helpful for sexual addiction as they act on brain chemicals linked to obsessive thoughts and behaviors. They also tend to reduce the chemical rewards these behaviors provide such as euphoria. Which medications will be the most beneficial for any addict can only be determined by an experienced psychiatrist depending on coexisting medical or psychological conditions, as well as a history of other addictions. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers may be prescribed. Naltrexone (generally used to treat alcoholism) may be used to block the part of the brain that feels pleasure with certain addictive behaviors. Anti-androgens (medroxyprogesterone) reduce the biological effects of sex hormones in men, decreasing sexual drive. Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) may reduce the addict’s obsessive sexual thoughts by reducing the production of testosterone.

Additionally, self-help and support groups can be effective for sexual addiction. These groups are available online and in person. The most popular groups include: Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexual Recovery Anonymous, and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. Family members can receive support from Codependents of Sex Addicts (COSA) and S-Anon International.


There are many sexually addicted individuals who are law abiding citizens who hurt no other individuals and rarely rise to general public scrutiny. However, these individuals may be suffering needlessly from a treatable addiction. Then there are the sex addicts who have committed (sometimes horrific) crimes, and will need to be separated from society indefinitely. Most sexual addicts fall somewhere in the middle. They do not break laws, but they do wreak havoc in the lives of other people.

But let's not forget that there are bad guys acting badly, believing they will never get caught. This is the essence of the controversy of the validity of sexual addiction as a valid disorder. With an accepted concept or diagnosis of sexual addiction there is bound to be a rash of individuals who will use their infidelities, abhorrent sexual activities, deceit, and criminal activity as an excuse for misbehaving, or as an insanity defense.

Sexual addicts' lives play out slowly but eventually. Time will tell how Tiger overcomes his addiction, and the fallout it has created in his marriage, fatherhood, career, financial status, etc. Sex addiction does not explain all sexually troublesome behaviors, or excuse harm caused as a result of sexual acting out.

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