We hear a lot about fake news concerning politics, but another glaring example is the media and its sometimes shoddy treatment of sex addiction. Some media are evenhanded in their treatment of sex addiction, but anyone can purchase space on PR Newswire, and rant about how most people really believe in sex addiction.
Since the media, including some social media, are often sensational at the cost of not being accurate or fair, fake news about sex addiction is much too common. Sex addiction organizations and counselors spew out fake news about sex addiction to make the public believe they are legitimate. Otherwise, they would not be able to charge huge fees for inpatient clinics so “sex addicts” can finally recover from their normal interest in lust.
Many Christian counselors push sex addiction as a way to argue that anything short of monogamous marriage is sinful. Unsuspecting religious clients take it all hook, line and sinker, which leaves them feeling shame, guilt and embarrassment about their supposed addiction to sex.
All of this is a thinly disguised war against sex—particularly lusty and casual sex. Swingers are admonished for being sex obsessed, and those into anything kinky are put down for their weaknesses.
My concern is that many who believe or are told that they are sex addicts are often pressured by a partner to seek a sex addiction counselor or clinic. The problem is that these people could be helped by a legitimate board certified sex therapist, and instead they end up with a charlatan sex addiction counselor.
I know all of this is true, because I get at least one or two couples a week who first went to a sex addiction counselor, where they were shamed and sent to one of several sex addiction groups with similar so-called sex addicts. Some of these “addicts” end up hooking up with others at these groups, often feeling guilt and shame afterward.
When you repeat something over and over you may believe that whatever is repeated is true. Such is the case with sex addiction. Countering this unsubstantiated approach with cognitive behavior therapy with a competent sex therapist is a positive alternative to sex addiction “treatment.” This is what I do.
The DSM, the manual used by therapists to diagnose mental health problems, has soundly rejected both sex addiction and hyper-sexuality as legitimate diagnoses. Similarly, The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) has issued a clear position statement denying the legitimacy of sex addiction. Some media have covered these realities, but others simply have not.
The tide is changing. Sex addiction counselors (how can you certify something that doesn’t exist?) are just beginning to feel the effect of sound research which denies that sex addiction is a real concept worthy of mention. Because the tide is changing, sex addiction organizations and those making their living from this bogus approach are attacking researchers and clinicians who contend they are harmful in their insistence that sex can be an addiction.
For those wanting more coverage of this topic, I recommend Dr. David Ley’s superb book, The Myth of Sex Addiction. The truth is that as the tide continues to change, sex addiction is bound to fade from media attention, and from the consciousness of the average American. This cannot happen too quickly! There is no place for fake news about politics or sex.