Controversy about sexual addiction

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adams, PhD talks about the controversy over the term "sex addict" and what sexual addiction really means
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Controversy about sexual addiction

So there's some controvery about the term sexual addiction. That's a very popular term in the culture right now. There's a new movie out called Thanks For Sharing, which has popularized the recovery from sexual addiction, but there's still alot of controversy about it both within the general culture. People kind of giggle and laugh when they hear the term sex addict or they think they're talking about a pervert or a child molestor, which isn't unneccessarily at all the case, and we have it in the professional circles. The term is used as a way to describe people who have lost control. So it's a very helpful label in the sense that when somebody has lost control, the term sexual addiction suggests that they need to have an addiction approach to their treatment. Another words, you have to start talking about behaviors that you shouldn't do whereas if I do something too much or I have a bad habit, or maybe i can still do it, but not do it as often, so somebody for example who is a pornography addict, sex addict who uses pornography. Or the question comes will I be able to use pornography again? If they're addicted, generally the answer is no. Like a food addict, right? If eating chocolate cake causes me to binge, and I go on a food binge, and I start throwing up, and I start hiding food, then the truth is learning to eat chocolate cake is not the answer. You have to use an addiction approach where the same thing is true with sex. So when we use the word sexual addiction, it's a very useful label for clinicians. So even though people giggle, people get afraid of it, it's become a very helpful framework, even though it's not an official diagnosis, it's a very helpful framework, in which you begin to understand people who are not perverts, who can be helped, and who can be trusted if they work a recovery program.

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adams, PhD talks about the controversy over the term "sex addict" and what sexual addiction really means


Expert Bio

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Kenneth M. Adams, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, is a Licensed Psychologist, the Clinical Director and Founder of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan, as well as a faculty member at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. As previous Clinical Director for the Life Healing Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a residential treatment center for trauma and addiction, Dr Adams created the first inpatient program exclusively for partners of sex addicts. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of child abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, the books Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom, as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. In 2011, Dr Adams received the “Carnes Award” for “outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity”. He is a certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. Dr. Adams is a member of the American Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) as well as an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. For more on Dr Adams visit


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