‘Addicted’ follows the story of a married woman who had a sexual addiction problem.
This is not the first time I had seen a movie addressing sexual addiction as a disease. I remember the first time I saw a similar movie; I was somewhat infuriated, yet curious on what exactly make people lose all inhibitions. My discoveries were not shocking, as there are still ongoing debates about the classification of sex addiction as a medical condition. In a society where sex is relatively cheap and almost free, it would not be surprising to see that a lot of people are struggling with this ‘condition’.
Psych Central defines sexual addiction or hyper sexuality as a dysfunctional preoccupation with sexual fantasy, often in combination with the obsessive pursuit of casual or non-intimate sex; pornography; compulsive masturbation; and objectified sexual partner sex for at least six months. By definition, this self-destructive pattern will continue despite attempts made to self-correct the behaviour, promises made to self and others to make a change and it often breeds negative consequences in life and relationships.
Sexual addiction can also be viewed as a coping mechanism against depression or anxiety, or a dysfunctional response to character deficit, low self-esteem, as well as a reaction to sexual abuse and trauma. (Ps: If you have survived any form of abuse, (especially sexual abuse) seek therapy or talk to people about it. Don’t bury the memory). The difference between an addict and a recovering addict is that one hides his/her behaviour, while the other can’t stop talking about it. Self-revelation is an important part of recovery but it can be quite uncomfortable for people to identify as a sex addict.
Although there are no current ‘medical’ diagnoses for sexual addiction, doctors and researchers have tried to define this disorder using a selected criteria in literature on chemical dependency. Some sex addiction behaviours according to MNT Knowledge Center may include:
Multiple affairs, this includes extra marital affairs
Multiple sexual partners
Persistent use of pornography
Practicing unsafe sex
Dating in an obsessive way
Watching others in a sexual way (voyeurism)
Detachment – the sexual activity does not satisfy the individual sexually or emotionally.
Feelings of guilt and shame
Feeling of lack of control over the sexual addiction, even though he/she is aware of the financial, health, or social consequences.
These individuals may have a recurrent failure pattern to resist impulses to engage in extreme acts of lustful sex or may find themselves often engaging in sexual behaviour for much longer than they had intended.
When it comes to sexual addiction, the line between morality and disease is quite blurry. I also struggle to understand why someone would gamble with everything in their lives on the altar of sex (i.e Tiger Woods Saga). My A-level biology teacher once mentioned something about the transference of ‘bad genes’ from parents to offsprings e.g. murder, and theft. You may choose to argue that the same can be explained for infidelity.
At the end of the movie ‘Addicted’, I had several questions in my head such as: Is sexual addiction disease real or an invented phenomena? Where do we draw the morality line on how much sex is normal? Does a promiscuous spouse deserve mercy on the grounds of sexual addiction? How do we explain certain behaviours like sex with multiple partners, prostitutes, or one-night stands?
I am not an advocate of pre-marital sex for a host of personal reasons but I would love to hear from those with stories to share maybe we can solve this puzzle together, or perhaps you can share your wisdom to help those struggling their way out of this dark hole.
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