Is sex addiction a true addiction, a crime, or a made-up condition used by misbehaving VIPs to deflect blame or repair tarnished images?
A tide of high-profile sexual misconduct accusations against celebrities, politicians and media members has raised these questions — and sowed confusion.
Sex addiction is not an officially recognized psychiatric diagnosis, though even those who doubt it’s a true addiction acknowledge that compulsive sexual behavior can upend lives.
Either way, there is an important distinction, sometimes blurred, between a mental condition and a crime.
Some men who have been accused of assault or other sexual crimes have sought treatment for sex addiction or other unspecified conditions.
But compulsive behavior is very different from a crime, and the vast majority of people who suffer from sexually compulsive behavior do not harass or assault others.
There’s “an extremely fine line between addict and offender” and sometimes the two overlap, said psychologist Leah Claire Bennett of Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, a rehab center that offers sex addiction treatment in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Despite pressure from some therapists, sex addiction was not included in the most recent edition of the manual that psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illness.