Once they're helped to become aware of these meanings, they actually increase their self-compassion and are freer to exercise self-control.
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When addiction is the problem, its whys and wherefores, its psychological origins and meanings, are superfluous.
Unfortunately, it is precisely because of this bias that the success rates of the 12-step treatment approach to sexual compulsions are so poor.
If a seemingly straight man frequents restrooms for casual sex, is he an addict?
How much pornography does someone have to look at, how many hours spent in chat rooms, hookers hired, to go from "hound dog" to "sex addict?
The problem is that in our culture once something becomes viewed as an addiction, any real inquiry about its meaning goes out the window.
No one cares any more why a man spends so much time on the Internet or spends a ton of money seeking out dominatrices.
Whether applied earnestly or as a PR gloss for bad behavior, sex addiction is an increasingly common diagnosis. It's ambiguous, hard to define, blurry around the edges, and an excuse for not thinking.
If a married man has a lot of extramarital sex, is he necessarily a sex addict?
Sexual compulsions are real and they harm the person in their grip as well as others. But why should we care, especially when labeling sexual compulsions as addictions can sometimes have clear benefits.