Is sex addiction real? You could be suffering from it without knowing, say expe...

Is there something called sex addiction? Or is it just a smokescreen used by some to escape punishment for their wrongdoings?

Sex experts and psychiatrists concur that sex addiction is a very “real” condition, where no amount of “forcing” the patient to come out of the problem ever works.

Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey checked into a sex addiction rehabilitation facility called The Meadows, Arizona in the first week of November following a slew of allegations that he sexually harassed various men. The monthly cost of getting treated in the facility is $36,000. Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood film producer, who has been accused by over 40 women for sexually assault, is also supposed to be at the same facility.

The Hindustan Times spoke to a few experts in the field who told us what exactly sex addiction is and what needs to be done about the condition.

Dr. Prakash Kothari, Head of the Department of Sexual Medicine at the KEM Hospital, Mumbai, explained what a ‘sex addict’ is defined as.

“Sexual addiction in my opinion is when an individual’s desire becomes uncontrollable, the needs become unquenchable and if the behavior becomes compulsive- that is when you need to treat it. Usually counseling of the individual helps and at the same time family counseling also helps. Behaviour modification needs to take place and the client needs to get interested in some other things such as long walks, where he can divert his attention. For example, if he is addicted to watching pornographic movies, he should probably keep the television in the drawing room. That reduces the chances of over indulging in adult movies.”

“If necessary some medications can be of help if there is an evidence of personality disorder. At the KEM Hospital, which has the only department on sexual medicine in the country, I have seen more than 50,000 cases so far dealing with some form of sexual dysfunction, where addiction has also been a part.”

Dr. Kothari also spoke about how the condition of sexual addiction can be treated. “If the individual wants to get treated instinctively then the prognosis is very good. But if the family wants he should be treated and he is not keen, then the prognosis may be guarded. If you can catch them in the beginning and help them to focus their attention in several other activities, then usually they can be helped.”

But is there any particular reason for this afflicting certain people? “As to why this happens to some people, I would say it’s a personality disorder, by and large genetic code plays a major role. Everyone sees pornographic films, but it needs to be treated when it affects your personal and professional life. If there is a will there is a way, whether it be simple or difficult,” added Dr. Kothari.

The author of Sex Is Not A Four Letter Word, Dr. Sudhakar Krishnamurti is a sexual medicine expert and director of the Andromeda Andrology Center, Hyderabad. He spoke about the nature of the condition.

“There is no big deal whatsoever about sex addiction. It’s like a guy who chooses his booze or has tobacco. So if a person is addicted to the female or male genitalia that is their kink. Most of these people have an overwhelming need to do so; because that’s the way they get their kicks. It’s for the same reason why an alcoholic cannot give up his booze.”

“But the person would only improve if he himself wants to improve. Unless you catch him doing something punishable under the law of the land, and even then these people are known to serve short terms and come back to society and resume the pattern again.”

“There are many who come out of these habits. They realize that they are making their parents miserable and that it is affecting their work and so they mend their ways. But then there are those who don’t want to improve.”

Dr. Krishnamurthi also pointed out that there is no particular reason that can be attributed to the syndrome.

“Some experts also say that something has happened in their childhood which has set something off but evidence for this is sort of wishy- washy. This happens in some cases but not in all. There are some perfectly normal people who go and do freaky things,” he said.

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