September 01, ; Accepted Date: January 27, ; Published Date: January 30, Citation: J Forensic Res 8: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The problem is that the experts in the field of sexual addiction have promulgated these misperceptions and misdiagnoses. The wealthy and famous appear to have mental health field in their pocket to use as a get-out-of-jail-free card, to have an excuse for having engaged in affairs or promiscuity or the use of prostitutes. Sexual addiction was defined similarly to how the DSM-5 has defined substance use disorders.
Following those diagnostic criteria, as well as how Carnes et al. They do appear however to meet the criteria for infidelity, cheating, sense of entitlement, and promiscuity.
And what about sexual offenders who claim to be sexual addicts? They may or may not have a sexual addition however they are also sexual offenders. On the other hand, some of these cheaters actually use the exposure of their sexual affairs to justify ending a marriage and continuing a relationship with the person they were cheating with. And of course there is the impact on the children as well as on the public who feel betrayed. I will use the terms partner and spouse interchangeably as well.
Studies have found that far more men than women engage in extramarital affairs and those men tend to have many affairs versus only one when they do cheat [ 1 - 4 ]. Men have also been found to express a greater interest in sexual infidelity [ 5 , 6 ].
However some studies indicate that the differences between females and males that engage in extramarital affairs may be closer to equal and at least one study indicated that for men and women under age forty there is no difference in the occurrence of the affair [ 1 , 4 , 7 , 8 ].
The higher the salary, the more power and control the cheating spouse would have. Also, the authors of the above study found that the rates of engaging in extra marital sexual affairs was higher when the cheater was the wage earner and their spouse was not working. Perhaps some of the spouses were aware that something was not right and that their spouse was cheating.
For many reasons e. And of course the cheaters usually apologize and swear that they love their partners or spouses and that the affairs will end. But the affairs do not end and the cheater generally continues to engage in the same behavior even after being caught. What is Sexual Addiction? According to Carnes et al. Eventually the individual or addict as Carnes would label the person progresses to retreating further and further from reality, distancing themselves from family, friends, and work.
The addiction cycle would involve four stages: The sexual addict can have periods of time without acting out, though the acting out becomes much more compulsive. But the addict experiences distress concerning the sexual acting out e.
In some ways the risk of the sexual act creates a thrill that can be in and of itself desired and addictive. The true sexual addict experiences distress and shame about their sexual acting out and generally desire help.
Sexual addictive behavior may at times appear to fit under the abuse or dependency criteria as applied to sexual addiction. However, the choice of a person to engage in extramarital affairs with one or a handful of women does not appear to meet the criteria for any of the above diagnostic categories.
I challenge mental health providers to stop calling extramarital affairs a sexual addiction. Clearly cheating does not appear to meet the criteria discussed above, unless the cheating occurs with other distressing behavior and distressing thoughts, which does not appear to be the case with cheating.
Since professionals have begun to label and treat celebrities who engaged in extra marital affairs as sexual addicts, it appears that everyone now has a sexual addiction. Lets examine this further: Certainly it can be argued that engaging in frequent use of pornography has some addictive qualities.
Some individuals engage in the use of pornography several times per week and for hours at a time. They may use pornography to alleviate other problems e. The pornography can easily become the aspirin to their problems. In addition, the use of pornography allows for the individual to engage in one-way sexual contact that is, using the pornographic material to masturbate, to fantasize about engaging in sexual contact with others, which may result in a sense of entitlement and an indifference to the needs and wellbeing of sexual partners.
Sex becomes depersonalized and the resulting sexual contacts with others become much more selfish and unemotional [ 11 ]. Using pornography frequently or to address other needs e. In return, the individual is more likely in spend even more time engaged in the use of pornography to the detriment of personal obligations e. Certainly at some point the individual becomes aware that the use of pornography is detrimental, yet they generally continue to use it anyway [ 11 ] However, typically the impact on the marriage, relationship, or financial matters does not become apparent until the problem has manifested itself for quite some time.
And even then it is unclear that the individual experienced any concern for their partner or the relationship. Like pornography, engaging in extramarital affairs can also have addictive qualities.
The power and sense of entitlement that may result from engaging in sexual affairs could be powerfully ecstatic. One affair leads to another, and the emotional distancing begins to occur between the individual and their partner or spouse.
They begin to spend more time with their lovers, more time away from the home, and may spend money on their lovers rather than spend it on their obligations related to their family or primary relationship. However, the cheaters do not appear to experience significant concern or remorse about their behavior, do not appear to care how the affair might impact their spouse or relationship, nor do they appear to experience difficulties related to work, finances, or related legal problems.
In fact, any problems the cheater complains about do not appear a concern until after the affairs are made public, and yet they continue the cheating behavior even after being caught. The paucity of research identifying the difference between sexual addiction per DSM-5 criteria relating to substance related disorders and simply making a conscious choice to engage in extramarital affairs is concerning. Celebrities and politicians are getting caught left and right cheating on their spouses.
What really is the difference between sexual addiction and cheating? The answer appears more clear than cloudy.
Yet he appeared to maintain the public and private image of a faithful and loving spouse. He managed to continue his work as a professional golfer, apparently was a loving father to his children and a loving husband to his wife. As fate would have it, his wife found that he had messages to other women, which lead to the truth becoming public.
However, he was clever and comfortable with his cheating behavior and managed to keep it a secret for quite some time. Not even coming close to any type of addictive behavior, but rather simply a choice. Jesse James cheated on Sandra Bullock. They were married for several years, were in the process of adopting a child, and apparently there were no or few indications of his extramarital exploits.
Yet his caviler attitude was clear when interviewed or caught in public. Had he actually loved and cared for his wife, then cheating would not have occurred. And it does not appear that he engaged in numerous affairs, but rather perhaps one or two. Clearly no addiction here. Senator Mark Sanford from South Carolina was also married for years, had a respectful political job, and apparently gave little or no indication that he was having an affair.
Yet he apparently misused State money and well as personal money to engage in an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. Worse yet, he demonstrated no sense of remorse nor any indication that anything he did with this woman as wrong, this despite his conservative family values.
He continues in this relationship and his wife apparently has filed for divorce. Perhaps even worse yet, the Republican party have not removed him from office nor has the party significantly denounced the act, again, despite the Republican party claiming conservative family values. No sign of any kind of addiction here, simply a choice!
Senator John Edwards, a family man by public reputation, a talented politician, found to have engaged in a lengthy extramarital affair, one that resulted in a child. His marriage is also over and he apparently is continuing in a relationship with that woman.
No addictive behavior here. And most recently, Congressman Weiner was caught sending text messages to women some much younger than he including pictures of himself apparently in his undies and possibly showing his penis. His actions certainly constitute cheating, as he was trolling for women and engaging in sexual acts via texts and pictures. And the unknown is at what point would he engage in direct sexual contact with other women or perhaps he has already physically cheated on his wife.
If we use the same criteria of substance abuse and dependence for sexual addiction, perhaps all of the men mentioned above met some of the criteria mentioned above for sexual addiction. Yet the significant differentiation that does not fit under addiction is that they did not appear to experience any sense that what they were doing was in fact wrong at least not until they were caught!
In addition, they did not appear to have experienced any significant impairment in their marriages, careers, in their roles as parents, no financial impairment, and no legal consequences again, until they were caught! In fact, there is no evidence, at least no public evidence that any of these men were concerned about their unfaithful conduct until they were caught, with the exception of course of hiding the affair, but not concerned about the impact of the infidelity on their marriages.
None expressed sincere remorse, in fact, they were fairly nonchalant and indifferent to the public attention, as if somehow they were the true victims. In addition, despite the rich and famous make their money as a result of public attention or public votes, they appear to have distain for the public that wants the truth and wants answers. Some even continued their affairs and sacrificed their marriages. Perhaps that was the long-range plan.
If they were that comfortable continuing their affairs publically, then perhaps they never intended to cease their affairs. Sexual Addiction Rehab- Dr. Drew saves the world of cheaters! So now along comes Dr. But were these cheaters really sex addicts or simply men who decided to cheat?
Studies suggest that couples experiencing infidelity also tend to present with common relationship problems. Fidelity issues appear to be one of the most difficult relationship problems to treat and jealousy possibly impossible to treat [ 13 - 15 ].
These and other studies suggest that infidelity, that is, cheating, is not a sexual addiction or any type of addiction. Unless of course you are making a lot of money misdiagnosing the problem no names here, but guess. The primary treatment for infidelity is cognitive -behavioral therapy and marital therapy.