Proponents of “sex addiction” treatment programs have aggressively promoted a framework for this scientifically-dubious condition in order to help sell their lucrative treatment programs. The most popular materials claim that sex addiction consists of sexual behavior that is S.A.F.E. (Secret, Abusive, used to avoid Feelings, and Empty of emotional connection), but their explanations are riddled with factual misunderstandings and vague, open-ended criteria that lump together fairly common, innocuous behavior into an umbrella pathology. Ultimately, the way even advocates of treating “sex addiction” as a mental health condition are so vague, generalized and poorly supported as to make it very hard to take their case seriously.
- Advocates of sex addiction and its treatment define it as any sexual behavior that is S.A.F.E. — Secret, Abusive, avoids or blocks Feelings and is emotionally Empty.
- Sex Addiction advocates greatly misrepresent the available research on pornography, claiming that people use it more compulsively than they actually do, and that it is more harmful than it actually is
- The range of behaviors cited as “sex addiction” — BDSM, casual sex, LGBT people who aren’t “out” to everyone, etc — is so broad as to pathologies many common and fairly harmless behaviors.
“Part 1 of this series shows that “sex addiction” does not meet standard criteria for real addictions.”