Is Sex Addiction Real?

All across the Internet, headlines are hollering: “David Duchovny: SEX ADDICT!” According to Duchovny’s camp, the actor checked himself into rehab for sex addiction this week. Some say the shocker is nothing more than a publicity stunt, designed to promote the September 28th premiere of the second season of Showtime’s “Californication,” in which he stars as a writer with a problem keeping his penis in his pants. But considering Duchovny is married to actress Téa Leoni and the father of two, it’s unlikely even a Hollywood actor looking for a ratings boost would go that far.

While no one knows for sure what Duchovny’s issues with sex are, the story begs the question: Is sex addiction even real? According to Dr. Marty Klein, a marriage and sex therapist, sex addiction is a myth. As Klein sees it, so-called sexual addiction is merely a symptom of deeper psychological issues, and the term is a “destructive and irresponsible” misnomer. “That’s because there is no such thing,” he writes. “Virtually no one in the field of sexology believes in the concept of ‘sex addiction.'” He adds: “The concept of ‘sex addiction’ is a set of moral beliefs disguised as science.”

Sex and relationship psychologist Dr. Petra Boynton couldn’t agree more. As an experiment, Boynton took an online diagnostic test to find out if she fit the profile of a sex addict. Sure enough, she was. In her point-of-view, diagnosis is a slippery slope, in no small part because human sexuality is difficult to categorize. “Now if you’re answering a survey entitled ‘sex addiction’ you’re probably half way to thinking you’re not normal. But also people have no real idea what is normal in terms of sexual behavior.” In reality, sexual desire exists on a spectrum, and what may be seen as “addictive” behavior in one to may be, well, normal behavior to another.

Whether sex addiction is real or not, the bottom line is whether or not an individual’s sexual behavior is destructive to his/herself or to others. If you have a lot of sex, does that make you a “sex addict”? Not necessarily. If your sex life makes you happy, go for it. (Just don’t forget to be safe when you do it.) And if it doesn’t make you happy, the issues behind why that’s the case may be deeper than just sex.