The travails of golfer Tiger Woods, which psychiatrists are examining, is commonly referred to as sex addiction, a controversial and often misunderstood condition that has most recently garnered news media attention.
Sex addiction is not recognized by any official diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), considered the definitive word on Tiger Woods, reports the Courier Mail.
However, the term 'hyper-sexual disorder' is being proposed for the fifth edition of DSM, due out in 2012.
The proposal is being put forward by Dr Martin Kafka, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in the US, who says the disorder has been neglected for years.
He says it causes everything from marital dysfunction and divorce to increased risk of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
To be diagnosed with the disorder a patient would have to meet four of the following five criteria:
Spending a "great deal of time" consumed by sexual fantasies and urges. Using sexual behavior to deal with stressful life events (or anxiety, depression, boredom or irritability).
Disregarding the "physical and emotional harm" to those involved.
Patients must have tried but failed to curb the behavior.
Patients must have suffered distress and harm to their everyday life.
However, the controversial proposal has critics worrying that the criteria are too vague, and the chances for misdiagnosis and bogus pharmaceutical treatment are too great.
Dr Paul Fedoroff, director of the Sexual Behaviours Clinic at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, is a critic of Kafka's hyper-sexuality criteria.
He questions whether sex in response to stress is unhealthy, and what is meant by "a great deal of time" consumed by sexual fantasies.
But Dr Dan Zucker, of the University of Toronto, who heads a working group dealing with the next edition of DSM, expects "hyper-sexuality disorder" to be listed.
He admits the proposal is controversial but says the issue is about where to draw the line on what is normal, and what is not.