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Sex: Are Addiction and Obsession Different?

by Thilaka Ravi on  April 28, 2008 at 6:16 PM Sexual Health News   - G J E 4
Sex: Are Addiction and Obsession Different?
Lord Irvine Laidlaw's admission to regular splashes on kinky, drug-fuelled orgies with £3,000-a-night prostitutes behind his wife's back after a tabloid newspaper revealed the sordid details, is the latest in the line of the rich and famous who have admitted to this compulsion.
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Confessing to the label "sex addict" may add star value with a young audience for celebrities such as pop stars and budding film actors.

What comes as a surprise is that Lord Irvine Laidlaw is Scotland's fourth-richest man; a 64-year-old married lord and a significant donor to the Conservative Party.

Lord Laidlaw's admission to sex exploits has added him to the list of celebrities such as Russell Brand, Michael Douglas and Ulrika Jonsson who have admitted to the condition and sought therapy for sex addiction.

Sex addiction as a concept is relatively recent.  A conference in California in 2000 had psychologists warning that the Internet was "revolutionizing sexuality".

Pauline Brown, a sexual and relationship psychotherapist in Glasgow said that sex addiction is recognized as an addiction to sexual activity that becomes compulsive and takes over lives over a period of time. She observed that there was an increase in referrals to her practice last year by five or six new male patients each month.

Brown said: "The internet has made this more common. There's an accessibility that has opened up a massive opportunity on so many levels. I see patients that start out with access to porn, then chat rooms, then meeting people from chat rooms, then moving on to using sex workers."

"This is a serious condition that can cause a lot of pain. For Michael Douglas or Russell Brand it's almost seen as kudos. It's usually high-achieving, bright, intelligent men, so for some it begins as a relief for stress, and then becomes a prison because it takes over. Most of the people I meet are in relationship, "she added.

Like Alcoholics Anonymous, there are now regular meetings of Sex Addicts Anonymous, complete with a 12-step program, in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, with more than a dozen therapists in Scotland who offer help and advice.

According to Ms Brown, sex addiction doesn't go away, even after an average of six to eight months of treatment.

Phillip Hodson, a fellow of the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy, who does not agree that sex addiction is a medical condition said, people don't always fit into a "neat diagnosis".

Hodson says, "If we say people are addicted, we do a disservice to people who have problems with alcohol and tobacco and class-A drugs. I'm more likely to talk about depression and obsession. We ought to reserve the word addiction for introducing foreign substances to the body."

Writing a letter to the paper Lord Laidlaw admitted the allegations and said he "should have been stronger resisting temptations". He wrote,  "I have been fighting sexual addiction for my whole adult life. But having an addiction is no excuse for my behavior. I have been in therapy a number of times. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. With Christine's support and encouragement, I am seeking long-term expert help, not to cure me, but to prevent any relapse into unacceptable behaviors. I am also planning to make a £1 million donation to a UK addiction charity to help others in similar circumstances fight their addiction."

Source: Medindia
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Sexual addiction is a serious problem, but, to my mind, more serious problem nowadays is children’s Internet addiction. For example, I have to limit my son's time spent online by using so-called internet filtering software . With the help of this easy-to-use tool I can block Internet browsers, e-mails, ftps or messengers according to my daily schedule and now I am relieved.
Sam Wanger Thursday, January 22, 2009
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