As of June 2018, the World Health Organization, WHO, has recognized and listed “compulsive sexual behavior disorder” as a mental health disorder. There have been many people labeling compulsive sexual behavior disorder, CBSD, as sex addiction, stating that they are the same thing. But addiction is not the correct term for the disorder, with WHO not labeling or putting the mental disorder in the addiction category. This debate has been going on for years between experts. Nevertheless, the disorder is now labeled as a mental health disorder, with the ambition to seek more research.
In the update of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), WHO said CSBD was “characterised by persistent failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges that cause marked distress or impairment.” Researchers and doctors have long argued to separate the difference between compulsive sexual behavior disorder and sex addiction. “‘Sex addiction’ and ‘sex compulsivity’ are completely different issues,” says Nicole Prause, a neuroscientist who specializes in sexual behavior and addiction. “Addiction and compulsion manifest differently in the brain, have different patterns of behavior, and have different treatments.”
Compulsive sexual behavior disorder can lead to potential serious consequences if it is left untreated. These people will engage in sexual acts or fantasies without caring about the consequences. Whether that means hurting or even losing their family or job, racking up debt from buying porn or sexual services, or contracting an STD. People with this mental health disorder have tried to control the urge of sexual fantasies or behavior. They often have trouble maintaining or establishing stable and healthy relationships, and use sex to escape problems.
Hopeful for Research
It is unclear how people with compulsive sexual behavior disorder suffer. Doctors are hoping with this new classification as a mental disorder will spark research on it. There are hopes that this break through will bring on finding what the best treatments are, because for now it seems that psychotherapy is the go to. In psychotherapy, doctors can try to find the underlying cause of why people with CBSD conduct the sex acts, and try treat it better.
Some concerns have come about that labeling compulsive behavior disorder will give those who rape or sexually abuse someone an excuse to do it. But as WHO expert Geoffrey Reed stated, “it doesn’t excuse sexual abuse or raping someone any more than being an alcoholic excuses you from driving a car when you are drunk. You have still made a decision to act.”
Sexuality is a part of being human, and for those who suffer with this mental disorder should not be shamed for seeking out sexual fantasies or desires. It is crucial to know the difference of when it is acceptable and when it is not. This acknowledgement of CSBD will anticipate more research on it and it’s treatment to help support and guide the sexuality of those suffering from the disorder.