Magazine article Policy & Practice

Legal Perspectives of "Sexual Addiction"

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Legal Perspectives of "Sexual Addiction"

Article excerpt

Found guilty of transferring obscene material to a minor, disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner's sentencing memorandum begins, "This crime arose from the sad confluence of untreated addiction and profit-seeking curiosity ... whose judgment was clouded by disease."1 The court did not affirmatively address the existence of his "addiction" he labeled a disease.

We are likely to hear the term "addiction" on a daily basis. In its technical sense it refers to someone who, to their detriment, compulsively uses alcohol, nicotine, certain drugs, has an impulse control disorder such as gambling, kleptomania (compulsive stealing), pyromania (compulsive setting of fires), or exhibits other compulsive behaviors. There is considerable dispute in the professional health and mental communities as to whether "sexual addiction" is a bona fide addiction. An Internet search of the terms "sexual addiction" or "sex addiction" yields approximately a half million listings. …

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