Back off Anthony Weiner: Does he have compulsive sexual disorder?

Weiner should seek treatment for a potential case of compulsive sexual disorder as described here. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2013 — There has been a lot of ribbing, accusations and office water-fountain talk about Anthony Weiner and those with similar behavior, but there is likely an underlying reason for Wieners behavior: Compulsive sexual disorder (CSD).

The reason Weiner is so heavily picked on is he does not seek treatment, denied culpability and responsibility for his behavior and when he was forced to acknowledge it, he kept it up. However, without treatment, unchanged behavior is not unusual.


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Often called hypersexual disorder, sexual addiction, and the old derisive term nymphomania, the disorder is defined as an obsession that involves fantasy or sexual behaviors out-of-bounds with normal accepted behavior. It may affect your job, marriage, health, self-esteem and other relationships.

The Mayo Clinic states the extreme of CSD is called “paraphilia,” such as pedophilia or the desire for sex with children, agoraphilia or desire for sex in public places, and cross-dressing.

Signs someone is experiencing CSD may include:

  • Sexual impulses are intense and beyond control.
  • Dissatisfied with the experiences you thought you desire.
  • Risky sexual behaviors that may bring about legal, marital, health and job issues.
  • Using your sexual disorder to escape from your reality, which may include loneliness, stress and its sister, anxiety.
  • Issues with closeness even if in a relationship such as marriage.
  • Inability to control impulse and resulting harm may lead to thoughts of suicide.
  • A comorbidity, or other disorder, such as bi-polarism.

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Complications arising from CSD can range from overwhelming guilt, depression, ruining meaningful relationships, overwhelming debt from phone sex or massage services, sexually transmitted disease, legal issues, risking your job or if female, unwanted pregnancy.

Behaviors associated with CSD may also include: multiple partners, extra-marital affairs, no emotional sexual involvement, excessive masturbation, exhibitionism, compulsive porn site visitations and obsessive fixations.

Causes for CSD can be from conditions that affect the brain such as various diseases, excessive sexual hormone levels with androgens although the role of androgens is unclear, an imbalance of brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Unfortunately, permanent changes in brain neural circuits can happen if the behavior continues unchecked, and if unchecked over time, the degree of unpleasant feelings by not engaging in compulsive sexual behavior may be extremely difficult to overcome.


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This disorder is not to be confused with Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) which recently caused a Florida woman to commit suicide from severe depression after repeated failed attempts for successful treatment. This phenomenon was, and for many clinicians still is, considered psychosomatic or “in the mind,” but new science points to somatic or physical issues.

These are serious matters with serious consequences and need attention from a mental health care professional, as depression can overwhelm people suffering from sexual dysfunctions.

Anthony Weiner should consult a professional mental health specialist, publically admit he has issues that need attention and ask his constituency to forgive and work with him as he works to deal with his potential CSD.

He may remind people to understand none of us are perfect, accept responsibility, and display maturity by addressing his compulsion then move forward. Until then, he makes himself fair game.

Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association of Psychological Science.


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