WOMEN
05/24/2013 10:49 am ET Updated Jul 24, 2013

Too Much Or Too Little: DSM-V's Gray Area On Sex Addiction

This week, with the release of the DSM-V, the latest edition of the psychiatric bible that defines and diagnoses mental-health disorders, experts thought we'd finally get some answers about who's just on the extreme end of the horny spectrum and who's got an actual clinical problem. The term "sexual addiction" first showed up in the DSM-III in 1980, but was removed in the 1994 edition owing to lack of research. Now it's back, but only mentioned in passing. The DSM-V doesn't contain diagnostic criteria or treatment suggestions for sex addiction. In a professional manual that's already controversial, the sex sections are subject to extra debate. In an overview of the DSM-V changes, the American Psychiatric Association offers a caveat to the section on sexual disorders: "Research suggests that sexual response is not always a linear, uniform process and that the distinction between certain phases (e.g., desire and arousal) may be artificial." In other words: Even though you're reading a book that's designed to categorize and establish criteria for sexual disorders, aspects of sexuality don't lend themselves to categorization. Okay, then.

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