Journal of Addictive Behaviors,Therapy & RehabilitationISSN: 2324-9005

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Shame and Sex Addiction: Through A Cinematic Lens

Shame and Sex Addiction: Through A Cinematic Lens

Sex addiction has been a topic of debate. With the new DSM-V (2013) category of Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders that now includes gambling disorder, other excessive behaviors including sex are poised to capture increasing attention. Depiction and clinical case studies of the progression and features of sex addiction are limited in the research literature due to ethics of confidentiality and the taboo nature of the topic. This article puts a human face to the question of sex addiction through the use of cinema as a ‘cultural text’ with the film Shame (2011). A framework for addiction comprising of the 3C’s: (1) craving; (2) loss of control; and (3) negative consequences, is used to analyze the protagonist’s behavior. Parallels to alcohol and gambling disorders are drawn. Momentous shifts in society’s sexual environment and norms that currently re-shape sexual behaviors are highlighted. The article points to avenues of research and its urgency to society and its individuals. Clear neurobiological and behavioral markers to define sex addiction can reduce shame and alleviate the suffering of those afflicted through appropriate treatment. A fortified understanding of sex addiction has significant individual, family and social implications.

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