The World Health Organisation (WHO) has
classified compulsive sexual behaviour as mental health condition.
Releasing their updated
list for June, WHO defined compulsive sexual behaviour disorder as a
"persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual
impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behaviour.”
They further add that the disorder is not
about the amount of sexual partners a person has, but rather when someone’s
sexual behaviour becomes a “central focus of the person's life to the point of
neglecting health and personal care or other interests, activities and
Someone can be diagnosed with the disorder
if their behaviour continues for a period of six months or more and causes
distress in their personal lives.
WHO’s classification of compulsive sexual
behaviour has not been without controversy.
According to CNN,
Dr. Timothy Fong, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of
California, disputed the classification, saying, “Some people would say if it
looks like an addiction and smells like an addiction and there are 12-step
groups to help people with the addiction, then it is, but the psychological
community is split into different camps. Some say it is addiction, and some of
those say people just have different libidos.”
However, Dr. Valerie Voon, from the Royal
College of Psychiatrists, told the New
York Post the new classification would take away the shame from sufferers
of the behaviour.
“It is a behaviour that tends to be hidden
as it’s shameful and often sex addicts don’t come forward, she said. “Adding
this to the WHO list is an excellent step for patients as it allows them to
recognize that they are suffering with a problem — it takes it out of the
shadows and they are able to seek help for it.”
WHO, CNN, New York Post