Ozzy Osbourne has now been added to the growing list of celebrities suffering from sex addiction.
As a therapist working with sex addicts and their partners, sex addiction is undoubtedly an addiction that devastates like any other.
Many people rightfully confuse sex addiction with someone who really loves sex and/or has a lot of it. However this is wrong. Addictive behaviour is seen when someone behaves in ways where they feel out of control and they keep doing it in spite of the negative consequences it brings to their life.
Addiction is a reality whether or not you are famous. We have seen addiction destroy the lives of artists that we have admired the most. We have also seen celebrities use the word addiction as an excuse to justify their problematic behavior.
So is Ozzy Osbourne truly a sex addict? Or is he falling into what I like to call the addiction du jour?
‘Addiction du Jour’ is a term I’ve created for the latest behaviours that people love to do but coin as addictive when they may not be. Recent addictions ‘du jour’ include watching Netflix, playing PokeMon Go and being on Snapchat.
Addictions du jour often take recent product offerings from companies that like to keep up distracted. They set us up with the potential to indulge; and indulge we do. Similar to a soup du jour, addictions du jour are trending, always changing and it becomes ‘the thing’ to experience.
For those who see themselves as highly sexual or who are having relationship problems connected to their sexuality, the term sex addict is getting thrown loosely around in media and in everyday conversation. It’s become trendy to be a sex addict.
Unless one is a part of Ozzy Osbourne’s therapy team, it’s impossible to comment on whether or not he is truly sex addicted. In any case, it’s crucial that we use the correct terms to describe the problem facing the individual. In this case, if sex addiction is the cover up for infidelity, that sends a dangerous and problematic message.
Celebrities who have publicized addictions can provide a sobering reminder that those who we think “have it all” still struggle with internal demons and compulsive behavior. At best, celebrities with addictions can normalize addiction for people who have deep shame about their condition. However the risk is when we label reckless behavior as addictive when it really isn’t.
There is a fine line between misuse and addiction. When we misuse, we can spend more time than we want doing something. This can result in neglecting obligations and compromising our health. However with misuse, we can recognize that something needs to change in the way we are behaving. In addiction, our behavior becomes compulsive. Efforts to stop what we’re doing feel futile. Worst of all, the addictive behavior continues in spite of the negative consequences it brings.
It’s crucial for sex addiction to be properly diagnosed in order for people to get the help they need.
PATHOS: A Brief Screening Tool for Sex Addiction
A quick way to screen specifically for sex addiction is a tool called the PATHOS developed by Patrick Carnes. This uses 6 questions to screen potential sex addiction:
- Preoccupied – Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
- Ashamed – Do you hide some of your sexual behavior from others?
- Treatment – Have you ever sought therapy for sexual behavior you did not like?
- Hurt others – Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
- Out of control – Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire?
- Sad – When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards?