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The value of an ongoing debate.



As I was researching this column, I came across a SIECUS SIECUS Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States  Report from almost two decades ago. In 1986, SIECUS devoted an issue of this journal to the topic of sexual addiction sexual addiction Sex compulsion Sexology Compulsive and ritualized sexuoerotic hyperactivity, generally under specific sexuoerotic conditions and stimuli. See Sexaholics Anonymous.  and compulsion. The issue focused on the ongoing debate and featured different views from leaders in the field, including Eli Coleman Eli Coleman, Ph.D., L.P. is the director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and the chair of the World Professional Association for Transgender  and Patrick Carnes Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., currently the Executive Director of the Gentle Path program at Pine Grove Behavioral Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is the primary architect of Gentle Path treatment programs for the treatment of sexual and addictive disorders. .

Writing this nearly 20 years later, I would love to tell you that the debate has been resolved. In my ideal world, years of well-funded, scientific research would have helped professionals in the fields of sexology sexology /sex·ol·o·gy/ (sek-sol´ah-je) the scientific study of sex and sexual relations.

sex·ol·o·gy
n.
The study of human sexual behavior.
, sex therapy, and medicine come to mutually agreeable conclusions about compulsive sexual behavior sexual behavior A person's sexual practices–ie, whether he/she engages in heterosexual or homosexual activity. See Sex life, Sexual life. , including terminology, causes, and, most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially
, treatments.

Instead, I present you with an issue dedicated to the debate surrounding sexual addiction and compulsive sexual behavior, featuring different views on the topic from Eli Coleman and Patrick Carnes, as well as other leaders in the field such as Marty Klein Dr. Marty Klein is an American marriage counselor and sex therapist. His stated goals are to educate the public about sexuality, empower individuals through teaching them to feel sexually adequate & powerful, and to support healthy sexual expression and exploration by both sexes.  and Dennis Sugrue.

THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCOURSE AND DEBATE

This is not to say that we have made no progress in the intervening years. To the contrary, in reading these articles it has become clear to me that the last two decades have provided us with new research, additional clinical experience, fresh ideas, and a more informed and refined debate.

In fact, I am excited to share this issue with readers precisely because the topic remains unresolved. SIECUS has always been a strong believer in discourse, debate, and discussion. Regardless of the topic, it is only through open and honest debate that we move forward. Debates such as this force us to think critically, evaluate the positions we have held, examine the viewpoints of others, and ultimately clarify our own beliefs. I am pleased that the SIECUS Report can be the forum for this kind of intellectual pursuit.

However, there is another important reason that we chose to revisit re·vis·it  
tr.v. re·vis·it·ed, re·vis·it·ing, re·vis·its
To visit again.

n.
A second or repeated visit.



re
 this topic after so many years: people.

COMPASSION FOR INDIVIDUALS

While much of this debate, and most of the articles you will read, focus on theories, we need to remember that in the end this topic is about individuals. Specifically, it is about individuals whose sexual behavior is not hurting anyone else but has become problematic for them.

As professionals, we walk a fine line. On the one hand, we need to avoid labeling people or sexual behaviors as problematic simply because they differ from our personal values or accepted definitions of "normal."

SIECUS believes that responsible sexual relationships are consensual, nonexploitative, honest, pleasurable, and protected against unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases Sexually transmitted diseases

Infections that are acquired and transmitted by sexual contact. Although virtually any infection may be transmitted during intimate contact, the term sexually transmitted disease is restricted to conditions that are largely
. Given these parameters, all adults have the right to make their own decisions about their sexual behavior. It is not our role as professionals to judge how much sexual activity is "too much."

At the same time, we need to recognize that there are people whose sexual behavior has become obsessive, compulsive, or excessive to the point that it is causing them distress and interfering with their lives. We need to ensure that these people receive our compassion and our help.

I think that it is important that this debate continues to evolve through research, clinical practice, and discourse. In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile
, we need to ensure that we continue to use all available resources and theories to help those people for whom this has become an issue.

A BITTERSWEET bittersweet, name for two unrelated plants, belonging to different families, both fall-fruiting woody vines sometimes cultivated for their decorative scarlet berries.  GOODBYE

As you will learn from his column, this marks the last issue for SIECUS' long-time editor Mac Edwards. After nearly eight years in this position, Mac has decided to retire to Florida with his partner and take up entirely different pursuits. He has discussed working with flowers or brushing up on his French so that he can begin to teach the language to others.

Mac recently realized that in his time here he had edited 48 issues of the SIECUS Report, totaling way over 1,000 pages. In addition to this journal, Mac was involved in every publication SIECUS produced in recent years, from annual reports and newsletters to policy pamphlets and education manuals. No matter how good the first draft was, Mac always made the final product that much better.

Mac's work at SIECUS will continue to have an impact even as he moves on. We will miss him terribly but wish him the best of luck and are excited to see what he does next.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:From The President
Author:Kreinin, Tamara
Publication:SIECUS Report
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:723
Previous Article:Taking off to explore life's possibilities.
Next Article:Giving problematic sexual behavior the serious attention it requires.



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