Is There Such a Thing as Sex Addiction?

Sex addiction is increasingly seen as a mass ailment like alcoholism that requires treatment, especially in the United States. Self-help groups are also starting to form in Germany. Many psychologists, though, see it as a condition invented by conservative moralizers.

By Frank Thadeusz

Photo Gallery: Tried to Make Me Go to RehabCorbis

Crystal Renaud began to masturbate regularly at 10, after finding a porn magazine in her older brother’s room. As Renaud puts it, she spent the next eight years of her life hunting for salacious material on the Internet.

Rescue came in the form of a Christian vacation camp her mother had discovered. "I found Jesus and realized that he was showing me a different way," says Renaud.

The young American, with her pink-streaked hair and black nail polish, is set to become an icon of sorts — in two respects. Her primarily female fans worship Renaud because she’s dared to claim for herself something once reserved for men like former US President Bill Clinton, golf star Tiger Woods and actor Charlie Sheen: the right to be addicted to sex.

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