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Informally Licensed Sex Therapists Capitalizing On Sex-Addiction Craze

In a puzzling new contradiction to stale married life as we know it, therapists have found that many humans enjoy sex.

Lots of it.

New centers and counselors for sex-addiction therapy are popping up this year like the rogue wave of medical-marijuana dispensaries in 2009. The Los Angeles Times is calling the growth of the trend "exponential."

Celebrity victims of this evolutionary phenomenon include David Duchovny (whose life apparently mirrors his role on "Californication"), Russell Brand and, most infamously, trashy-ho lover (and part-time golfer) Tiger Woods.

Following in the footsteps of the tabloid giants, commonfolk everywhere are now declaring their own primal urges the stuff of formal medicine:

"It is absolutely consumer-driven," a founding doctor of the Westside's own Sexual Recovery Center told the Times. "People are saying, 'I don't care what the clinical community says. My husband is out three nights a week, and he just gave me herpes.'"

Much like patients seeking a cure at medicinal-marijuana joints, there are suspicions that "sex addicts" are most likely just normal people trying to justify their vices. Only this time, treatment comes at the steep price of $3,500 a week, minumum. (At least that's the going rate at the Sexual Recovery Center, which was recently bought up by ritzy Malibu drug rehab Elements Behavioral Health).

At the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, or IITAP -- the industry giant in granting sex-therapist "diplomas" -- certifications have doubled to about 900 since 2007, a rate that's still on the incline. After four five-day training sessions, therapists are good to go.

IITAP Vice President Tami Verhelst told the Weekly (and the naysayers) that the proof is in the brain scan: According to research conducted by Dr. Patrick Carnes since the 1970s, a sex addict's brain lights up in the same places as someone addicted to, let's say, cocaine.

"When you're masturbating to the point where you end up in the emergency room, there's enough pain in that to call it a problem," Verhelst said.

Cynics point out that sex addiction is not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the American Psychiatric Assocation's official database of brain problems). But Verhelst compared the medical community's resistance to declaring sex addiction a formal disease to a long and similar fight for alcoholism and gambling addiction.

She added that now, because of the Internet, the problem is spreading to new age groups.

"Another area that's exploding is kids -- they're looking at porn online and sexting," she said. Then there are the seniors: 75-year-olds whose grandchildren catch them with porn and send them to rehab, according to Verhelst.

Wanna know if you're an addict? Of course you do. Take the test at www.sexhelp.com. But be prepared for some tough questions, a la:

Informally Licensed Sex Therapists Capitalizing On Sex-Addiction Craze
www.sexhelp.com