Sexual addiction facts
- Sexual addiction is a condition that involves the sufferer becoming excessively preoccupied with thoughts or behaviors that give a desired sexual effect.
- More than 30 million people are thought to suffer from a sexual addiction in the United States alone.
- Paraphilias are disorders that involve the sufferer becoming sexually aroused by objects or actions that are considered less conventional and/or less easily accessible to the sex addict.
- Sexual addictions may be either paraphilic or nonparaphilic. Nonparaphilic addictions are classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as sexual disorder, not otherwise specified.
- No one factor is thought to cause sexual addiction, but there are thought to be biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to the development of these disorders.
- Sex addicts have been described as suffering from a negative pattern of sexual behavior that leads to significant problems or distress.
- As is true with virtually any other mental-health diagnosis, there is no one test that definitively indicates that someone has a sexual addiction. Therefore, health-care practitioners diagnose these disorders by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information to distinguish sexual addiction from medical and other mental-health disorders.
- Many people with a sexual addiction benefit from the support and structure of recovery groups or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). When sexual compulsions become severe, the sufferer may require inpatient treatment or participation in an intensive outpatient treatment program.
- Seroetoninergic (SSRI) antidepressants, antiseizure medications, naltrexone, and medications that decrease male hormones have been found to decrease the compulsive urges and/or impulses associated with sexual addictions for some sufferers.
- The prognosis of sexual addictions depends on a number of factors.
- Prevention of sexual addiction may involve interventions that enhance self-esteem and self-image, addressing emotional problems, educating children about the dangers of excessive internet use, monitoring and limiting computer use, and screening out pornographic sites.
- Sex addiction is associated with a number of potential medical, occupational, legal, social, and emotional complications.
- Research on sexual addiction includes exploring potential risk factors and developing accurate screening and assessment tools for these disorders.
What is sexual addiction, and what are the types of sexual addiction?
As with other dependencies, sexual addiction is a condition that involves the sufferer becoming excessively preoccupied with thoughts or behaviors that give a desired effect. It involves spending an exorbitant amount of time thinking about and/or engaging in sexually addictive behaviors. Examples of sexual addictions may involve easily accessible or less accessible (paraphilic) behaviors. Examples of more easily accessible addictive acts may include having one-night stands or multiple affairs, contacts with prostitutes, viewing pornographic pictures or videos, or excessivemasturbation. The sufferer may engage in behaviors like frequenting chat rooms, engaging in personal ads, or making obscene phone calls.
Statistics show that from about 10% to 17% of college-aged people suffer from a sex addiction at any one time. In the general adult population, the frequency of sexual addiction is thought to be more like 3%, translating to 17 to 37 million people with a sex addiction.
Paraphilias are disorders that involve the sufferer becoming sexually aroused by objects or actions that are considered less conventional or less easily accessible to the addict. Examples of paraphilias include fetishism(arousal by objects or specific body parts), voyeurism (arousal by watching sexual behaviors), exhibitionism (arousal by having others view his or her sexual behaviors) and pedophilia (arousal by sexual contact with children). When paraphilias include the sufferer having obsessions about the object of their desire, they may be considered sexually addicted. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) only refers to nonparaphilic sexual addictions in the category of sexual disorder, not otherwise specified.
Sexually addictive behaviors have been described in modern times for more than a hundred years. During the 19th century, people were described as frenetic masturbators and as having nymphomania, compulsive sexuality, and sexual intoxication. Although nonparaphilic sexual addictions are not yet formally included in the DSM, it was described in 1978 as addictive sexuality.