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- Sexual addiction facts
- What is sexual addiction, and what are the types of sexual addiction?
- What are causes and risk factors for sexual addiction?
- What are sexual addiction symptoms and signs?
- How is sexual addiction diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for sexual addiction?
- What is the prognosis of sexual addiction?
- Can sexual addiction be prevented?
- What are complications of sexual addiction?
- Are support groups available for sex addicts?
- What research is being done on sexual addiction?
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 excessive masturbation. The sufferer may engage in behaviors like frequenting chat rooms, engaging in personal ads, or making obscene phone calls.
Statistics show that a small percentage of college-aged people suffer from a sex addiction at any one time. In the general adult population, about 12 million people are thought to have 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.