The Sex Addiction Debate Continues

addictionTo those who believe that sexual addictions exist they might say it “is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts”. Those who do not believe it is an addiction believe that instead people have high libidos and desires for sex. Recently, researchers have turned to brain scans to support the claim that hypersexuality is no more than a high libido.

According to a recent article in Medscape:

“Investigators found that brain response to sexual images was associated with the participants’ level of sexual desire and “not in any way” to the severity of their hypersexuality.

Electroencephalography (EEG) measures showed that while viewing these images, a group of men and women who had reported having sexual problems had P300 responses (brain responses 300 milliseconds after each picture appeared) that were higher when sexual desire was high.

However, although the researchers predicted that the P300 responses would also correspond to measures of hypersexuality, there were no related spikes or decreases.

“In other words, hypersexuality does not appear to explain brain responses to sexual images any more than just having a high libido,” senior author Nicole Prause, PhD, assistant research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Medscape Medical News.”

In American media sexual addictions are often portrayed through acts of cheating, multiple partners and the inability to be in a monogamous relationship due to sexual compulsions. What about those people who commit sexually based crimes? Are they not addicted in some way? For a behavior to be considered an addiction it has to continue in spite of physical, emotional, financial, health and personal consequences (including the loss of relationships and employment). When taking that into consideration it’s hard to believe that sexual addictions do not exist when “roughly 55 percent of convicted sex offenders can be considered sex addicts” and “about 71 percent of child molesters are sex addicts. For many, their problems are so severe that imprisonment is the only way to ensure society’s safety against them”. Convicted sex offenders, who are considered to be sex offenders, continue to engage in their addictive behaviors regardless of the extreme consequences they face.

When you look at the statistics, it’s hard to argue that these behaviors are not addictions in some way. Due to the media attention the concept of sexual addiction has received in the past few years, society has become more open to the idea of sex addiction and the treatment of it. The most recent version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, (Volume Five) omitted “Hypersexual Behavior Disorder” from its revision. Some therapists believe that it has more to do with two specific things. One being that without formal diagnostic criteria, therapist can engage in methods that exacerbates the problematic effects of compulsive sexual behaviors instead of improving it. Or insurance companies, making proper treatment inaccessible to many individuals, will not reimburse treatment for sexually compulsive behaviors

If you or a loved one is in need of addiction treatment, we can help. Please contact FHE Health at 844-299-0618.


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