Can sex be an addiction?

Resources used to support "yes"

A sex addict is a man or a woman whose sexual behavior (use of pornography, masturbation, fantasy, sexual and/or emotional affairs, humiliating and demanding sexual behavior) is harmful to their finances, intimate relationships, careers, self esteem and p robably that of the partner as well." Some people use sex as a coping mecanism for their personal problems. There are three reasons why people become sexually addicted, they are biological, psychological, and spiritual. The three building blocks of sex addiction are 1) se xual fantasy, 2) pornography, and 3) masturbation. Studies have linked a deficit in the neurochemistry of the limbic system in those patients that have been diagnosed as sexually addicted. Apparently these patients have sex to restore the dopamine level s in their bodies. Sex addiction can be recovered from by learning about the addiction and by attending the 12 step recovery program.


Journal Articles

  • Butts,J.D. (1992). The Relationship Between Sexual Addiction and Sexual Dysfunction. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 3, (1), 128-135.
    "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III. Revised(DSM III-R) recognizes the compulsive, addictive quality of certain sexual behaviors, as oppsed to the impaired state associated with otherwise 'normal' sexual dysfunct ions." Found that those addicted to sex often develop sexual dysfunctions.
  • Groneman,C. (1995). Nymphomania and the Freudians. Psychohistory Review, 23, (2), 125-141.
    Discusses the development of theories of nymphomania. Contrasts these theories with the Freudian view of sexuality as lodged in the brain versus in the body.
  • Groneman,C. (1994). Nymphomania: The Historical Construction of Female Sexuality. Signs, 19, (2), 337-367.
    " Examines the medical history of nymphomania in relation to the tensions and contradictions inherent in 19th century assumptions about female sexuality."
  • Schneider,J.P.; Schneider,B.H. (1990). Marital Satisfaction During Recovery from Self-Identified Sexual Addiction Among Bisexual Men & Their Wives. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 16, (4), 230-250.
    Study which analyzed to investigate the effect of the label "sexual addict" on the marital adjustment of bisexual married men.
  • Sunderwirth,S.G.: Milkman,H. (1991). Behavioral and Neurochemical Commonalities in Addiction. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 13, (5), 421-433.
    Article which states that, "certain individuals whose genetic or enviromental situation creates a deficit of dopamine in the reward system are prone to anxiety, craving, and general lack of feelings of well being. In order to satiate these feelings they may engage in activities that temporarily restore dopamine transmission."


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