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No such thing as sex addiction?

Study finds that a lack of self-control, not a mental disorder, drives hyper-sexual behavior.

By Sally Wadyka Jul 18, 2013 8:53PM
It may sound like a joke tailor-made for late night comedians, but some claim that you really can be addicted to sex. And like any other addiction, it can wreck your relationships and even end your career. In recent years, high profile “offenders” included actor David Duchovny, golfer Tiger Woods and former New York governor Eliot Spitzer. (Although for celebrities, it seems that getting treated for a so-called sex addiction may actually provide a career boost, not bust.)As these lurid tales of men (and sometimes women) who can’t keep it in their pants get made public, they inevitably reignite the debate over whether sexual addiction is an actual mental disorder -- or just a lack of self control. The team that put together the recently updated DSM-5 (the manual that lists and describes all psychiatric disorders) did not include sex addiction. And a new study by researchers at UCLA 
seems to back up that decision.

The study involved 52 people, including 39 men and 13 women, ages 18 to 39, all of whom self-identified as having problems controlling their viewing of sexual images. The volunteers were shown a set of photographs chosen by the researchers to evoke either pleasant or unpleasant feelings. The images ranged from gruesome shots of dismembered bodies to romantic sexual encounters and explicit sex acts. While the volunteers viewed the photos, they were hooked up to EEGs that measured brain activity so that the researchers could check out their brain responses to various images. The volunteers also filled out a series of four questionnaires about their sexual behaviors, sexual desires, sexual compulsions and possible negative outcomes of their sexual behaviors.

They expected that people who were hypersexual (in other words, truly “addicted” to looking at sexual images) would register less reaction (presumably because they are more habituated to seeing such things), while those who simply had high libidos would have their brains light up while viewing sexy shots. But the research proved otherwise.

 “The brain’s response to sexual pictures was not predicted by any of the three questionnaire measures of hypersexuality,” said Nicole Prause, senior author of the study. “Hypersexuality does not appear to explain brain responses to sexual images any more than just having a high libido.”

If this study’s findings are replicated and validated, it could officially disprove the notion that someone could be literally addicted to sex. And the poor celebrities and politicians who can’t control their urges will no longer be able to claim that sex addition made them do it. But how will they rehab their images without having an excuse to go to rehab?

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Jul 18, 2013 10:04PM
Damn, all this talk about sex  I can't wait for my wife to get home :-)
Jul 18, 2013 9:55PM
If you need a lot of something -- anything -- and can't get along without it then we might as well call it an addiction...  Anyone who cares to argue about this is simply addicted to sophistry.
Jul 18, 2013 9:54PM
It used to be these people were called sex maniacs.  Now with a new name, I guess they can go on disability.
Jul 18, 2013 9:55PM
Hi, my name is John, and I am addicted to sex.
Jul 18, 2013 10:10PM
Sex is an innate part of human behavior .  It is necessary  the human body cannot exist in good health with out it.  No addiction necessary.
Jul 18, 2013 10:34PM

Just like every other creature in nature we are born into this world for one purpose only and that is to reproduce and perpetuate the species.  When we begin to experience overpopulation and shortages of life's necessities the reproductive urge is diminished just as it is in the rest of the animal kingdom.  A doe, for instance, won't stand for a stag if their is insufficient forage for a young fawn.


As it happens though some creatures among us have a stronger reproductive urge and that is what I suspect causes this supposed addiction to be reported.  As we grow older and less able to live long enough to properly raise young the female of our species passes through menopause and becomes infertile while men slowly lose their desire to mate and it is thought that their sperm become less mobile and effective.


Simply put sex is why we are born and anything else that we do in between copulation sessions is just fluff.  Some of us become politicians and others celebrities while the majority of us are just work-a-day stiffs trying to make a living.  The concept of monogamy was born out of the desire to preserve estates and wealth within the family.  That is why so many of history's aristocracy often married their cousins and such.  Incest was fairly common before we figured out the genetic problems it causes.  Religion, by the way, was the preferred means to enforce this practice and manipulate the population in that direction.  It later became law in many places.

Jul 18, 2013 9:58PM
I fell for one and ruined my marriage and then some...laugh all you want it was a powerful force driving us to destroy our lives.
Jul 18, 2013 10:03PM
We can do a study,,,I'll participate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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