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“Addiction is a biological phenomenon,” First says.“Whether people are addicted to sex the way they’re addicted to cocaine…is not well enough established yet.”The number of reported sex addicts varies widely, anywhere from nine to 15 million adults in the U. But according to Weiss, we really don’t know.“The last reliable study was done in the ‘80s,” says Weiss. He doesn’t care how many partners you’ve had; it’s all in the past. To find out the answer, fall back to the fundamentals: identifying the addict is the first step. One-night stands, extra-marital affairs, GPS hook-ups, obsessive online dating.And when it comes to sex addiction, that first step is a doozy. The list is long and gets darker the further down you go: compulsive masturbation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, prostitutes."If you’re married, your acceptable sexual behavior may be defined differently than if you’re single,” says Mike Weiss, a certified addiction therapist and founder of The Sexual Recovery Institute.Do you want to join the Doctors Lounge online medical community?Participate in editorial activities (publish, peer review, edit) and give a helping hand to the largest online community of patients.
Weiss adds that it’s like any addiction, and the addict increasingly “needs to have this intensity-based experience."However, the idea that sex is clinically addictive remains controversial.
The list of behaviors associated with a sexual addict is so mundane, practically anyone can tick off at least a couple. “Sexual addiction follows a certain repetitive pattern; if you’d rather ask forgiveness than permission, that’s abusive." mean every addict eventually transforms into a sex offender.
“People don’t escalate outside their arousal templates,” says Weiss.
While many comparisons have been made to drug addiction, Dr.
Michael First, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, disagrees, citing a lack of quantifiable research.“Those numbers said three to five percent.” Besides the fact that he has personally seen a rise in treatment demand since beginning his practice, he points out that the study came well before the rise of Internet porn.