According to the World Health Organization (WHO) addiction is a physical and psycho-emotional disease that creates a dependency or need for a substance, activity, or relationship. In order to diagnose an addiction, several signs and symptoms have to be given together that involve biological, genetic, psychological and social factors. Addiction is characterized by continuous episodes of lack of control, denials of the disease and distortions of thought.
The main addictions have always been related to drug and alcohol use, but for some time now, sex has come to have a role to take into account within addictions, especially as a result of the actor Michael Douglas' admission to a rehabilitation clinic, for, according to his own statements, being addicted to sex.
To try to shed light on this matter, the University of Cambridge performed several brain scans on a group of men while they were consuming pornographic content. During the study it was found that during the consumption of pornography, activated the same part of the brain that activates drug users when they are in possession of the substance they consume.
Subsequently, MRIs were performed on healthy people and sex addicts. People addicted to sex showed increased brain activity in three parts of the brain: the amygdala, the cortex of the anterior cingulate and the ventral stratum. These are the same areas that register a higher rate of activity in those addicted to drugs when they visualize the one they consume the most.
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What is sex addiction?
We can consider that a person is addicted to sex, when the individual's search for sexual satisfaction occupies a large part of the day and the desire to have sex is too frequent. As a general rule, most sex addicts seek to satisfy their needs through other people, never with a partner, so over time a world of lies is built around them that sooner or later falls with devastating consequences for them. the family structure.
This irrepressible desire to have sex to satisfy the strong sexual desire, can sometimes force addicts to get to satisfy their desires with people of the same sex, anywhere and with anyone with whom they do not have any type of relationship. These sporadic relationships, without a minimum of protection, can cause the transmission of sexual diseases that can finally be transmitted to the partner with whom you are living.
How to diagnose sex addiction?
Many people use sex to try to reduce stress, to avoid having to maintain a stable relationship with all that it implies or simply to enjoy the moment, but they cannot be considered sex addicts for that. Addiction, as the name indicates, creates a dependency on sex, without it we could not live. When sexual desires come to control all aspects of a person's life, that is when we must begin to worry seriously since sex is the main reason for their existence. A team of psychologists and psychiatrists from the University of California has carried out different tests among a group of individuals in order to diagnose the so-called hypersexual disorder as one more type of mental health disorder.
The researchers corroborate the criteria used when diagnosing sexual addiction Through a study with more than 200 people with different mental health problems, 88% of patients were able to diagnose correctly. Of this 88% of patients, the majority suffered the consequences of this addiction such as losing a job on some occasion (17%), ending a romantic relationship (39%) and 28% had contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
But these tests also revealed that 54% of sex addicts, became aware of their behavior before the age of 18. 30% of them experience this addiction to sex only in their university stage, between the ages of 18 and 25. The most common behaviors to recognize this type of disease were excessive consumption of pornography and especially compulsive masturbation on occasions, in addition to going to bed each time with different people who are not linked by any type of relationship, being able to sleep with 15 different people Over 12 months, what today we would consider a friend fucker, an acquaintance with whom only certain people meet to satisfy their sexual desires.
What Causes Sex Addiction?
Sexual addiction, also known as hypersexuality in general, nymphomania in women, and satiriasis in men is born of the abnormally strong need that people have to satisfy their thoughts, which affects day-to-day relationships at work and in the environment of your partner and friends. This need is preceded by compulsive masturbation, multiple sexual relations with different partners in the same night or jointly, prostitution, viewing pornography in all its forms and even in some cases it causes exhibitionist attitudes on the part of those affected.
Many are the experts who have tried to delve into sex addiction, as we have commented above in the study carried out by the University of Cambridge in which the functioning of the brain was investigated when exposed to pornography by addicted individuals and normal people.
Some experts claim that the reason these people are addicted to sex is due to a biochemical abnormality or certain chemical changes in the brain that reward the brain for the use of sex, drugs, alcohol or any other type of addiction.
Other studies affirm that addiction could be due to lesions in the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain leading to compulsive sexual behavior, hence people with problems of abuse in childhood or family problems are more likely to appear this disorder.
However the problem of sex addiction is not always originated in the brain or problems of abuse in the past, but we also find groups of people who like the search for new sensations, which can lead to the development of addictions if the people in question do not manage the use of these sensations well.
Are you addicted to sex?
People addicted to sex usually present the following characteristics many of which are common to other addictions such as drugs, where the deception of the environment and especially the denial of the problem with the most harmful characteristics for those who suffer it:
- Lack of concentration throughout the day, which sometimes leads to job loss.
- Constantly masturbates despite having satisfactory sex with partner
- Despite knowing that you are doing it wrong, you persist despite the negative consequences.
- He spends most of the day having sexual thoughts almost continuously.
- You are unable to control your sex drive.
- People who are addicted to sex are always looking for someone who also likes sex, so they can spend a lot of time trying to flirt with the people around them.
- He hides his sexual problems through deception and lies.
- Spend too much time looking for sex.
- Low self-esteem.
- It presents withdrawal syndrome very similar to that shown by people addicted to drugs.
Nymphomania and Satiriasis
Sexual addiction is not an exclusive problem for men, even if it is the most common. In women, sexual addiction or hypersexuality is called nymphomania, while in men it is called satiriasis. Both terms are not considered as diseases within mental disorders but they are mentioned in the International Classification of Diseases. It is estimated that 6% of the world's population suffers from this disease, of which only 2% of those affected are women.