Sex Addiction isn't as prevalent as other addictions, but maybe it should be. This is so because it is hard to categorize it. Is someone who has a lot of sex a healthy individual, or a sex addict?
Sex addiction is an impulse disorder that can be categorized by any sexually related compulsive behavior, which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and one’s work environment. The sex addict sacrifices there life to the behavior for the gratification it brings due to the reward pathway. This behavior is shown through enduring, strong tendency to engage in some form of pleasure-producing behavior in a pattern that is characterized by impaired control and continuation despite significant harmful consequences.
On a chemical level, sex addiction is due to the increased levels of serotonin and dopamine due to the behavior. The increased chemicals cause a euphoric effect that triggers off more chemical reactions in the reward pathway. The brain craves that euphoric effect again through the behavior, and acts upon the impulse.
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- Holden, Constance. (2001). ‘Behavioral’ Addictions: Do They Exist?. Science, 294(5544), 980-982.
- Landau, Elizabeth. (September 5, 2008). When Sex Becomes an Addiction. CNN Online.