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J Sex Marital Ther. 2010;36(3):261-75. doi: 10.1080/00926231003719681.

What is sexual addiction?

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Center for Marital and Sexual Health, Beachwood, Ohio 44122, USA.


Married men labeled as sexual addicts seek help after being discovered to have had broken monogamy rules for sexual behavior through their use of masturbation, pornography, cybersex, commercial sex involvement, paraphilic pursuits, or affairs. This study analyzed the sexual patterns and dynamics of 30 men who presented to 1 clinician between 2005 and 2009. Their important differences were captured by a 6-category spectrum: (a) no sexual excess beyond breaking the spouse's restrictive rules (n = 2), (b) discovery of husband's longstanding sexual secrets (n = 5), (c) new discovery of the joys of commercial sex (n = 4), (d) the bizarre or paraphilic (n = 7), (e) alternate concept of normal masculinity (n = 5), and (f) spiraling psychological deterioration (n = 7). Only the men with a spiraling psychological deterioration-about 25% of the sample with sexual issues-could reasonably be described as having a sexual addiction. This group experienced significant psychological failures before the onset of their deterioration. Another 25% were adequately defined as paraphilic. Half of the sample was not adequately described using addiction, compulsivity, impulsivity, and relationship incapacity models. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for DSM-5 and treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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