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.“Addiction is a biological phenomenon,” First says.
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“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.
“There’s no interest and no political will to research consensual sexual behavior as a problem,” Weiss says.
“People want the problem to go away as quickly as possible, and they don’t want anyone to know.”Certainly the number of people affected goes well beyond the number of addicts.
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.
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.It’s about spending more and more time to get your fix and disregarding the negative consequences.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.As we've reported in the the Fix, sex addiction is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a diagnosable disorder.It made an appearance in the 1987 version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but has subsequently been removed.