Experts Closer to Naming More Specific Criteria for Sexual Addiction, Hypersexuality

Posted on November 9th, 2012

It can be difficult for experts to know who is living with sexual addiction and who may be displaying excessive sexual activity that hasn’t yet become an addiction. Recently psychologists and experts have begun sharing what could become the criteria for helping diagnose and treat hypersexuality, sexual compulsivity or sexual addiction.

The symptoms of sexual addiction may vary from person to person, and can change, as can the description of “typical” sexual behavior. For these reasons, the criteria for identifying or naming sexual addiction may continue to be viewed as helpful guidelines, but the addiction is becoming more widely accepted by many mental health experts.

An article published recently in the Journal of Sexual Medicine is helping further identify these criteria, having looked at research for several adults and factoring out problems like pre-existing mental illness or other addictions.

As a result of research on the addiction, the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders may show the term “hypersexuality” as well as give treatment and symptom management information, such as:

  1. Unlike a person with excessive sexual behavior, the person with the addiction cannot stop themselves from acting on urges or cravings, even when the consequences are known. This is similar to other addictions, such as alcohol, and identifying and managing cravings can be a focus for professional sexual addiction treatment.
  2. What may seem on the outside as an addiction rooted in pleasure actually becomes a tremendous source of frustration, shame, anger and guilt as the person acts out sexually and loses their employment or family relationships.
  3. Sexual addiction or hypersexuality may also reflect numerous unsuccessful tries on the person’s part to control the symptoms.
  4. The person with sexual addiction may repeatedly use sexual behaviors to manage or deal with stressful situations, negative emotions or as a way to avoid intimate connections with people.

As new research emerges about hypersexuality or sexual addiction, demand for professionally-trained mental health experts to help individuals and their spouse or partner reach a recovery plan also continues to grow.

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