Behavioral addictions are sometimes controversial. Not all addiction experts are willing to classify obsessive and compulsive behaviors along with drug and alcohol addictions. Many, though, recognize that there are too many commonalities between chemical and behavioral addictions to ignore. Two of the most widely accepted types of behavioral addictions, sexual and gambling, have a lot in common. Although they seem like wildly different behaviors, sex addicts and compulsive gamblers are engaging in very similar acts.
Sex addiction is one of several possible terms used to describe patterns of sexual conduct, sexual thought and/or sexual fantasy that seriously impair a person’s ability to maintain a sense of well-being or to follow a stable daily routine. In the U.S., there is no standard definition for this form of behavioral addiction, and the medical community has not formulated a consistent treatment regime for affected individuals. In a study review published in 2014 in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, researchers from three U.S. institutions examined the options for sex addiction treatment.
People affected by sex addiction have a form of non-substance-based behavioral addiction that centers on compulsive and harmful involvement in sex-related conduct, thinking or fantasy. Alternative terms used to describe the same condition include hypersexuality and compulsive sexual behavior. In a study published in August 2014 in the journal Dual Diagnosis, researchers from two U.S. universities sought to determine if men with sex addiction have an unusual tendency toward impulsive behavior. The researchers also sought to determine if men with sex addiction experience impairment of a group of critical mental skills known collectively as executive function.