Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research
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Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research
This is a collection of research findings, trends and controversies related to the type of problematic sexual behavior in which a person is unable to stop or control certain sexual behaviors despite a desire to do so.  This site is likely to be of primary interest to researchers, mental and sexual health professionals, and those with an academic interest in the topic.  
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Bipolar Disorder and Hypersexuality | bphope

Bipolar Disorder and Hypersexuality | bphope | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"Though hypersexuality may present itself as just one aspect in a constellation of problems, it is often the most destructive and challenging part of bipolar disorder—troubling families of young children suffering from juvenile hypersexuality, ruining marriages, generating life-threatening health problems."


Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:
Curator comment:This is a valuable perspective of an under-diagnosed issue.


Source: written by Sara Solovitch, this appeared in BP Hope Magazine: "advice and care to help those suffering from Bipolar Disorder symptoms."

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Grace Adams's comment, January 21, 2013 6:22 PM
Very interesting. My personal experiences have often made me wonder if there's a connection.
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Relationships of masculinity and ethnicity as at-risk markers for online sexual addiction in men

The goal of this study was to ascertain if ethnicity and endorsements of higher levels of traditional masculinity predict as at-risk markers for online sexual addiction in men. A sample of 1,441 male students from three universities located in the Southern part of the United States was surveyed.......to determine if statistically significant relationships existed between levels of traditional masculinity combined with ethnicity and at-risk behaviors for online sexual addictions. A Pearson r correlation was conducted, indicating that levels of traditional masculinity and at-risk behaviors for online sexual addictions were significantly correlated. A one-way ANOVA was conducted, indicating that statistically significant traditional masculinity and ethnicity with at-risk behaviors for online sexual addictions. An additional analysis indicated a significant relationship among African/Black Americans levels of traditional masculinity with at-risk behaviors for online sexual addictions. Although statistical significance was found in answering the three questions of the study, small effect sizes suggest that caution should be exercised in interpreting these findings.

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment:  Some of the wording in this dissertation abstract could benefit from greater clarity.  There is very little research that addresses any racial dimensions of this construct, so it would be useful if the entire dissertation was available for review.


Note that a variation of this dissertaion is published in: (2011). Exploring Relationships of Masculinity and Ethnicity as At-Risk Markers for Online Sexual Addiction in Men. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 18(4): 243-260.


Author: Michael D. Becerra, Texas A&M University, Commerce.


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Men with sexual compulsivity: Relationship between adult romantic attachment styles and sexual behavior types

"This study explored the relationship between adult romantic attachment styles and sexual behavior types in men with compulsive sexual behaviors.......The study found a significant, positive relationship between attachment styles and sexual behavior types........"

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Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: This 172 page dissertation (only chapter summaries available at this link) reported that seventy percent of the males  with sexual compulsivity in this study had insecure attachments.  This has some important implications for designing useful therapeutic interventions.


Author: Latoya B. Brooks

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Sexual addiction and marriage and family therapy: facilitating individual and relationship healing through couple therapy

Sexual addiction and marriage and family therapy: facilitating individual and relationship healing through couple therapy | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"This article (a) presents a synthesis of the research on the impact of sexual addiction on the addict, the partner, and the couple; (b) outlines the process of healing for each based on the research synthesis; and (c) discusses the role of marriage and family therapy in facilitating both individual and relationship healing from sexual addiction."


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Bird, M. H. (2006), Sexual addiction and marriage and family therapy: facilitating individual and relationship healing throughcouple therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 32: 297–311.


Abstract only.

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Alexandre Leblond's curator insight, February 11, 8:20 AM
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Hypersexual Behavior in Hasidic Jewish Inpatients

Hypersexual Behavior in Hasidic Jewish Inpatients | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it
Although no published studies explore rates of sexual symptoms among mentally ill Hasidic Jews, anecdotal observations led to the lead author's hypothesis that male Hasidic Jewish psychiatric inpatients often demonstrated hypersexual behavior.



Curator comment: This abstract concludes by suggesting "a link between culture and symptom presentation", which is a topic that needs to be explored along virtually every dimension of this behavioral disorder.



Authors: Needell, N. and Markowitz, J.C.,

Source: The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (2004), 192:3 243-246.

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How porn rewires your brain, hijacks your libido, and threatens your sex life (and just might improve it, too)

How porn rewires your brain, hijacks your libido, and threatens your sex life (and just might improve it, too) | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it


"The drive behind ordinary usage of pornography is mostly just normal sexual motivation. But someone who is struggling with addiction not only has that normal sex drive but also has another powerful motivation. He may be trying to recover from something, such as events in his life that have left him feeling degraded, and when he uses pornography he creates a fantasy in which he overcomes that degradation."

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Curator comment: Very balanced and thorough.  People are starting to get it.


Source: Men's Heath. October 16, 2012.

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Nymphomania: The Historical Construction of Female Sexuality

Nymphomania: The Historical Construction of Female Sexuality | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"An examination of the medical history of nymphomania allows us to observe the tensions and contradictions inherent in nineteenth-century assumptions about female sexuality during a period of contention over the nature of femaleness."

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Curator comment: This is a meticulously annotated treatise on the development of "major shifts in perception, diagnosis, and treatment that begin to occur in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as nymphomania was transformed from a biological to a psychological disease."


Source: Groneman, C. (1994), Nymphomania: The Historical Construction of Female Sexuality. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 19(2): 337-367.

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Report of Findings in a DSM-5 Field Trial for Hypersexual Disorder - The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Report of Findings in a DSM-5 Field Trial for Hypersexual Disorder - The Journal of Sexual Medicine | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

Curator comment: Recent field trials show high reliability and validity of the proposed DSM-5 criteria for hypersexual disorder (HD).  This one simple sentence, the result of lengthy and rigorous efforts, represents a major development in the codification of a syndrome of driven sexual behavior.


Reid, R. C., Carpenter, B. N., Hook, J. N., Garos, S., Manning, J. C., Gilliland, R., Cooper, E. B., McKittrick, H., Davtian, M. and Fong, T. (2012), Report of Findings in a DSM-5 Field Trial for Hypersexual Disorder. J Sex Med.


Abstract only.

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Internet Sex Addiction: Risk Factors, Stages of Development, and Treatment

Internet Sex Addiction: Risk Factors, Stages of Development, and Treatment | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"As new users are more at risk to become hooked on online porn or adult sex chat rooms, this chapter presents a model that shows the progressive stages of development underlying Internet sex addiction and how the Internet enables sexually explicit behavior to develop."


Author: Kimberly S. Young


American Behavioral Scientist Sept. 2008 vol. 52 no. 1 21-37


Abstract only.

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Kiersten McGeary's comment, March 18, 2013 7:32 PM
This article is from The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery
Kiersten McGeary's comment, March 18, 2013 7:37 PM
I am going to use this article to show how improper use of the internet can lead to addiction
Jennifer Lynn's curator insight, November 25, 2015 8:38 AM

What’s alarmingly destructive pattern here is the easy access to Internet porn and the progressive stages of irreversible sexual addiction. There is so much porn content available on the net that we can never feel running short of it in any of the category, which leads to addictive behavior. The more intense it becomes, the more difficult it becomes to treat.

 

So, if you are aware that you are addicted to sex, stop allowing your sex addiction to ruin your personal life, finances, or career. Counseling is a powerful technique which can be a game changer. Yes, you will have to cooperate with your therapist and work hard to ward off this addiction.

They may even suggest complete abstinence from sex for as long as three months or so. There are various rehabs and in-house treatment programs you can go for. Try www.therapytribe.com, a great resource to find therapists and counselors in US, UK, Australia and Canada.

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Hypersexuality in college students: The role of psychopathy

Hypersexuality in college students: The role of psychopathy | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"In a sample of undergraduate students we examined psychopathy, with an emphasis on the two facets of Fearless-Dominance and Impulsive-Antisociality, and various aspects of hypersexuality (e.g., sexual sensation seeking, compulsivity, excitation, and disinhibition), including risky sexual behavior. Both psychopathy facets, particularly Impulsive-Antisociality, were distinctly associated with all forms of hypersexuality. An interaction effect for the two psychopathy facets was found for predicting risky sexual behavior, indicating that scoring high on both facets was a stronger predictor of hypersexuality than scoring high on either facet in isolation. The psychopathy effects were present even when controlling for general sensation seeking, impulsivity, and antisociality."

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Curator comment:The role of "Cluster B" personality disorders (such as narcissistic, borderline and antisocial) as primary drivers of hypersexual, chronically deceptive or similarly problematic sexual activity is an important diagnostic consideration that can often be overlooked when such behavior is viewed solely as a function of addiction or compulsivity. 


Here is a link to additional commentary about this important finding, including some further citations of research  examining the relationship between psychopathy and various forms of sexually exploitative behavior.


Authors: Rebecca M. Kastner and Martin Sellbom


Source: Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 53, Issue 5, (October 2012) pages 644-649


Abstract only.

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Crystal Methamphetamine: The Other Sexual Addiction

Crystal Methamphetamine: The Other Sexual Addiction | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"When a user is intoxicated and disinhibited by a stimulant as powerful as meth, safe sex practices are out the window—especially for individuals accustomed to having multiple anonymous partners for hours at a time."

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Source: Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, Sex and Intimacy in the Digital Age, July 25, 2102.

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Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment of Hypersexuality

Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment of Hypersexuality | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"This article reviews the current evidence base for the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of hypersexual conditions. Controversy concerning this diagnosis is discussed. Terminology and diagnostic criteria, as well as psychological, psychopharmacological, and other treatment approaches, are presented."



Curator comment:  Abstract only.


(2010). Kaplan, M.S and Krueger, R.B.,Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment of Hypersexuality. Journal of Sex Research: Vol. 47, Annual Review of Sex Research, pp. 181-198.

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Duprest-Rony AP. Dissertation sur le Satyriasis (Paris: impr. de Migneret, 1804)

Duprest-Rony AP. Dissertation sur le Satyriasis (Paris: impr. de Migneret, 1804) | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

Curator comment: In the early 19th century, French and English physicians seem to have led the way in the study and classification of what is now generally referred to as hypersexuality, as reflected in this 1804 publication. 


Citation: Duprest-Rony AP. Dissertation sur le Satyriasis (Paris: impr. de Migneret, 1804).


In French.

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A review of behavioral and biological correlates of sensation seeking

A review of behavioral and biological correlates of sensation seeking | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of studies related to sensation seeking. A description of sensation seeking and methodology to measure various preferences for sensation seeking is identified. In addition, the relation of sensation seeking with other personality factors is also examined.........."


J.W. Roberti, Journal of Research in Personality 38 (2004) 256–279


Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT's insight:

Curator comment: While this source may initially seem to be far afield of the topic, anyone seeking to develop the most comprehensive perspective on addictive, compulsive, irresponsible and/or high-risk sexual behavior will benefit by having a working knowledge of the general concept of sensation seeking.


(This entire paper can be easily located online, although the location is not being provided here to observe copyright.)

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Attachment, Shame, and Childhood Sexual Abuse and the Acquisition of Sexual Addiction

"The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of attachment, shame, and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) on the development of sexual addiction. This study proposed three hypotheses: (a) anxious and avoidant adult attachment would predict sexual addiction; (b) shame would mediate the relationship between attachment and sexual addiction; and (c) CSA would moderate pathways between attachment and sexual addiction."

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Curator comment: Dissertations dealing with various aspects of this issue are at risk of lingering in obscurity unless their presence is noted in forums such as this.


Author: Ginger A. Gunn, Seattle Pacific University, 2010.

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Is Early Exposure to Pornography a Risk Factor for Sexual Compulsivity? Findings from an Online Survey among Young Heterosexual Adults

Is Early Exposure to Pornography a Risk Factor for Sexual Compulsivity? Findings from an Online Survey among Young Heterosexual Adults | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the relationship between early exposure to pornography and sexual compulsivity among Croatian young adults. Using online survey data on pornography use and sexual behavior among 1,528 heterosexual women and men aged 18–25, we tested a hypothesis that pornography use at the age of 14 is a marker for sexual compulsivity in late adolescence and young adulthood...........(W)e found no significant association between early exposure to pornography and high sexual compulsivity either among men or women."

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Curator comment: These findings contradict the conventional wisdom that early access to pornography contributes to sexual compulsivity in adults. However, in this study the definition of "early" is age 14, and the unfortunate rality is that much younger children are accessing hard-core pornography..


NOTE: Due to a technical glitch the only way to access this abstract is by following this link.


Source: International Journal of Sexual Health, 20:4 (2008), 270-280.



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Because agency to enjoy one’s own body isn’t a crime.

Because agency to enjoy one’s own body isn’t a crime. | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it


"Because hypersexuality isn’t a compliment, nor is it liberating. It’s a racialized, oppressive marking on black and brown bodies that’s been used to degrade us for centuries and I think it’s time we took our bodies back."



Curator comment:  This beautifully powerful rant has been re-posted dozens of times in the last few days. One of the many benefits of maintaining the broadest possible view of this topic is the ability to gain appreciation of the many complex social, religious and political perspectives that shape identity, including this expression of Arabo-Muslim anti-imperialist feminism.


Source: The quote is from "My friend Khadijah on why she’s sex positive and what it means to her", originally posted on AFRICAN GOON ("Yohanna. Atheist. Habesha. Anticapitalist. Post-colonial Feminist. ERITREAN NATIONALIST 4lyf~")

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Moral Dilemma Causes Brain Of OCD Sufferers To Be More Active

Moral Dilemma Causes Brain Of OCD Sufferers To Be More Active | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it


"Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder......worry considerably more than the general population in the face of morality problems."



Curator comment: This recent study finds that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder are exceptionally affected by moral dilemmas.  Since some people with OCD exhibit extreme anxiety about whether they have committed a religously unacceptable or blasphemous sexual act, people who are exceptionally conflicted by the religious dimension of their dysregulated sexual desires or behavior may be exhibiting a form of obsessive-compulsive "moral hypersensitivity".  This assessment must be sensitively and respectfully handled.


The actual research article being cited is "Neural Correlates of Moral Sensitivity in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder", in the Archives of General Psychiatry. (Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;69(7):741-749)


Source:  Redorbit.com ("Your Universe Online".)  November 8, 2012.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Sexual Addiction

What We Talk About When We Talk About Sexual Addiction | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"(S)exual addiction remains an aporia that helps shape notions of sexuality, morality, and even addiction itself. If we do not pay close attention to what we mean when we say that certain destructive sexual behaviors are “addictions,” we risk losing sight of what we might learn about gender roles and entitlements."

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Curator comment: While I strongly contest several points, this well-written essay represents an important feminist perspective.  There is another post by Alexine Fleck under the "Sociopolitical Perspectives" filter of this site.


Source: Points: The Blog of the Alcohol and Drug History Society ("short and insightful writing about a long and complex history"). April 27, 2012.

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Disorderly Consumption and Capitalism: The Privilege of Sex Addiction.

Disorderly Consumption and Capitalism: The Privilege of Sex Addiction. | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"(W)e as social subjects of capitalist culture tend to internalize the constant manipulation of desire disguised as need.........The emergence of the myriad forms of behavioral disorders only bears this out. Ultimately, as social subjects we often consume ourselves as subjects of disorders in order to maintain a precarious......normalcy in continual crisis."

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Curator comment: This is heady stuff, addressing the concept of compulsive sexual behavior as an inevitable consequence of capitalist culture.  Careful consideration of entries such as this will reward the reader with a deeper appreciation of the complex sociopolitical dimensions of this behavioral syndrome.


Source: Falla, J. (2001), Disorderly consumption and capitalism: the privilege of sex addiction. College Literature 28(1).

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Dysregulated Sexuality and High Sexual Desire: Distinct Constructs?

Dysregulated Sexuality and High Sexual Desire: Distinct Constructs? | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"The results of this study suggest that dysregulated sexuality, as currently conceptualized, labelled, and measured, may simply be a marker of high sexual desire and the distress associated with managing a high degree of sexual thoughts, feelings, and needs."


Winter, J., Christoff, K. & Gorzalka, B.

Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39:5 (2010), 1029-1043.


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Evaluation and Treatment of Sex Addiction - Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy

Evaluation and Treatment of Sex Addiction - Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"(M)ost clinicians, even those trained in Sexual Disorders or Addiction Medicine, have little-to-no training in treating sexual compulsivity and cybersex addiction. The authors present the historical context, proposed diagnostic criteria, evaluation protocols, co-morbid disorders, speculations about the neuroscience, and treatment recommendations."


Authors: Rosenberg, K.P., Carnes, P. & O'Connor, S.


Source: Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, online version posted September 10, 2012.


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Sex addiction should not be a "get out of jail free" card

Sex addiction should not be a "get out of jail free" card | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"Allowing the use of the sex addict label in sex criminals ignores the wealth of information that we have from careful research on sexual crimes, and those that commit them. The characteristics of alleged sex addicts are not the characteristics of sex offenders."

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Curator comment:  There is a complex relationship between legal, moral and diagnostic perspectives of addictive/compulsive sexual behavior.  The author, a well-known critic of the concept of sex addiction, serves a valuable role in the evolution of this field of study, for all emerging paradigms need to be carefully scrutinized under an intense light that adherents generally avoid shining upon themselves.  This is the very essence of the dialectical method for ascertaining higher truth through reasoned dialogue. 


That being said, the author undermines his position by over-reaching some of his arguments. One example is the allegation that all assessment scales "have no empirical or scientific grounding, and typically reflect only the clinical experiences and theories of the test’s creators."  While true in some cases, in the main this allegation contradicts the research that can be found in the section on this site devoted to assessment instruments.


In curating this site over the last number of months, I've seen almost no evidence to suggest that courts are typically receptive to claims that an underlying behavioral disorder should be an ameliorating consideration in a sex crime.  Even in the primary example cited in this article, there is nothing to indicate that attempts to introduce opinions in support of sex addiction had any influence on the outcome of the trial.  In fact, there are almost no examples listed under the "Forensic and Legal Issues" section of this site to show that the concept of sex addiction has much effect on judges or juries.


Finally, the blanket statement that "sex addiction therapists and proponents commonly treat all sex offenders......as though they are sex addicts" is a gross overstatement.  The relationship between sexual addiction and sexual offending is a topic that is subject to ongoing scrutiny within the field  See, for example, my recent editorlal in the journal Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity entitled "The Nether Reaches of the Addictive/Compulsive Paradigm".


The risk of overflowing the banks of this topic is balanced by the need to acknowledge one specific area involving the courts.  The rapidly growing number of people arrested for viewing pornography involving minors suggests a potential benefit of taking into account the influence of sexually compulsive escalation when considering sentencing. The ready online access to hardcore pornography of every imaginable stripe has caused some people to become compulsively driven to seek ever-more-intense imagery to the point that they end up viewing child pornography while posing little risk of ever committing actual contact offenses. This is a topic that tends to foment extremism of opinion on all sides.  Even though empirical research is sorely lacking, one of the most noted experts in the field, Andres Hernandez, states unequivocably that "we cannot prosecute or incarcerate our way out of this problem". It makes imminent sense that an exploration of the relationship between online and contact sexual offenses involving minors must both include as well as transcend the addiction/compulsivity model.


The bottom line of this rejoinder to Dr. Ley's article is that fears that the legal system will be unduly influenced by the concept of addictive/compulsive sexual behavior are not likely to be realized.  Conversations about the merits of the various applications of the addictive/compulsive paradigm can be as valid in the courtroom as they are in the barbershop.  Jurists, being no fools, are capable of examining the evidence in any individual case and making up their own minds.

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Sexual Desire is Also a Many Splendored Thing

Sexual Desire is Also a Many Splendored Thing | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

"We continue to debate the boundaries between normal and hypoactive (or hyperactive) sexual interest or drive.....But, what is often missing is a fuller understanding of the nature of the constructs we so often loosely employ.... ..Is sexual desire to be understood merely as a motivational state, having drive properties like hunger and thirst?  Or might it be better understood as a way by which we experience ourselves as sexual beings?"

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Curator comment: the above comment is from a review of The Nature of Sexual Desire written by James Giles in 2008.  (The entire review is not available on this site.)  It is included  as a reminder of the importance within this field of keeping one eye on the biggest picture possible, in order to include considerations of our normative asssumptions about sexuality, the inherent risks that accompany attempts to quantify the subjective nature of desire and meaning, and other elusively moving targets.


Source: (2012). Sexual Desire is Also a Many Splendored Thing. Journal of Sex Research: Vol. 49, The Medicalization of Sex, pp. 409-411.

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You’re Addicted to What? Challenging the Myth of Sex Addiction

You’re Addicted to What? Challenging the Myth of Sex Addiction | Current Topics in Sexual Compulsivity Research | Scoop.it

When people refer to themselves or others as “sex addicts,” what are they actually talking about? More than anything, simple narcissistic character structure.....Here's my evaluation of almost everyone who is diagnosed as a sex addict: it’s someone who is unhappy with the consequences of their sexual choices, but who finds it too emotionally painful to make different choices.

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Curator comment: The article makes many valid points that deserve deep consideration by anyone interested in this topic.  Unfortunately, it also falls prey to the common tendency of critics to undercut their arguments  by:

  1. trivializing (i.e. equating  the intensity of a sexual drive that can result in a person violating his or her deepest promises and principles with "the way some of us are with cookies, new sweaters, or watching the Kardashians on TV", and
  2. misinforming (such as by claiming that the goal of sex addiction recovery or treatment is sexual abstinence).


Author: Marty Klein, Ph.D.


Source: The Humanist, "a magazine of critical inquiry and social concern."

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