The movie industry, for its part, has released at least five films on sex addiction in the past five years, six if you count both parts of Lars von Trier’s But even now, sex addiction seems to exist in parallel realities: one in which millions of people are struggling with it, and another in which it is barely studied and not even clinically recognized.
Research has yet to confirm that extreme sexual behavior really is addictive in the same neuroscientific sense that, for instance, habitual heroin use appears to be.
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“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.
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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.
Worse, you can get a potential high from every person you meet.
But unlike other addictions, this one isn't officially recognized.
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.