Hypersexuality is blamed for wrecking lives and leading to financial ruin, but UCLA researchers suggest so-called sexual addiction may not be a real disorder.
A newly released study published in the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology measured how 39 men and 13 women, who identified themselves as being hypersexual, reacted to seeing erotic images.
Researchers found that the brain response was tied to their level of sexual desire, and that having a high sex drive was not necessarily an indication of hypersexuality.
"If they indeed suffer from hypersexuality, or sexual addiction, their brain response to visual sexual stimuli could be expected [to] be higher, in much the same way that the brains of cocaine addicts have been shown to react to images of the drug in other studies," a UCLA news release stated.
According to Nicole Prause, the study's senior author, hypersexuality symptoms, such as uncontrollable sexual urges and frequent sexual behavior, are not representative of an addiction.
However, Prause said the study needs to be replicated before the idea of sex addiction is dispelled.
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