Sex addiction, or sexual dependency, is a condition in which one has an inability in managing his or her sexual behavior. They engage in sex compulsively and are unable to control his or her libido. In the clinical setting, it’s been difficult to classify sex addiction as a legitimate disorder. At the clinical diagnostic level, sex addiction is a psychological condition rather than chemical, such as drug addiction and alcoholism. Its etymology comes from proponents of the concept who have compared the compulsive need for sex to the compulsive need for drugs by addicts. Much of its definition is rooted in the idea of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is a legitimate disorder. The condition of uncontrollable or excessive sexual desire in the medical vernacular is nymphomania in women, satyriasis in men.
Since sex abuse and sex addiction do not meet all the standards of the DSM-IV regarding drug abuse and drug addiction, it has made it difficult to compartmentalize it among other addictive disorders. Thus, it has become necessary for the proponents to modify the criteria of the DSM-IV for substance dependency in order to encompass sex as being something with potential for abuse and addiction. Some of the key points that have been made are that sex addicts who engage in sex compulsively, like drug addicts, experience consequences for their behavior, and many will persist in spite of these consequences, or in spite of efforts to manage their compulsions. Also, like drug addicts, who are excessively preoccupied with using drugs or obtaining drugs, one of the key signs of sex addiction is being overly obsessed with the act of sex or preparation for sex. Like drugs, sex’s desired effect can gradually mitigate over time, and it’s in these times that sex addicts will most often increase the incidence and intensity with which they engage in sex. Finally, like drug addicts who have symptoms of restlessness, irritability, and discontent until they experience the ease and comfort that comes with using, or in this case, sex. Like drug addicts, sex addicts tend to exhibit the very same symptoms in “sex withdrawal.”
Sex, moreover, stimulates neurochemical activity in the brain similar to the tune of drugs. Especially with greater frequency, sex affects parasympathetic nervous functions. Some of these sex effects are increased production of pleasurable neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. These excessive yields of hormones and neurotransmitters can cause drastic biological and biochemical changes. As a result or these changes in bodily chemistry, some of the more common symptoms of sex addiction are decreased concentration and memory functions due to the acetylcholine that’s being overdrawn.