Another variation of human sexuality is sexual frequency. Although there is a great range in frequency of sexual contact in the general population (see Chapter 10), some argue that certain people cross over the line from a vigorous sex life to an obsessed sex life. On the other side are those who, for various reasons, seem to have little or no sex drive at all.

 

Hypersexuality: Does Obsession Imply Addiction?

Sexuality, like drugs, alcohol, gambling, and all other behaviors that bring a sense of ex­citement and pleasure, should involve some degree of moderation. Yet for some people, the need for repeated sexual encounters, which often end up being fleeting and unfulfilling,

 

becomes almost a compulsion (Bancroft & Vukadinovic, 2004; Golden, 2001). An addic­tion involves an uncontrollable craving and compulsive need for a specific object. A typ­ical sexual addict is a married man whose obsession with masturbation increases to an ob­session with pornography, prostitute visits, and multiple sexual affairs (Keane, 2004).

Подпись: nymphomaniac A term used to describe women who engage in frequent or promiscuous sex; usually used pejoratively. Подпись:In the past, derogatory terms, mostly for women, were used to describe these people; an example is nymphomaniac. Terms for men were more flattering and included Don Juanism, satyriasis, or, in other cases, “studs.” Perhaps nowhere else is the double stan­dard between the sexes so blatant—women who enjoy frequent sexual encounters are considered “whores” or “sluts,” whereas men who enjoy similar levels of sexual activity have been admired. However, on some college campuses across the United States, men who engage in sex with many partners are often referred to as “man whores” or male “sluts” (Author’s files).

“Sexual addiction,” also called compulsive sexual behavior, sexual compulsivity, sex­ual dependency, sexual impulsivity, and hypersexuality, has become a popular and con­troversial topic of discussion, in part due to the book Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes (2001). Carnes’s argument is that people who engage in many of the paraphilias we have discussed, not just hypersexuality, are really sexual addicts whose need for constant sexual encounters is similar to any addictive behavior. Sex and orgasm are mood-altering, just as drugs are, and the addict will often sacrifice family, friends, work, health, and values in order to maintain the sexual behavior. Many sexual addicts have concurrent addictions, including drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, or shopping (Carnes, 2003). Carnes estimated that between 17 million and 37 million Americans have sexual addictions (Hagedorn & Juhnke, 2005).

According to Carnes, a sexual addict goes through four cycles repeatedly: a preoc­cupation with thoughts of sex; ritualization of preparation for sex (such as primping one­self and going to bars); compulsive sexual behavior over which the addict feels he or she has no control; and despair afterward as the realization hits that he or she has again re­peated the destructive sequence of events. Sexual addiction can even be dangerous, as it may result in STIs, injury, or suicide.

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