Though stars like Michael Douglas and Tiger woods have admitted to sexual addiction, there are debates whether it’s a real disease. According to Psychology Today, persistent sexual desires, thoughts, and behaviour can become problematic. Such individuals may become preoccupied with sexual fantasies and urges, and a subset will act on these impulses while feeling that they have no control over their actions — repeatedly sending explicit texts and images, for example, or attempting to fondle others without consent. This pattern of behaviour is often referred to as hypersexuality or sex addiction.
Compulsive sexual behaviour disorder was recently added to the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), but the decision was debated, as many psychologists believe that concepts like hypersexuality are best regarded as shorthand for perceived problems in regulating thoughts and behaviours related to sex.
But is it a mental disorder? Or, a physical one? A new study may throw some lights:
Blame love hormones
According to results published in the journal, Epigenetics, love hormone oxytocin, the so-called cuddle hormone, may have a role in the hypersexual disorder. It has been found that those with excess oxytocin may get attracted to multiple people at the same time, which may result in unnatural compulsion to seek out sex. The hormone, however, is thought to make sex more rewarding.
A legitimate medical condition?
The study could open the way to new treatments, According to reports, the scientists behind the study believe that it may finally prove that sex addiction is a legitimate medical condition.
Is it genetic?
The recently released study hints that there might be a potential genetic basis. Scientists pinpoint two regions of DNA that are altered in people who have been diagnosed with hypersexual disorder.
Researchers said the difference between people who are suffering from this disorder and those who are normal was very small but enough to change their microRNA.
The findings could also explain why cognitive behavioural therapy — which lowers oxytocin — is considered as one of the treatments for sexual disorder.