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Jul 20, 2013 08:00 AM EDT

Sexual Addiction Isn’t a Real Disorder, UCLA Study


Sexual addiction is not a real disorder, according to a study conducted by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers. The study appears in the current online edition of the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology.

Researchers arrived at the conclusion after studying 39 men and 13 women who reported having problems of restricting their viewing of sexual images. During the study, the researchers analysed the participants' brains while showing them sexy images.

"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 UC press release on the study explained.

The study showed that there was no change in the brain response and that the hyper sexuality might actually be caused by high libido.

"Potentially, this is an important finding," Prause said. "It is the first time scientists have studied the brain responses specifically of people who identify as having hypersexual problems."

Previously, sex addiction has been blamed for ruining relationships, lives and careers. Plus, the addiction is claimed to affect 16 million Americans, including well-known celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Russell Brand and David Duchovny.

"If you think sexual problems are an addiction, we would have expected to see an enhanced response maybe to those sexual images. If you think it's a problem with impulsivity, we would have expected to see decreased responses to those sexual images. The fact that we didn't see any of those relationships suggests that there's not great support for looking at these sexual behaviors as an addiction," Prause said.

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