Neurological Research Supports Existence of Disorders Due to Addictive Sexual Behavior

Author: The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health
Published: Tuesday 23rd May 2017
Summary: Society for Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) paper on diagnostic categories around problematic sexual health disorders including pornography and sex addiction.


As part of mental health month the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) has published a position paper on the issue of diagnostic categories around a variety of problematic sexual health disorders including pornography and sex addiction. It includes:

SASH's recommendation to the committees of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases in advance of their next editions. The position paper contains a link to the latest relevant empirical research on the SASH website.

Having reviewed the available evidence, SASH is clear that there are several diagnostic models currently proposed (both formally and informally) and under investigation, all of which reflect an underlying clinical condition requiring dedicated assessment, and treatment. "Sexual Addiction" and "Pornography Addiction" are two such models. Additional models include;

amongst others.

Past President of SASH John Giugliano said "Nomenclature and diagnostic classifications change over time. It is legitimate for our professional community to debate the most appropriate taxonomy and terminology, but there is no debate about the reality that there are people who struggle with sexual behavior disorders that cause them serious consequences. Our first duty is to help clients, regardless of the terminology chosen for their problematic sexual behavior."

Most recent neuroscience research examining addiction-related brain changes in Internet pornography users points to substantial evidence of such changes. The game changer appears to be the new technology-saturated environment. Some experts observe that today's streaming pornography is potentially addictive. Others warn that streaming pornography may help explain non-organic, psychogenic sexual dysfunctions and abnormally low sexual desire in some users, whether or not they are addicted.

As a forward-looking organization with experts across clinical and academic domains, SASH urges the diagnostic committees of both manuals to consider incorporating "diagnostic homes" for sufferers of problematic sexual behaviors.

SASH is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sexual health and addressing the escalating consequences of problematic sexual behaviors affecting individuals, families and communities. Seeking collaboration among clinical, educational, legal, policy, and research professionals, SASH advocates for further research and a multifactorial clinical approach to address problematic sexual behaviors, and sexual health in general.


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